On my first night in Berlin, I dreamt of an aluminium wall overflowing with Curry Laksa gravy. Taupok, green beans and all. Curry Laksa is one of my favourite Malaysian dishes.
Meanwhile, my husband dreamt of a saucepan being asked for by a friend, a leading economist who has never borrowed anything – what more cookware – from him.
The only conclusion to be reached is that subconsciously – which must mean most truly – the biggest fear for us in moving to Germany was culinary. (It is true that good Curry Laksa was not to be found in Berlin, but German food ended up being diverse and tasty.)
In the first week, I also dreamt of two of my best friends being turned away from a party to which I had invited them. Boy, were they miffed. Boy, did I feel guilty. In the dream, I had to go after them, grovel and ask for forgiveness. And I continued being overwhelmed by the feeling I had abandoned them, that I was doing the wrong thing by them, that I was misleading them ..
For the next couple of years, my dreams regularly took place in some mysterious watery element. Yes, I did miss the warm tropical seas of Malaysia, and yes, I could not have lived in a more land-locked city than Berlin.
But perhaps this online interpretation was revealing: “If the river is calm and peaceful it means being comfortable with the changes in your walking life”. (I think they mean ‘waking life’, although my life in Berlin was a walking one – I did cover a lot of ground on foot.)
But the ultimate sign of being settled was when I had my first dream in German. Frustratingly, I cannot locate in my notes when this happened, but it was several years after moving to Berlin. I could not have woken up feeling more triumphant. My German friends with one voice declared that German had truly become my language. Sadly, I can’t remember ever dreaming in German again. So it was nice while it lasted – that single night.