My dearest chickadees,
I only have one more week left on my trip! Can you believe it? It has been almost 13 months since I left Brooklyn and now I am almost home. I am having a lot of different feelings about coming back. Of course, I am excited to see my family, my sister, all of you, my friends, sweet Miss Polly and to be back in New York where I know my way around and I don’t have to ask for directions! But traveling has been really fun for me. I got to meet new people EVERY DAY! I got to go to places I had never seen before and eat things I had never eaten before and try new things! At first, this was the scariest part of traveling, but once I got used to it, it was my FAVORITE part! I love looking at maps and figuring out how to get to a new place. I love trying new things to eat and talking to people from places that are very different from what I am used to. In a lot of ways, I don’t want that part of my trip to end! So it is a happy time and a sad time all at once.
I am in Berlin, Germany, right now. It is the capital city of Germany and, boy, what a history! Only 20 years ago, the city was divided up and run by lots of different people! A country called the Soviet Union ran the East half of the city and the United States, France and Great Britain (England) ran the Western half. The Soviet Union (which doesn’t exist any more…they divided up their land and now it is Russia and a bunch of smaller countries) believed in running East Berlin and East Germany like their own country which was through communism. Communism is a little hard to explain. People let the government make a lot of the decisions on how to spend money and where people should work. Not everyone who lived in East Berlin agreed with this way of running things in their part of the city. So they started to leave! So many people left East Berlin for West Berlin, where things were more free with less rules, that the Soviet Union decided to build a wall to keep people from leaving the East! Now this was not a little wall. It was a HUGE wall made of concrete with barbed wire over the top so people wouldn’t think about climbing it! Buildings in the way of where the Soviets wanted to build the wall were knocked down so there was no place to hide. Here is a picture of the Berlin Wall when it was still standing. The wall was patrolled by soldiers with guns and they were allowed to shoot anyone trying to leave East Berlin for West Berlin. Scary stuff. Can you imagine a wall being built through Brooklyn and not being able to go visit your Grandma or your best friend because they lived in another part of the city? The idea is crazy to you and me!
The Wall was built in 1961 and stood until 1989. I remember when, in 1989, the governments of East and West Germany decided to unite because the people of Germany were sick and tired of not being able to visit each other and go back and forth whenever they wanted to (and for lots of other reasons, too). People were so happy that they could pass freely between the sections of the city that they tore the Wall down with whatever they had! Shovels! Picks! Their hands! You might have seen pictures like this and this on the news last fall because is was the 20th anniversary of the Wall coming down.
Now where the Berlin Wall used to stand, there are beautiful green parks! Some places, the Wall is still standing but people have painted murals on it and they are so colorful and beautiful! I love how the artists took a thing like the Wall that was built to keep people apart and used it for something to make people happy.
I have to run, I am catching a plane to Paris this afternoon for the last stop on my world journey! Yay! Can’t wait to see you all so soon!
Lots of love,