Our personal journeys sometimes intersect with those of others. We stop along the way and see someone who is searching for some of the same answers as we are. We take a few steps together. And then we part to continue alone on our journeys.

mikeMike was on his way back from Auschwitz in his 1984 VW van and wanted to visit me in Berlin. We had connected through this blog and shared fragments of our latest preoccupations with each other. As he sat down across from me in a cafe, I wondered if a connection forged in cyberspace would now be enhanced or have little basis to move beyond the virtual realm. But I felt right away that we had taken some of the same steps in our lives, both into the past and into ourselves, a shared movement into shadows that others avoid.

I haven’t been on a very deep personal journey since returning to Berlin. My latest preoccupations have been job hunting, endless shopping for our still very bare apartment, back to school duties, keeping up with the Jewish holidays, and keeping the refrigerator stocked. But the short time I spent with Mike reminded me that I am also here to find my place in this historical moment, to reconnect my family with its broken past. Mike’s quest isn’t quite the same as mine (he’s not German or Jewish), but I somehow felt that we were fellow travelers, trying to absorb history and find points of light in the present. I only wish I had such a nifty vehicle for my own travels.