Last weekend I had a dining experience of a very different kind. A visiting friend persuaded me to go to a so-called supper club here in Berlin, usually in someone’s house but this one has become almost professional and is in a proper restaurant space. Still, the idea is to have dinner with complete strangers, sit at the same table and hopefully have some interesting conversations. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it seemed obvious that the other diners would be open-minded and willing to engage in conversation if they decided on an evening like that. I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous before going but that dissipated soon enough as the host was extremely friendly and made everyone feel very much at home. I wasn’t disappointed – the other diners were friendly and pretty easy to talk to. The crowd was also quite international, not surprising perhaps as the menu was Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. There was even a couple from New York who were only in Berlin for a short visit but being food lovers decided to do something very different! As the evening went on I realised that all of them were incredibly interesting people and although I won’t be seeing them again, the whole evening was a very rewarding experience that I would be very happy to repeat. Love of food, good wine and conversation has brought about 20 strangers together in something like a snapshot.
As I am preparing to leave akg after almost 19 years, I couldn’t help it but draw parallels between arriving at a new office with that dining experience. Most of us won’t know each other before we start working in the same place. We spend a lot of time at work and if there is business trips involved, we even have meals and travel time together. By working somewhere as special as this archive you definitely share a common ground which is a good starting point! Sometimes you make friends at work and sometimes they are just great colleagues that you enjoy working with for the time you are there. I have been very lucky to have had both in my many years at akg in London, Paris and here in Berlin and I will miss them all very much. The friends I will stay in touch with, of course, but I also hope that I will cross paths again with many of the wonderful colleagues I have had over the years.
I also want to say a special “Thank You” to my colleague David in London – we have been through so much together, including being stuck in Boston due to the volcanic ash cloud from Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland! What was meant to be a four day trip turned into almost two weeks enforced stay. We have had many business trips, trade shows, meetings and meals together and it has been a blast!
Thank you to all who have made my time here very special, it will be a difficult act to follow but change can also be good! And so here is my farewell blog – but it is not goodbye!