{written in Nov. '12} 

A city is a wondrous thing. Everywhere you look there are walls. Walls made out of brick and concrete. Stacco and paint on the outside, wallpaper, photos, paintings and bookshelves on the inside, intersected with electricity cables and service pipes. Walls drawing a line between one person's life and the other's. Walls to shut the world outside, and mark one's territory. Walls to keep rain, cold and uninvited guests out, and hide family possessions, accumulated habits and dirty laundry from the eyes of the world. 

Looking over the city - this mosaic of attic windows, crammed courtyards, ramshackle sheds and laundry flying in the wind - I wished that the walls would not be so unrelenting. That I could peek inside and look around. In the courtyards, behind the attic windows, inside the musty sheds. Look around the living room, ask who the people in the photos are, peek inside the fridge, get a glimpse of how this household lives, what the people are doing, ask a question or two. 
That lady in the kitchen with the steamed-up windows - what is she cooking? Who is joining for dinner? Did she have to hurry to get her shopping done after work, or did she have a day off? And that old man on the second floor, reading his newspaper by the light of his desk lamp. Does he read his papers front to back, or is is just the headings? What does he think of nowaday's news? I am sure he's thinking something! And that guy yawning above his homework. What does he want to be, who does he want to be? Does he believe in happiness?
And that mum with her toddler getting off the tram. Is she on her way out or is she coming back? Those miniature people in the street down below - where do they come from, and where are they heading to? Do they even know that themselves? Who knows, fathoms them? Perceives their thoughts, and is familiar with all their ways? Would not get tired of that all and persist in loving them?
I can´t take it all in, it is too much for me. As a matter fact, walls keep me out. Walls of brick and stone, but even more the walls of language and culture. I am not part of this country´s collective memory, cultural references escape me. Language does not give me anything to hold on to, no entrance into a household, a life story. Not yet, not yet now.
From this viaduct high above the streets I look over the city and ponder. Then I walk down the steps - down, down, down - and merge in with the buzz of miniature life on street level. I jump on a tram, get off again, get my keys out, enter a home, kick my shoes off, hang my coat up, and then I am back between the four walls of my life. 

- And no, I had never hear of Wings of Desire when writing this post. But the references to Psalm 139 are real -