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"i remember when the whales had wings," she said

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2007. A peaceful summer. After 2006, which was harried, barren, filled with sad pilgrimages, in the springtime, right after my birthday, I moved back to Klettenberg, into a charming studio apartment in one of that neighbourhood's loveliest streets. This was to be my most anchored time in Cologne, everything in its right place: my editing job at the university's Dutch Department, which was in a residential street very close to where I lived; my kind, goateed, English-teacher landlord with his newborn daughter; becoming acquainted with the neighbourhood Italians, and running into faculty on my morning walks to school.

Cologne a bluegreen city, a water-city, a spoiled city with its expats, ex-expats and sedentary Anglophiles always yearning for a better life on the other side of the Channel or Atlantic. I had a keen sense, then, of this as the sensibility connecting us: I saw it as something beautiful, something which shaped itself into plays and music.

My friend Astrid earned her PhD on Melville's Moby Dick and then left for an internship on the East Coast. I made her this mixed CD as a parting gift. It's meant to depict a post-apocalyptic America, an Atlantis of sorts — inspired by precisely that fascination from afar. How America means more when it's bumping into Willy Mason's guitarist on Zülpicher Platz and seeing them play in Luxor after he helped you get a stack of cardboard moving boxes safely to your front door in the storm. The mythology of it.

The title of this mix is a quote from the following: http://www.storypeople.com/storypeople/WebStory.do?storyID=1237