I went to bed early on November 9th. My husband was up watching TV and when he came to tell me what was said on the news I didn’t believe him. He probably did not quite believe it himself. Only the next day, when half my students were absent did I realise that something had really happened. The following day, my sister and I went with my four-year-old son to the border crossing at Bornholmer Strasse. We were scared when we saw the police who usually check IDs. But the onslaught of people was so big that they simply stepped aside and we were suddenly able to just go through. I was worried about whether or not they would later let us through again!
We got on one of the buses over there. We didn’t have to pay, only show our IDs. We had no idea where we were and eventually ended up in Märkisches Viertel (in the borough, Reinickendorf). There was a Sparkasse there and we simply queued up to collect our “welcome money”. The lines were long but I still remember clearly that the staff was very friendly. With the money – 300 DM for the three of us, we went to Woolworth. I bought my first piece of gold jewellery there. Those earrings were something I would not have been able to afford before. I put them on there and then in the shop and didn’t take them off even when I went to bed. My son loved his new tracksuit made of parachute silk. But all that shopping made us hungry so, at a nearby Turkish stand, we tried something we had never eaten before: Döner Kebab!
On the way back, the streets were so crowded that the buses could no longer get through. We had to walk the whole way. After that day, my son decided that he would never go back to the West, because “you have to walk so much there!”