I don’t mind getting up early, nor do I mind being on the road before at 7:30am, but doing so in winter when sunrise is only at 08:00, it is tough for an Asian soul. I miss the sun and dislike the bitter nordic winds that tear through any warm clothing. I have faint and quickly fading memories of sultry Southeast Asian warmth and humidity, currently unimaginable for me under the present conditions. I don’t even remember what it feels like to sit without moving and let the sweat run down my back like I used to do in Manila or Bangkok. Fog was the stuff for saunas, but now it is something I navigate through on lousy days. I cannot tell you in all honesty what I despise more, walking through fog or on slippery, icy pavements.

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At the crack of dawn ©MTHerzog

There are a lot of positive things that can be said about Berlin, especially if you are young and adventurous, but for the life of me I have nothing positive to say about winters in this city. The sexy city it is called, but there is nothing, really NOTHING sexy about the new meaning to “the crack of dawn” that I have discovered the past week. But, as my dearly departed mother taught me, when life hands you a lemon, make lemon juice instead of complaining about the sourness. So I decided to turn my daily commutes into a game of light and shadow with my camera. Yesterday morning I wanted to see if I could capture the cold and desolate road en route to my bus stop. It was supposed to be completely empty, but lo and behold, one of my neighbour stormed past me and added a bit of dimension to the scene. He was walking at a pace I could only dream of keep up with, and if I could, I would certainly be warmer!

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Still waiting for dawn ©MTHerzog

Of all mornings, just when it started to drizzle and the winds were gusty as hell, the bus was late. Traffic piled up on what is usually a very quiet and free-flowing road, making wonder whether the city was on high alert again, as it often tends to be for one reason or another. Rather than stand around aimlessly and bitch about the hurricane-like wind, I took my chances and aimed the camera on the moving traffic, wishing against all odds that this would somehow speed up the process of the missing bus. It didn’t, but at least I was distracted and managed to ignore the futility of having combed my hair earlier.

Miserable as the dark, cold winter morning can be, and is, I choose to turn the tables and use the elements to my advantage, taking note of details and sensations, from the perspective of a writer and photographer. It’s a mental game, and if you have the right apps on your phone, you can quickly note down all the phrases that pop into mind that can be used later on.