From Berlin With Love: A Valentine's Love Story from Mitera's Art Director
Every couple and family has a story to tell. On this Valentine's Day, Mitera's Art Director shares her sweet love story with us.
Ah Valentine’s Day... we don’t actually take it too seriously. My husband is away for a week of Kite Surfing, instead of worrying about what flowers to get me. That’s because last summer, on a rare night out without the kids, we looked at our next 15-20 years ahead, and realized that this ‘family situation’ – as much as we (mostly) love it – isn’t temporary, and we’d better see to it that we give each other time and room to break away without a bad conscience, check off some dreams and bring back that feeling of slight recklessness we shared when we met.
We live in Potsdam, Germany (near Berlin) now and it seems almost surreal to me, how it was possible that we met on a New York subway platform. It was around midnight after a dinner party with friends. I was tired, waiting at Union Square station for my train, turned around and was totally mesmerized by the most stunning man I’d ever seen (let's call him Mr. J). The train came, I followed him through the door, and when he unfolded a map took my chance to ask him “Do you know where you’re going?” (in hindsight, I was the one who didn’t know where I was headed there...). We briefly talked – it turned out he was German like me, on a spontaneous trip to New York. At Atlantic Station we both had to get off – I lived near there and he should have switched trains. I just stood on the platform, unable to move, and couldn’t believe my luck when he asked me if I wanted to get a drink. I took him to the furthest-away bar I knew, so we could just walk and talk... we never really stopped ... and a few hours later, back at the station, we first kissed. I remember how I sank back against some construction site fencing the moment he disappeared in the station, totally astounded at what had just hit me there. I went near crazy the next day, in fear that he wouldn’t meet me at the Fort Greene Flea market later on. But he did, and we had one magical weekend together. Monday morning we reluctantly split at Atlantic station – he had his flight back home that day and I didn’t know what to do but go to work. I later sat in a conference room, feeling sick to my stomach, panicked. We had never touched the subject of what would come of it, or exchanged contacts, because we both thought this time was all we had and instinclively didn’t want to spoil it.
Two days later, he had found me on facebook and 10 minutes into us messaging, I decided I wanted more of this, reckless as it may be. A month later I visited him in Potsdam, and we deeply fell in love. To my surprise, after 16 years away in New York, Germany was the only place I wanted to be. So when I returned to New York that time, I immediately gave notice, that I’d quit my job in the design team at MoMA that summer to move to Berlin. Everyone thought I was crazy to leave everything behind, but it was really the only option to me. A few months later I arrived in Berlin, and rented a room in just enough distance to Potsdam, so I could get my own feet on the ground while seeing him as much as possible. I found a job as the Creative Director of a great design studio, and never for a minute regretted leaving New York. Six months later, I moved to Potsdam and met his then 4-year old daughter for the first time. Wise little girl, she just looked at nervous me and asked: “Do you want to play?” And that was that. That fall, we decided to try having a child together, and 3 weeks later I was pregnant with identical twins. When I came home with the news, crying in shock, he just laughed and thought it was brilliant. The year later on Midsummer Night, our girls Carla and Lovis were born and totally changed our lives, again. Somehow, within two years, I had gone from single life in New York to being the mom of a 5-person family in a small city! Not totally easy for my sense of self – but my journey through it is another story : ). Mr. J surprised me with a proposal when the babies were just three weeks old, and we got married in January, with a big party for family and friends that summer. All that really was as magical as it sounds. Eighteen months later, of course we sometimes get lost in the demands of our every day life as a family, too, and have to remind each other how incredibly lucky we are. I returned to work as a self-employed brand-consultant and designer when the twins were 14 months old – which was quite different from working within the context of an agency, as before. I was incredibly lucky, again, to have Mitera as my first client, and through it, discover the wonderful support of connecting with a whole world of working moms out there. A year later, there’s the sense that I have arrived, both in my roles as mom and wife, and professionally. This is exactly where I want to be, and I know from here we can all grow, together.
Brigitta Bungard is a seasoned and talented Art Director, Graphic Designer and Brand Consultant. After spending years at the MoMa in NYC, she is currently the Art Director for Mitera while chasing after her twin daughters in Potsdam.