I’ve been lucky in the last few months to travel back and forth to Germany a few times—and one of the things that has struck both times I’ve visited is how, as a country, it seems to be poised on the brink. It’s been 25 years since German Reunification, and it’s crazy to me to think that what is now regarded as the powerhouse of the E.U. was once so crippled (and that this evolution happened in my lifetime). Nowhere was that more apparent than Berlin, which I visited in the high days of summer. In winter perhaps the city has the echoes of stereotypical German severity (and austerity), but in summertime, with the sunshine ladled through the trees and the sidewalks alive with people from all over the world, Berlin seemed the very embodiment of Germany’s future.