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Moving to Berlin: The Good, The Bad and The German

It's not every day an 18 (19 now though, thank you very much) packs up their life and moves it to one of the most infamous and bustling cities of the 21st century. But that's exactly what I did.

It was easy living in a small seaside town, working behind a bar I knew far too well with friends that made it far too fun. But easy wasn't what I was looking for. I have dreams, aspirations, life goals... we all do. It's what you do with those that counts. Leave them to fester in your mind until they become the 'what ifs' and the 'what could have been' - or act on them, follow your impulses and don't just step into the scary and unknown, leap into them with your best foot forward.

It's been a few months now since I moved here and I haven't looked back since. Sure, I miss the trivial things such as paying for a Tesco meal deal in good old British pounds, proper fish and chips, an actual decent Indian takeaway - because let me tell you, Berlin has none - and the odd craving for a curly wurly now and again which I never saw coming. Yet, the beauty and rush of this city makes these things feel like a passing itch rather than a rock keeping me tied to the bottom of the sea that is England. 

Berlin has so much to offer in so many aspects, history, culture (and not just German), music, festivals, fashion and food... good god the food. It feels like every other day there's something for you to be abuzz about and I love it. You grow and learn new things about yourself you never would have expected.

Simple habits slip into your daily routine, like swapping "bye" for "caio" and "tschüss" and knowing the ubahn far better than you could ever know the tube. Actually wanting to get a kebab on the way home, fully sober, because well they're bloody delicious here and not a drunk-taxi-ride-home-mistake. Absorbing more art into your life than you ever thought possible because every nook and cranny of the streets ooze it, you can't ignore it. However, I do now do that thing where I want to rush down to the lake at 9am to make sure I've got prime towel placement.

I know. How German of me.

That's not to say that moving to Berlin will magically solve all of your problems - as it hasn't mine. It's not a one-size-fits-all city, a magic cure for the lost millennial and it's definitely not without it's fair share of problems. Talk to anyone who's been in Berlin since before 2008 and you'll hear stories you wouldn't believe.

Gentrification is slowly turning this city into everything it was supposed to oppose. It can be a headache, christ a migraine, to find somewhere to live, to find a job that either isn't a startup or pays you enough to actually live, to hear stories of how the people of Berlin party from Thursday night until Monday morning only to find you're too exhausted busting your ass to stay afloat or you're being told to keep the noise down by your old neighbour, or you have to fit a certain aesthetic to get into a certain club. This city was never for an elite class of socialites but it's slowly starting to feel that way if you look in the right places.

It would be naive to assume Berlin was without its flaws. There is no magical utopia where we can all do whatever the fuck we want. Trust me, I wish there was. And yet, despite the negatives, the charm of Berlin is the most outweighing positive there is. You fall in love with the city like the way teens fall in love in shitty romance novels. It's almost a little sickening, but hey, it is what it is. Like a trusty jar or marmite, Berlin is - for better or for worse - a love it or hate it city.

For me? I'm head over heels for it.

To say I've changed is an understatement, and it's not a bad thing either. I'm more confident than I've ever been, in my looks, my talents and my knowledge of where I want to go in life. I'm kinder and more tolerant (not that I wasn't before), my heart has been opened up to so many people who have opened their hearts back to me and the diversity feels like a thousand roots underneath a great big tree. Berlin is that tree. Supported by the vast amount of people who open themselves up to this dynamic city, who can be free to express themselves, feel safe and feel like they belong. 

Without that, Berlin would't be half as charming as it is. I've made the most phenomenal friends and met extraordinary people and I couldn't be more thankful.

The future is a concept we all hate thinking about and love talking about how we hate thinking about it. Whether you've got yours planned to the finest detail or like me, you're just enjoying the ride and going at your own pace, feeling your own flow, it's a scary concept regardless. But if there's one thing I've learned - perhaps the most important thing - is that letting fear stopping you from making those life changing decisions you thought you could only ever dream of doing, is a big, big mistake. I don't know what my future holds. I sure have an idea of what I would like it to be and I can only do my best to work at that, but I will never really be sure. 

For now though, I'm quite content. Here in Berlin.

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2 Kommentare:

  1. It's so great that you like Berlin so much! I know of a few people thinking of moving there =o) It seems like a fun city to live in =o)

  2. Berlin is an amazing and challenging city, for sure! I visited it a few times and always found it so inspiring :) Glad you found a new home there! And thanks for checking out my blog :)


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