On the surface, and neighborhood-dependent, Berlin is both gritty and gorgeous. The city’s radical history leaves signs of wear; its memorials and restorations exemplify resilience. Today, Berlin is a cultural hub and creative hotspot celebrated for its nightlife, startup scene, architecture, and arts and entertainment. From picturesque neighborhoods and urban art spaces to historical sites and sprawling green spaces, Berlin is a truly unique city that can only be described through experience. As I’ve come to know the city over the past two years, Berlin is vibrant, eclectic, and delightfully unusual.
When I first moved to Germany in January 2017, I shared a post describing the immediate differences I noticed between the US and Germany and the American products and customs that I missed. Now, nearly two years later, I’ve compiled a list of the same sort; some items have been added, and many have stayed the same.
The US is an incredibly large and diverse country, and the below list of American yearnings is from the perspective of someone familiar with the northeastern part of the country (New England and New York) who also tends to frequent Whole Foods. Let’s also keep in mind that this list is mostly food products, and that, of course, there are other and more profound differences between Germany and the US.
Nearly five years ago, when Max and I met, he introduced me to a podcast that has since become a weekly highlight, paired perfectly with a Tuesday run. I started listening to Get Up On This in New York, and since moving to Berlin, it has remained a constant. For those of you who are interested, the format of the show is simple: two guys with creative backgrounds in music, film, writing, and the sorts, present to us, the listeners, things which are not yet hyped that they think we should get up on. And, every now and then, they dedicate an episode to things that people should get up off. Their picks are often hip hop artists, board games, TV shows, and movies, and also include regional LA picks and entirely random activities and food products. Read More
Half birthday celebration/half submitting my master’s thesis celebration, Max and I spent five days in Norway hiking rain and shine. We flew into Oslo on Thursday morning, rented a car from the airport, and proceeded to drive 8 hours to Bergen, a city on the country’s west coast. It was a long haul, but the fjords, untouched countryside, and peak fall foliage made it worth it. Hailing from New England, the leaf peeping capital of the world, I can appreciate a brilliant display of autumnal colors, and it was especially nice to experience that in Norway, because, in Berlin, the leaves fall hard and the foliage is quick and dirty. Driving was an ideal way to see Norway’s varied landscape, and it gave us the opportunity to stop as we pleased, take pictures, and recaffeinate. Read More
The end of my graduate thesis is near, so a breather and a quick blog post are certainly warranted. This summer has been incredible; a hot and sunny four months filled with both physical and mental adventures. Amidst a draining (yet rewarding) thesis process and Berlin explorations, Max and I made it outside of the city for a few weekend (and week-long) getaways. We went as close as the city boundaries, to Liepnitzsee, and as far as the states, to Vermont and Cape Cod. A week was also spent in Tuscany, and a weekend on the Baltic Sea in Dranske, Germany.
Most recently, we visited Dresden, a German city just 2.5 hours south of Berlin, and the neighboring Sächsische Schweiz national park. The entire trip exceeded expectations, and I highly recommend it to any Berliners who’ve not yet seen Saxony. Dresden is inexpensive to get to (24€ roundtrip per person via Flix Bus), bars and restaurants are equally affordable, the city itself has a nice blend of hip/young and historic areas, and the national park is a breathtaking site and hiking destination. Read More
Having lived in big cities (NYC and Berlin) for nearly the past eight years, I’ve had time to properly diagnose that unruly feeling of restlessness prompted by urban living, or perhaps by staying in the same place anywhere, really, for an extended period of time. The usual suspects certainly help — exercise, sunshine, quality time, shopping, and wine (I think we can bunch the lot under self-love) — but nothing scratches that itch quite like a literal mini-break from reality. Best taken every two months or so, and under no circumstances, should one go an entire season without a little vaca.
A month of intensive German classes paired with a not-so-summery Berlin summer really sweetened the deal that was a week on Mallorca. This well known island, and Ibiza’s trusty brother, is located in the Mediterranean Sea and is the largest of the Balearic islands. It’s part of Spain, but during high season this is hardly apparent as 90% of the inhabitants are German and British tourists. In searching for the right spot to stay on the island, Max and I wanted to have easy beach and hiking access, and to avoid the crazy party scene but still be near a restaurant and bar hub. After deliberation between southeast and northeast parts of the island, we settled on Port de Pollença and couldn’t be happier with our decision.
Amidst studying for final exams, a mini break was much needed, so Max and I hopped over to London for the weekend. We stayed with my friend Kaley and her boyfriend in Islington, and certainly made the most out of the 36 hours we had together. Read More
A long overdue update on life in Berlin is here. The good news is that I’ve just handed in final papers for three courses, the bad news is that my “Death by Prosecco” mornings have been at an all time low (or is that a good thing?) Really, my recent Berlin adventures have been less exciting than prior months, especially these past two weeks because, well, Managerial Economics. That being said, there are still a few experiences worth writing about.
Three year German residence permit? Check.
While it’s somewhat fresh in my mind, I’d like to share my experience obtaining a German Residence Permit in Berlin. Hopefully it will serve as some sort of guide for others in a similar situation.