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. Advertisements
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.
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.
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.
Perhaps the most eventful two weeks yet. From my mom visiting to grad school orientation, it’s been non-stop go. Before Smog arrived, we kicked off these past weeks with Max’s birthday celebrations. Our plans included dinner, drinks, and a Kehlani concert, but we found out upon arrival at the venue that the concert was cancelled, as well as the rest of her Euro tour. We’d been looking forward to seeing Kehlani perform since December, so that was a real blow. Fortunately we made up for it with a party on Saturday night, resulting in an all too typical “Death by Prosecco” Sunday morning.
By now I’ve finished my intensive language course, the first of many levels, and I’m unable to take the second level straight away as my grad school orientation interferes. However, I was able to have an entire conversation in German at the nail salon last week, so if that’s not a testament to progress then I don’t know what is.
Three weeks in and Germany is still a wonderful country. Berlin is beautiful (and a little gritty), there are endless things to do, the shopping is amazing, and I’ve met a lot of really great people. I love it here, but of course there are things I miss from home. Besides my friends, my family, and Zealand, here are a few things I’ve been missing:
To kick off week two in Berlin, I’ve enrolled in a one-month intensive German language course. It’s true that most people I’ve encountered here, German and other, speak English, and many of them fluently. It’s a nice safety blanket, but I didn’t move to Germany to stay within my comfort zone.
I’ve lived in Berlin for six days now, and I’m pleased to say that the uncomfortable flight was absolutely worth it. Wow Airlines is truly something else. The price point in unbeatable, and now I know why With a total of six checked bags at $70 each, we spent an additional $420 on luggage. Although, shipping boxes to Germany is twenty times that, so while I complain, Wow still was the most affordable option.
One of the greatest things about eating vegan is being able to explore an entirely different side of the culinary arts. It challenges you to find healthy and creative alternatives to ingredients that you perhaps believed were irreplaceable. There are any number of reasons to cut animal products from your diet. Health concerns, environmental concerns, and ethical beliefs are the primary ones. It’s not a cult, it’s not “in” this season, and it’s certainly not “girly”. It’s a compassionate and conscious choice, and yes, there are health benefits too. Plus, plant-based food is downright delicious. And it’s innovative — Silicon Valley is no longer just for techies, it’s now for Impossible Foods.