The Crazy, the Creative, and the Christmas Markets.
Hallo good people, Wade here, and it seems I am on the move again. Like many of us in this life, and at this time of life particularly, I am on my search for home and my latest exploration is Germany’s buzzing capital, Berlin.
If you venture down into the archives of this blog, you will find my previous travels in Berlin: falling head over heels, a cold and strange New Year’s getaway, and musings on maybe moving here one day. All words considered, it’s pretty magical that I find myself here, three weeks in.
It’s been a busy start, with work, flat viewings, document signings and a fair bit of socializing too! So I wanted to slow it down a little bit with you to recap my first impressions, and tell you why I already feel I may have found ‘my place’. I hope you find it useful, as ever.
So my transition to a new life here in Germany came like a gust of wind! My final day at work was followed by a flight to London, where I stayed for a week, flew to Berlin on Friday and started work on Monday. Whew! Yes, not ideal, and totally crazy, but simply a case of me prioritizing time with my family over the luxury of adjusting to a new city. I wouldn’t recommend a move like this if you are unfamiliar with a city. However, as I had visited Berlin four times previously, and once more for my final interview, I felt comfortable having a shorter transition period.
Crazy, is also for how hectic it is to find a flat in Berlin. I scoured Facebook groups and websites for a standard long-term flat but it is ridiculously hard to find a place, and of course, this is worse when you want to live in a desirable area. I am single, less adventurous than I used to be, and frankly sometimes a bit of a recluse! So I like to live in an area which is close to the latest happenings and cute cafes so I have no excuse not to leave my house.
My experience has been one month in a short term let, which I am currently moving out of for another month short term let, then a 6 month let where I can register legally. This is something called ‘Anmeldung’ and is compulsory to do within two weeks of arriving in Berlin and basically proves that you exist in Germany, it is the foundation of all your admin results on your last name being placed on the entrance to your building and postbox. This is something I quietly adore, I love the feeling that you kind of know who you live next to. It’s small details like this which make Berlin feel smaller and more welcoming to me, in comparison to my hometown London.
In the last of the crazy, was that I found myself at a team evening event on my first week of work, and it was no other than the fabulous pastime of karaoke (read that with all the sarcasm you can muster)! Now I love karaoke, but doing it with a bunch of people you don’t yet know, not so fun. Especially when you get put on a team with your boss. Luckily, work was kind enough to offer an open bar and let’s just say by Moscow Mule number two, I could have been in my bedroom singing with a brush. But don’t you worry for me readers! I was able to look everyone in the eye the next day and I still very much have my job.
I touched on this lightly in a previous post I wrote about my appreciation for Berlin, and that was the creativity. People are genuinely shocked when they hear I moved from Sevilla to Berlin. How? The Weather? Seville is so beautiful! Yes, it is, but it’s the undeniable kind. Here in Berlin, beauty is built with a creative approach, to shops, homes, small spaces, using materials you would not expect to look beautiful together. In addition, although the weather is shocking (it is December); a mixture of grey skies and early sunsets, there is a reassuring glow that comes from all the cafes and homes that I walk past. It reminds me that you can find the beauty in everything. And rest assured, when you walk in, there is always a smile of someone to meet you on the other side.
The next flat I am staying in on a short-term basis is the room of an artist from Canada. When I went to view the flat she had cloaked canvas propped up against the wall, a little writing desk – where she recently had been exploring her creative writing. I had told her a little bit about me when I asked to see the room, and when she invited me to see it she said I think we have a bit in common. Writing is new for her, but creativity is not. As you know, I am always trying to nourish that side of me. I have big plans for the future of my poetry and am currently working on a book. She mentioned the writer’s workshop she goes to and promised to send me the link regardless of whether I end up staying here or not (here being her flat).
I start the creative writing course on January the 8th. Which is big, for me. I’ve been looking for
I’ve also managed to write a few poems whilst being here so far, which is always a good sign, feel free to check them out on my personal Instagram.
Simply because it’s the first question people ask me. Have you been to any Christmas Markets?? Yes! Haha. They are here in abundance, and I genuinely felt feelings of delight when I finally got to taste
Okay, story time. I know I’m super new to the city, but I ended up on a date to a Christmas Market, and it was so bizarre that I feel I have to share it with you (let’s hope he doesn’t read my blog).
First of all, it could be because I have been in so many different cities in the last month, but I was sort of spellbound by this particular Christmas Market. When we entered, we had to pay 2 euro to get in, which set the tone, that this was something kind of special. Moments before, he had told me, “oh yeah I’m just with my mum, so we’ve been friends for a while right haha”. I didn’t quite compute what he was saying, naturally. First date. Mum. And so I ignored it, laughed, and tried to shake my date-nerves.
As we entered, I could see many of the workers were dressed in medieval style. Like a child, my date bounced over to archery stand, “oh yeah I want to do this, do you?”. In another place, and another time, I may have tried, but my mind was fixated on what he had said, and I kind of wanted to figure out where on earth I was. They spoke back and forth in German about how many ‘plays’ he wanted and it sounded like a medieval movie. I wanted to laugh, but I was still confused. Did he say
He turns to me and smiles. “This is my last go!”
And alas, there is his mother, with her partner and they launch into a very warm and sweet exchange. She turns to me to introduce herself, but of course, she can only speak German, and I can only speak English (bear with me people I’m on week 3). So what commenced was sort of us continuing to speak our respective languages and smiling and hoping for the best. What the actual hell.
To summarise, he was freshly home in Germany after spending to years abroad, and they had just ended up spending the day together. As he didn’t have internet he had to use her phone as a hotspot. She quickly left after we met and we finally got to sit down and talk. We actually got on. But perhaps it was the glance of soldier helmets and ponies (yes real ponies) I could see to my right, or the back-in-time witchy decor that this Christmas Market offered, I couldn’t shake the surrealness of the entire experience. Well, I thought to myself, you are not in Sevilla anymore.
Moving to Berlin? Some of my useful links so far.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my first few weeks in Berlin. Perhaps you are considering the move yourself? I wanted to round up this blog by listing some of my most useful resources in navigating the city so far:
- Flats in Berlin
- Berlin Apartments – Rent – Share & Sell flats in Berlin
- Berlin | Girl Gone International
- Expat Ladies in Berlin
- The Black Berlin Group
- Coffee Break German: a podcast
- Settle in Berlin Blog