I believe it’s amazing how the human mind and body adapts to new surroundings. I’m not saying it’s easy, but if we force ourselves into the situation, usually we overcome the obstacles. It’s been almost five months since I moved to my beloved Berlin. I remember my moving day like it was yesterday. It was a perfect combination of excitement, fear and anxiety. That wasn’t the best combination for my stomach. I was excited about moving to Berlin, but in a lot of ways, I was in the dark. I had painted Berlin as this savor place, with beautiful landscapes and perfectness. Nothing could go wrong with Berlin. This way of thinking led to quite a few misconceptions of what this beautiful city would be. Here they are:
Berlin is a European city, so it’s small.
You have to remember my perspective here. I’m American, and we’re used to driving 30 minutes to the nearest supermarket and hours to the next state. It’s written into stone for us. When I moved to Berlin, I thought “finally, everything will be close.” I can jump on the S-Bahn and be in the city center in minutes. [City center in Berlin? That’s another post.] Laugh at me, because one of the first things I learned when I moved to Berlin, it’s freakin’ big. It take be 40 minutes to travel to my favorite coffee shop and bar. It takes 50 minutes to go to my boyfriend’s house, and 40 minutes to school. The best thing, I don’t have to drive anymore.
Germany’s cold in the winter, but it’s perfect in the summer.
Let’s pause as I laugh as myself just a bit. Warm in the summer? I can’t count how many Americans I told, “yes Berlin is like Michigan in the Summer.” Nope. Europe is a bit further north, and instead of beautiful sunshine in June and July, I’ve had wind, rain and chilly temperatures. Not so perfect.
Berlin’s international, I won’t have to speak German.
It’s every American’s misconception. Everyone speaks English in Germany, so I don’t have to try that hard. Nope. Several times I’ve had to clarify in German in the supermarket, or call Telecom DE to fix my telephone plan. Let’s just say I used simple German.
As long as I have a credit card, I’ve fine.
This needs a long ‘sigh.’ I believed that I could get by my first three months without opening a German bank account, but that’s a big misconception. It’s possible, but very inconvenient. Most prepaid telephone plans won’t go over a month without being connected to a SEPA deposit, the same with WLAN Wi-Fi connection and paying rent for your flat.
It’d be easy to find a job.
I wish this one was true, but I soon realized what a third-nation American meant in Germany. I was restricted on working hours, pay caps, and it just wasn’t nice. I felt like I had so many limitations, that employers simply didn’t want to hire me.
Despite these few misconceptions, I’ve fallen in love with Berlin. It’s very vibrant, unique and a bit crazy. The people here are ‘real’, meaning that they stay true to themselves and live life. Yes, they’re a bit hippyish and hipster, but we all make Berlin into the place it’s suppose to be.