In what feels like the blink of an eye, over a month has passed since I first arrived in Berlin. The rhythm of my daily life changed as quickly as the sights and faces I interact with every day. Now, instead of speed walking to class from my campus-adjacent dorm, my routes and timing have to be more intentional, and less rushed. Bumping into someone on the sometimes-narrow sidewalks of Berlin is more complicated because I don’t know if I should say ‘sorry’ or ‘entschuldigung.’ Everything feels different. The types of people I’ve met, how I spend my days, how I create a weekly flow and schedule. And yet it all feels similar. Everyone motivated by their own intentions for their time here, a weekly rush to find a fulfilling balance of school, self-care and time with friends.
In all honesty, my transition period to acclimate to life in Berlin has been more difficult than I could have imagined or expected. We arrived in the depths of cold and dark Berlin winter, and after five warm weeks in sunny Las Vegas, the change was jarring. The city, at first glance, struck me as a lot less diverse than I’d hoped and expected. We barely saw the sunshine for the first few weeks, and it was awkward tapping into first-year energy to make new friends. With at least a six, and usually nine, hour difference from friends and family back home, it was hard to maintain the same closeness as before. All the while, the only thing to do in times of transition is practice patience and self-reflection. I know some things make me feel more comfortable and at home, so I focused on these things more than usual.
Things that make me feel at home in new Berlin:
- Ordering food from Wolt with my girlfriend and debriefing our different programs and experiences
- Having tea time with a new friend who already feels like an old friend
- Walking around markets on virtually every day of the week
- Having access to Turkish food anywhere and at any time
- Getting voice memos from friends and family back home
- Reading or journaling at cafés and parks in new neighborhoods
- Feeling the sun peak out and seeing everyone soak it in! *even if it’s still freezing
In the weird way that time somehow flies, we only have two months and some change before we’re headed out. Without getting too abstract and in my head, I want to spend the time I have left here feeling grounded and present in the moment. It is easy to get whisked away in the small flows of daily life without taking a step back to appreciate the adventure I’ve found myself in. Along with the rest of my posts, I can’t wait to show you a peek into Berlin’s best cafés, parks, and the wacky moments from the day-to-day.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>Hiya! I'm Defne (she/her) a junior at Barnard College majoring in Education Studies and minoring in French & Francophone Studies. I'm spending this semester in Berlin with hopes of exploring approaches to immigrant and museum education, visiting art spaces and cool cafés, and learning some ~deutsch~ along the way. I love spending my time reading, crocheting, exploring, taking long walks, and having thoughtful conversations with friends!</p>