Imagine that you live in a place where you feel stifled, your culture and ancestry is unappreciated, and each day you wake up and have almost the exact same day as the day before. You decide that you need to pursue a new way of living that will make you happy so you move to a new city. A city where you feel safe because one single violent crime causes people to question whether that city is truly a safe place anymore instead of hearing statistics of hundreds of violent crimes a year. A city full of people from different countries all speaking the same and different languages but never making you feel like an outsider.
Imagine that Berlin is like New York (if you’ve ever been there) with the same variety of boroughs all with different personalities but with more parks, trees, and flowers and even more graffiti. It’s cleaner, more energy conscious, vegan friendly and 1/3 of the price to live. A place where you don’t have to break the bank to grab a drink and have a good time. On every block you can buy beer, canned mixed drinks, or wine from 1 to 4 Euros then you can head outside to roam the streets, sit in a park, or head to the train. A place where you can combine the perks of living a major city with everything you need times 10 within arms reach and the beauty and serenity of living green with parks on every other street.
Imagine that when you arrived in this new place, you didn’t really know anyone. On your first night out you meet someone from your home country who also just relocated and decide to grab coffee together the next day. Once you sit down and start your conversation, the girl at the next table mentions how much she enjoys the country you are from and you all end up sitting together as you finish your drinks. The new friend you’ve made invites you to a Braufest (Beer Festival) where you end up meeting two more girls new to the city and spend the rest of the evening sharing stories about your travels, relationships, goals, and how you got to where you are.
Imagine that you go from being afraid that you’re not going to have anything to do in your spare time to having too much to do. You and your new friends attend The Green Market Berlin where there are dozens of vendors all promoting and selling vegan items and food. You browse through vendors selling vegan clothing, bags, and handmade trinkets as well as places for vegan drinks, food, and desserts. You try a vegan chocolate cupcake, which is surprisingly delicious however your friend’s vegan chocolate smoothie was a bust. You are amazed at the large vegan population and how so many items can be handcrafted in energy conscious ways.
Imagine you’re in a city full of artists, creators, innovators, and optimists. You feel like anything you want to achieve is possible for half the money you would spend in any major city in the US. A city so full of places to frequent that you could live there for years and not even come close to seeing half of it. On a mission to visit as many new and interesting places as possible, you and your new friends attend a German and English language comedy show at a unique, artistic bar. Not only is the event free (they request donations of whatever you could spare) but they also offer free food. The venue grew crowded quickly as people awaited the local comedians who alternated jokes in German and English.
Imagine a place that encourages you to think about where your life is going, or escape it. Overall the jokes were funny (the German jokes you assume were funny because the crowd was laughing). One comedian went on about how Berlin was “the city for bronze medalists”. As a bronze medalist, you don’t actually have to work as hard and you still get a medal but no one remembers your name. While you do laugh, you actually think of Berlin in a more positive way. It’s like nowhere else in Germany, where you may still face racism and discrimination from older generations and Nazi party members. On the contrary, you meet dozens of people a day driven by inclusiveness, being free spirited, and following their heart instead a set of rules. Regardless of where they are from, they can be comfortable in their own skin and chase their dreams of being an artist, a business owner, or a doctor.
Could you imagine picking up, moving to this place, and never getting tired of it? That’s what has happened to everyone I’ve spoken to in Berlin. They fall in love with the blending of various cultures, new traditions and history, the beauty of the street art and nature, and the lack of pressure to conform to a perceived standard of beauty, behavior, or income. Whether you want to wear sparkly high heels and sequin gowns at 2 o’clock in the afternoon or you are shy and introverted; if you like to take a medley of drugs and party until 6am or if you don’t drink, smoke, or eat meat; if you want to pick up and find yourself or you’re skilled at something in particular, the city is for you.