Reflections: My First Month in Berlin

Guys, I’m feeling inspired. I’m going to speak candidly with you – because honesty and integrity in this blog is so important to me. I’m not even going to write a catchy title. What I’m going to tell you is pure and simple, but it’s something you need to know if you’re considering moving anywhere so far and different to home as I did.

Last week Blair and I had a chat about
“what if… we have to leave Berlin?”

It felt very real to me, I looked at my leftover savings with a knot in my stomach, with no real prospects of getting a job on the horizon I was starting to panic. Setting up in a new city takes SO MUCH time and money. I realised I was homesick (which never happens to me!). But today is the best I have felt since moving to Berlin – although physically I am pretty ruined from last weekend’s camping festival, mentally it finally feels like everything is coming together. But I have not always felt this way – in fact, quite the opposite.

So why all of a sudden, do I feel such a mind shift?

It’s the little things, that I did not have last week, but that I have now. It’s so strange, what makes you feel like you’re home in a city that is not your own. Perhaps it was two weekends in a row sleeping in a tent which made me appreciate my bed and bathroom so much. Maybe it is the vase we bought from the flea market atΒ Mauerpark which changes the look of our room from an IKEA showroom to an expression of ourselves.

But what really made me smile was opening my new German bank card. And I actually did smile when I looked at it! You may think this is a bit silly, but now I can finally put my Australian bank card away for safe keeping. All our money has been transferred over using TransferwiseΒ (click the link to get your first transfer free!), and there’s no more thinking about the conversion from Aussie dollars to Euros (such a depressing headache).

In the last 2 weeks I had received nothing from recruiters except rejection emails saying they needed someone who could speak fluent German.

I always said I was prepared to work in Hospitality or Retail if I couldn’t do Human Resources here, but that was and still could be the reality. As we drove home from Melt festival, the bus took us past the Hard Rock Cafe (a place we have been told you can get a job if you can’t speak German) and I realised how far away it was from our house. I thought to myself – travelling so far for such a nothing job! Really, how badly do I want to stay here?

Then I met some friends of friends at Nation of Gondwana festival. They seemed like such a cool, tight knit group who were all so different but somehow meshed together so well – reminding me of my own back in London. Then I found out two of them had met working at the Hard Rock Cafe! Let me tell you that reshaped my whole view on working there. Some of my friendships in London were formed via some random chance conversations, events, times and places. All my initial thoughts on how fun it would be to take a true “gap year” (aka work in a job with no pressure / stress) came back to me.

Never underestimate the power of making new friends
as a way of feeling more connected to your new city.

Then all of a sudden, we had NEW FRIENDS. We were part of a group chat, we were talking about going clubbing in Berlin, exploring our local area and having house parties together. I’ll admit it was weird for me at first because I am usually the link between most of my friends, so to be an outsider joining another fully formed group felt different. However everyone was so inclusive and friendly I didn’t feel like that for long. I was entirely myself in front of them (it happens when you party together) and it felt like home.

It’s only been almost a month but it feels like
another lifetime ago that we were in Australia.

It has been go, go, go since we arrived in London, went to Amsterdam and arrived here. We’ve been to 5 different music events – making the most of the European Summer. It’s also been the “wettest summer in Berlin ever” which can affect your SAD quite badly when coming from a sunny country. I feel exhausted but I am also so energised. This week, Blair and I both have job interviews, for office jobs. But if they don’t work out, I am not so worried anymore.

Last night I said to Blair, something that a girlfriend or wife never admits…
“I should have listened to you”.

I am a realist at the core and Blair has such a positive (but I think, sometimes blind) view of the world. But he was right, all of a sudden, things are starting to fall into place.You will have points where you feel stuck, powerless and frustrated. Returning home seems easy, so you may feel like quitting, which is what happened to me… proving to you that even the most unlikely people have their dark days. Maybe I should even take some of my own advice! Like in the last blog I have written here. I may not have fallen head over heels in love at first sight with Berlin as I did with London, but I am still getting to know this city. But so far, I like what I see, and I am going to give this relationship a real chance.

Have you or a friend moved away from home recently? What do you do to beat the blues? Post a comment below or share it to your facebook wall! Sometimes all we need is to know someone, somewhere out there feels like we do.


  1. David

    Hi Grace,
    Nice post. Blair is always worth listening to. He is a down-to-earth Kiwi! We grew up on making the best of every situation despite being at the wrong end of the earth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.