Friday, August 5, 2016
What I have been saying to everyone, is that I am not "in love" with Berlin, but that I really like it. I really like it a very lot.
As you may be aware, I am more than a little inclined to follow my gut-instincts, aided by witchy magical-signs-from-the-universe, whenever making major life decisions. Life experience has taught me that for me, this is the very best method of creating a happy life for myself; far more reliable than any more 'sensible' method of decision-making.
And here Berlin is making a rather strange case for itself. Being not "in love", I would think it is not the home for me. Yet, somehow, I am quite certain that it is.
My overall impression is that we could have a really good life in Berlin. We could be happy there. And on this trip - paying rent and living with two children - it became very apparent that perhaps we would not be so happy in London. At least, as I explained, not full-time and permanent.
What I feel about Berlin is that we could be ourselves there... but better. Only the week before our holiday I complained to husband that the thing that really annoys me in life is dealing with incompetence. Then here we were in a city where WE were the most incompetent people around. The Germans were polite enough but clearly unused to dealing with our moments of human-error. So we would have to work on that... but I think that's a good thing. Just as the hippy-vibe of the Berlin people is something for us to aspire to. Their healthily-lean bodies in practical clothes, no make-up and natural hair - it's how I feel I should be. I could be a less superficial, more intellectual version of myself. A better mother, a better wife, a better person.
But we could also relax. The city functioned so well, we didn't have to think about it. I think it would be really nice to live somewhere that just WORKS. The lack of hills deprives the city of vistas (a reason I believe I didn't quite fall "in love"), but makes it eminently pleasant for walking and cycling around. I normally am not a fan of cycling, but in Berlin I would absolutely get a bike... a big hipster bike with a basket and a huge, comfy seat. The food was brilliant too. I ate two of the best breakfasts of my ENTIRE LIFE in Berlin, just by wandering to local cafés. And the people were even better. Friendly and helpful and encouraging us to move to Berlin immediately. They appeared to be relaxed yet competent parents, too; with pleasant, active children. The whole city had a great vibe towards children, with amazing playgrounds at every turn... with beer for the adults.
Now I would never advocate marrying someone you're not "in love" with, so can I advocate settling in a city I only really, really like and find practical? Well, the fact is, we prefer Berlin to Perth... and it's in Europe. Even if it this were a marriage-of-convenience, it would be a damn good one; with London, my lover, just around the corner for regular flings. But I don't believe it will be so sordid. One of my dearest friends (and a Berlin-lover) said, Berlin and I have only just met - I don't want to fall too quickly. I agree, and feel sure the love will come.
Several VERY important people (and quite a few random strangers) highly recommended Berlin as the place for us to live, which is actually why we visited. Despite such rave reviews, we were impressed. And as for magical tidings, the weather did it for me.
For our five days in Berlin, the sun shone so magnificently we were sunburnt. The trees in full summer foliage (underground powerlines - genius!), the consistently high-quality buskers, the street-after-street corner of abundant flower-shops and even the ubiqutious graffiti, dazzled under bright-blue-skied brilliance. At the very minute our (insanely fucking expensive!) cab pulled up at our flat in London, the skies unleashed an almighty downpour of flooding RAIN - not the well-prepared for drizzle - torrential, flooding, skin-soaking RAIN. I am aware that both weather scenarios are highly unusual for their locations, but the timing made both stand out. I got the distinct feeling that Berlin was beckoning us to stay, putting on her best show that we might be tempted to settle; and that London was giving us a very clear message to FUCK OFF.
Well, London, you will never convince me to "fuck off". I will be back, often, dressed-to-impress. But Berlin, you just might have convinced us to stay. At least to move in and see how it goes.
In eighteen months husband is due long-service leave. If we can arrange a house-swap we could give Berlin a trial-run risk-free.
So our long-term scheme of moving to Europe has moved into a new phase: learn German.
Berlin, hier kommen wir!