My first blog post ever. Woweeeeeee! Are blogs cliched? Is the sky blue?
But hey, I made it to Berlin! The last three weeks have been a wild ride. So much is new. The culture, the language, the ways of interacting, the food, the bureaucracy (!). It has definitely taken me some time to adjust to the sensory overload of Deutsch newness, and as an introvert I find I have to retreat sometimes to process and unwind. But after several weeks of new experiences and new people, despite some stress, I can already say it will have been worth it. And at this point, what more can I ask for, than to know that?
There have been times when I've felt completely crazy for even trying to do this... to make a career in Germany. Really, why bother to do anything so new and so challenging? It's uncomfortable and anxiety-producing. (I can hardly communicate with people on the street sometimes!) And just what makes me think I'm so qualified to jump into some new place and succeed? You're not a great singer yet, Mark. These are some of the voices in my head.
And yet, I know I'm not alone in this regard. We all experience these kinds of thoughts. So, my response is that there is beauty and wisdom in both the uncertainty of the future and in the experience of being humbled. I try to embrace these experiences every day. It's not always easy, for sure. I don't particularly appreciate the fact that I barely speak at a kindergarten (a good German word!) level. But I also know that being lowered to the level of a child has its benefits as well. We begin to see the world with new eyes, as a child again. There is great wonder to be found in such newness.
Now that I've sufficiently philosophized, a quick update on my goings-on. I've been staying with some good friends, Jess and Matt, in a neighborhood called Prenzlauer Berg. It's a lively place with lots of shops and cafes. The greatest challenge of the last three weeks has been finding an apartment! Who knew that such a big city would have such challenges. But TRULY, this became a full-time job, just looking for a place to stay. After ten days or so of contacting people directly, I decided I would try an agent, which proved fruitful. I ended up with a short-term (3-month) lease on an apartment that's considerably more than I want to be paying (although at least comparable to the prices in Boston that I'm used to!). But the huge advantage is that it's a two-bedroom, and that other room will be filled by my dear old college friend Martha. Throwback, what what?! That's gonna be fun.
My girlfriend Danielle and I have continued to maintain a beautiful Skype-based relationship. She's changing lives and kickin' booty. Long distance is yet another challenge of this kind of leap, but I like to think we've handled it with grace and good humor. And I'll see her in just a few weeks!
So, what else? A few notable discoveries:
-Grocery stores are terrifying places (that's material for another blog post entirely)
-Transportation around Berlin is fantastic and works on a trust system
-The English-speaking singer community here is wicked awesome and hella supportive
-Such respect for bikers!
-German bureaucracy is no joke. That's the challenge of the next few weeks.
-I think there's some kind of wall here?
-So much opera to be had here!
A few action shots, for your pleasure. Hopefully more posts to come! Bis bald!