I’m currently sitting in our rented apartment here in Berlin, surrounded by some laundry, a cup of tea, my almost empty luggage, and a stack of papers. The weather outside is grey and it’s going to rain today I think.
We’ve been in Berlin for 11 days now. It’s been a bit of a roller coaster because some things have gone very well, but some things are a bit strange. That said, I feel very lucky to get to live in Berlin and I’m really looking forward to starting my new job next month.
So what have I learned lately?
- German supermarkets don’t carry frozen gluten free bread. I think German people in general have high standards for bread and it seems like they don’t like frozen bread, so it’s not possible for me to get my favourite frozen gluten free bread in Berlin. But, it is possible to buy gluten free bread that is slightly more fresh in a resealable bag, but I find it weird to have fresh gluten free bread. I am getting used to it though.
- German cafes don’t provide water for free. In Oslo, you can always get a cup of water for free at cafes. You only pay for your drinks. In contrast, here in Berlin, you have to order water when you order your drinks and pay for it. I think, over time, I will carry a small bottle of water in my large tote bag. That way I don’t have to buy water and a drink.
- 30 minutes is considered ‘nearby’ in Berlin. I’ve been studying the routes of the trams and subway here lately. It’s quite interesting to learn that 30 minutes isn’t considered far because that’s how long it takes to get from Point A to B most of the time. In fact, many people commute in Berlin and our friends feel that 30 minutes is a typical commute. I think 20 minutes would be ‘nearby’ in my mind, but I’m learning to stretch that to 30 minutes. Since Berlin is huge, I find myself putting off all the cafes and restaurants I have on my list to visit because I don’t feel like commuting 30 minutes to get there. I need to change my mindset, stat.
- I’ve been spoiled by Oslo. In Oslo, I have mostly lived in relatively new buildings, where the water pressure, water temperature, heating system – were all in sync. Everything just worked magically, and there was no need to tweak anything. Here in Berlin, in our current rental apartment, some things need to be fiddled with because it’s a renovated apartment in an old building. It’s not so easy to get the right temperature of water to shower in or to wash your face in. The water is either too cold, or too hot. It’s not a big problem, of course, because I am aware that some people in the world don’t even have clean water. So yeah, I’ve been spoiled, and it’s time to be a bit more accepting of these things.
- How to learn to live with less. When the husband I were married and I moved into his apartment, he was very nice and gave me carte blanche on the second room. So I designed a huge, 4-sliding-door-wardrobe with IKEA’s cupboard designing software and we ordered it. The husband helped me to install it and I used it mostly for my stuff, but also for some of the household items like towels, blankets, spare pillow cases, etc. On top of that, we bought 2 shelves where I could put all my skincare, makeup and jewellery. Now that we no longer own an apartment, I have had to give up all this luxury. It’s a bit jarring to realise it, like waking up in another world. Many people have managed to pare down their belongings and live with less — so I’ve decided to try that by being more selective with what I have packed for my current stage in life, and only buying the bare minimum. It’s been a challenge, but I’m determined to try not to want too many things.
- How to run outdoors in cold weather. We no longer have gym memberships. The closest gym we would like to join is about 15 minutes by subway. We think this will take about 25 minutes in reality, when you factor in the time it takes to get to the subway station, etc. In Oslo, our gym was 5 minutes away by tram. Since our current living arrangements is not for long term, we figured we will try to go for runs outdoors in one of the many beautiful parks Berlin has. So, the past two Sundays, the husband and I have been running in one of the parks nearby. It’s really fun, but also very cold. We both bought some outdoor running gear, but it takes me longer to warm up until I’m not too cold, compared to the husband. But running outdoors, crunching on the Autumn leaves, is so much fun! I’m so grateful that I get to do that; I just need to toughen up with the temperature.
That’s it for now. I hope to write more soon, and hopefully share some photographs.