Right, before we begin, shut up. I am well aware that ‘The Berlin Diaries’ is a precocious and self-important title to give to what will more than likely be a brief series of inarticulate drunken ramblings until I drop off the radar into the bass-soaked alcohol-warped wormhole that is Berlin. Nonetheless, I’m going to have a jolly good pop at documenting my time in this most unorthodox of cities. Whether anything in ‘The Berlin Diaries’ will be even remotely un-shit remains to be seen. You’re as much a spectator as I am. Stick around, let’s see what happens.
I’ve moved to Berlin. Months of planning and failed saving have led to this. Yesterday I said goodbye to loved ones and flew out of the UK via Manchester Airport. Landed here around 3pm yesterday, and spent two and a half thrilling hours trying and failing to navigate into the centre via the U/S Bahn systems, which are fairly straight forward if you speak German, which I absolutely do not. (Yet, anyway. Thank you, Duolingo).
Eventually, I found my way to Schlesishes Tor (sp?!) which took three train changeovers. I followed my trusty iPhone 4 to a street corner my local friend Michelle told me to meet her at, and soon found myself several blocks in the wrong direction. iPhone, you are garbage. Whatever, I eventually found her. We caught up and talked about how our summers had been. Hers had been fairly more eventful than mine, which was a 50/50 combination of working and eating tuna pasta.
Berlin is a bastard to live in. It’s a big bureaucratic whirlpool, which would take the absolute piss and depress everyone living here if it weren’t for the fact that no one ever stops partying. You need to register to live here, need a bank account, need a flat, need a job, need a SIM card and more, but can’t get any of this without first having a German address, bank account, steady employment, and so on. For example, you can’t get a flat without having a German bank account and months of payslips to prove you are a steady earner, as well as a notice from your previous landlord stating you have no outstanding payments. But you can’t get a German bank account without having an address and speaking German. Ugh, it’s cyclical and monumentally annoying.
I’ve asked Michelle how she managed to figure it all out and make a living here, but she’s vague in her answers, saying things like ‘don’t worry about it, everyone makes it work’. I don’t really know what that means. I’ve not asked her to expand.
My first night in Berlin was spent eating a delicious falafel and drinking a couple of beers in the flat of one of Michelle’s friends. Michelle’s flat was recently sold by her landlord, making her homeless, so she’s flitting between friend’s apartments. I’m here until Friday, after which point I’ll be off to a hostel, probably, until I can find somewhere to live that’s a little more permanent. Somewhere in among that, I have to find a job. Good grief, this is proving quite the task. Until last week, I deliberately avoided reading about what I’d have to do when moving here, because I knew I’d probably scare myself away if I read too much. It seems I was right.
I’m off out to explore the city now. God help me.