It’s been a quiet week, my first week in Berlin. See, I spend most of my time not working, and wondering when I’m ever going to make any money again, and then as soon as I hit the road it’s pretty much guaranteed that a client will get in touch. This is a sure sign that I should keep travelling, and I’m fine with that. Anyway, the result is that my first week here has been low-key due to an imminent deadline, and I need to spend long periods of time cooped up in the flat in order to meet it.
As such, it’s been kind of hard for me to get my head round the fact that I actually live in Berlin now, but I’m content to let that filter through gradually. I have now completely unpacked, which on one hand is unimpressive given the tiny amount of stuff I actually brought with me, but on the other hand is novel because I am used to living out of my rucksack and never actually putting things onto shelves and so forth. I live up four flights of stairs, which is basically something I vowed I would never do. I live in what some folks refer to as ‘the badlands’, a term I’m disinclined to adopt; I suspect there may be class and/or race-based issues at play in that descriptor, though I’m hesitant to draw any conclusions about that, simply because I’m in unfamiliar territory. However, I haven’t seen any kind of trouble here and I have no reason to feel unsafe. I walk everywhere; I prefer not to pay for public transport if I’m not in a desperate hurry, and besides, walking is a good way to get to know a city. My boyfriend – who we’ll call the Berlin Welcoming Committee – lives about an hour’s walk away. It’s a nice trek when I’m not fighting with my discperson – the sound increasingly fucks up when I’m in motion, and over the years I’ve become accustomed to having a soundtrack and don’t want to give it up yet. Which is to reiterate, I am a cheapskate and am going to put up with this until the bitter end.
What else? I’ve been trying to adjust my mental map of Berlin, formed through hazy memories of staying on Gneisenaustraße five years ago. I’m embarrassed by my German; part of me wants to inform everyone that I do in fact speak languages other than English, just, uh, not this one. It feels awkward to be unable to express the simplest things, although I guess it will come. I mean, I understand some basic German from the classes I took a million years ago, it’s just I find it hard to string a sentence together myself. The Berlin Welcoming Committee occasionally drops German phrases into conversation and then apologises for it, but I appreciate it because it will make them more familiar to me.
Oh yeah, and hipsters! There are lots of hipsters in Kreuzberg. Anyone could’ve told you that.
Somebody, I forget who, said to me not so long ago that Berlin is the place to be if you’re a writer or a musician or whatever, but not so helpful if you’re trying to make it in a ‘real’ job. I am not trying to make it in a ‘real’ job, so I guess I’m all set.