Discloser- This is a guest post
Are you thinking about moving to Berlin? Have people told you about the magical attraction of this European capital? Are you excited but still a little uneducated on the matter of the way of living and finding a home here? Don’t panic- many of others before you were at the exact same
point and I would like to use my own such as some of my friends’ experience moving here to give you a little heads up.
I was born and raised in a small town in Franconia called Rothenburg ob der Tauber and finally moved to Berlin in October 2016. Growing up in a safe, quiet 12.000 inhabitant town, where everything seems to be fine, does not really prepare you for the move to Germany’s biggest city. In Rothenburg, people bury their dirt deep beneath the ground and only people inside the community know exactly who is sleeping with whom, whose parents are getting divorced, who spent some time inside for all kinds of reasons and who allegedly worked as a prostitute back in the days. As a tourist, you can easily get blended by the illusion of the medieval, romantic small town that is packed with gothic churches. No wonder Rothenburg’s younger generation wants to break out of this small bubble to have a look beyond the idyllic pensioners’ paradise that offers one nightclub that seems to have the same playlist for every Saturday night and rather get to know a better and more relevant perspective of the world and its diverse people. Berlin seems the perfect destination to get the most cultural input in terms of party, people and lifestyle, the big melting pot it is. So many people from within and outside the country move here every year which turned Berlin into this diverse paradise: every religion, language, ethnicity as well as mental disease is represented here. In contrast to the fairytale-like atmosphere in my hometown, it seems like in Berlin, the realness is less subtle. It definitely took me some time to adjust to the daily input of yet another crazy story or weird encounter.
The first thing I realised back in my teenage years, when I visited the city for the first time, was that everybody dresses and acts just as they like. There were no such things as fashion trends or at least in that parts of the city, where I went around. People wore their PJs, old jeans jackets and worn out sneakers. In terms of interacting, the Berliner Schnauze was the leading manner of communication: no frills, no fake or unnecessary small-talks, but rough and annoyed comments. It is totally common for people to freak out about the fact that the bus is late again, screaming and using every curse word the German language has to offer.
Going back to the last paragraph’s introduction about Berlin’s less subtle realness, I have to admit that this might be a bit misleading, because, in fact, it sometimes hits you right in the face. I remember watching a scene of “Sex and the City” in which the four women talk about the people who leave New York to go to the real world; then Samantha tells Carrie, after a homeless man showed her his penis, that it “doesn’t get any realer than that”. This seemed kind of exaggerated to me back then, but now, well, I have been out and about in Berlin. It turns out not all that glitters is gold. Let me give you a short example: What would you think if someone tells you about a club with a golden shower? Pretty fancy, huh? Well, the infamous Berghain owns such a shower and it does not have anything to do with getting cleaner- in fact, quite the opposite is true. It is a room that is only divided by a grate from the room above, in which people like to pee. Another example is my first visit to Kit Kat club where a good friend of mine dragged me in. There is a sauna, pool and many lightly clad people. This seemed odd and new to me, but hey, whatever makes people happy and does not affect others, right? I decided to have a look around to get the best all-round impression which I definitely did get: people having sex, people watching others having sex and finally people having sex on their own next to couples, on the dance floor, on couches…basically everywhere. At 9:30 in the morning my hunger for the new and weird was stilled and I was ready to go home and sleep. When we were leaving, people were still arriving, taking their clothes off and were ready to party. If there is one thing I love about Berlin it is the party culture. On a Sunday morning, if you have nothing better to do and feel like dancing: go ahead! Usually, there are a number of night clubs that are open non-stop from Friday to Monday.
Up to now, I might not have given you the most positive advertisement for this city thus far, but I, along with over 3.5 million other people, really love living here. The lifestyle of Berlin’s population is unique. The great thing is that everybody can just be themselves, no one gives a shit. Really. Wear your unicorn onesie, go ahead and take your pony on the train or cut some onions on the train, if you are running late to your cooking date. Enjoy the freedom of being weird. Another big plus for Berlin is that the cultural possibilities seem endless. With its unique history, Berlin provides so many cultural institutions such as museums and landmarks. Also, the nature around the city is beautiful. In summer, people flock to the river Spree or to lakes that are just outside the city to go swimming, enjoy a beer or a doobie. You can even hop on your rubber raft and flow down the lake and meet nice fellow boatswains along the way. During winter time there are cute little cafes and bars on every corner in Kreuzkölln, for example. The options to fill your spare time really seem endless.
So now, if you have read this essay this far and are still or now even more convinced to move here, let me give you a realistic preview of what your search for an apartment will look like. As I said, lots of people come here each year and want to be part of the vibrant city life. Therefore, finding a place to live is very hard and strenuous. First of all, you need to know where you want to live, send a lot of emails to landlords, then, if you are lucky enough to be invited to visit the apartment (along with 100 other people at the same time) you still need a lot of luck (or money) to be the one who receives the honor of moving in. But, don’t worry if you are one of the less well-heeled, there are options for you, too. For a shared flat, sometimes other essentials are requested. Here, having a steady income and a five-digit number on your bank account may not be the most important thing. There are listings for apartments, for which it is sufficient if you are young, female, single, attractive and willing to pay the monthly rent in another currency than Euros. Or, if you enjoy watching adult movies in company of a new buddy: here you go, move in with that creepy guy whose only requirement for the new flatmate is to watch porn with him every once in a while. What? That doesn’t sound like an attracting proposal to you? Ok, then, go and find something else, prude! I could go on and on about weird stories of flat-share listings, like the one flat share which occasionally throws foot fetishist parties and is looking for female flatmates that are OK with guys
feeling up their feet, but at the end, I want to give a valuable tip of how to get to an apartment in a non-creepy and easy way.
There is a website that will find you your perfect apartment: Wunderflats. The name speaks for itself: Here, you can find a fully furnished apartment for yourself; the prices contain all costs and essentials such as WiFi, a fully equipped kitchen or a washing machine. You don’t even have to be willing to throw foot fetishist parties, strictly live vegan or move in a nudist flat share. Just be prepared to get your background concerning your reason to move here, as well as your job position checked. If you have found an apartment that you like, send a request and one of Wunderflat’s booking team members will get in touch with you and walk you through the whole
process until the day you actually move in. And the best thing: all of this is free of charge for you! So, don’t be afraid! Come to Berlin and enjoy the world’s most exciting city!