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7 Best Attractions to Visit in Berlin

Disclaimer: This is a guest post

Germany is rarely included in romantic travel guides and this is totally unfair! Our friends from Prime Russian Dating helped us choose the top 7 must-visit locations in Berlin – which wasn’t that easy as this city is full of exciting places. Let’s have a look now!

1. Unter den Linden
Starting your trip from the most famous boulevard of Berlin, you can see numerous major attractions at once. Unter den Linden stretches from the City Palace to the Brandenburg Gate and hosts a number of embassies, the Humboldt University – one of the oldest in the city, State Opera, State Library, and many more amazing spots.

2. Museum Island
From Unter den Linden, you can also go to the Museum Island, part of the UNESCO world heritage. Here, five prominent Berlin museums are situated. The Altes Museum and the Neues Museum present ancient relics from around the world. The Bode Museum is, in fact, a museum complex featuring the Sculpture Collection, the Museum of Byzantine Art, the Coin Cabinet, and a special gallery designed for children. The top-visited Pergamon Museum exhibits classic archeological monuments. Eventually, Alte Nationalgalerie encompasses paintings from Classicism to early Modernism. Just purchase a day pass and explore on your own!

3. Berlin Cathedral
Also known by its full name (Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church), Berlin Cathedral is one of the local jewels. Its construction kicked off in the 15th century and the edifice went through many redecorations since that time. It was badly damaged in the World War II and completely restored only in 1993. Millions of tourists now can marvel at its dome, chapels, and the Hohenzollern crypt and visit the Cathedral museum.

4. Brandenburg Gate
Walking down by Unter den Linden towards the Pariser Platz, you can’t miss the Brandenburg Gate. This neoclassical masterpiece was built at the end of the 18th century and became the iconic symbol of Berlin. It has seen different times. The Gate represented the separation of Germany after the Second World War; since the Berlin Wall demolition in 1989, it stands for the country’s reunification.

5. Reichstag building
This notable monument of Neo-Baroque style is located near the Brandenburg Gate. After being in disuse for long years after World War II ended, it was reconstructed in 1999 and meetings of Bundestag (the German parliament) are conducted here nowadays. Right in front of it, you will see the Victory Column symbolizing Prussian triumphs in wars with Denmark, Austria, and France.

6. Grunewald
The most known German forest lies 10 km away from the city beside the Havel River. It covers 3/4 of the locality of Grunewald in the western part of Berlin. Local diversity of trees and wildlife, lovely lakes and ponds are truly overwhelming! Go there by foot or take a bike or horse ride. Note that some areas function as natural reserves and are closed to the public.

7. Gendarmenmarkt
You should definitely visit this fascinating square in the heart of Berlin. The Gendarmenmarkt’s history dates back to the 17 th century when it was called Linden-Markt. Later, it was used by city guards who kept their horses here. Nowadays, people come to the Gendarmenmarkt to see three glorious buildings: the German Dom, the French Dom, and the Concert House – one of the city’s main theaters, as well as the Schiller Monument. Other attractions, like St Hedwig’s Cathedral or Friedrichstraße – a luxurious shopping avenue – are found nearby.

How To/ Tourist Trips/ Uncategorized

Fall in Berlin- 5 Things to do

Fall was always a great time in Berlin for me. Being from California, I did not get to all types of weather. It was usually very warm, or slightly less warm, with the occasional bout of much needed rain. Living in a part of the world that experienced the full spectrum of weather, brought a new sense of wonder for me. The leaves were changing, the temperatures were dropping, and less and less people were out in the parks. Although there may seem like there is less to do, it is Berlin, and there is always something to get into while exploring the city.

1. A class of champagne at the KaDeWe

– Many of my expat friends resided in the former East of Berlin. When I would mention going to the KaDeWe, there would be a puzzled look on their faces, what is that? I love this place. I am not into the shopping aspect of it, as much as the people watching. Grab a glass of Moet from the bar, and enjoy watching the scores of families, shop for chocolate, cheese, and foreign food that can be found on the top floor of the mall. It can be a bit expensive for the average expat, but it is a nice little treat every now and then, especially on a Friday afternoon.

kadewe

2. The The Sony Center
movies

– The Sony Center offers the latest movies for people to check out in English and in German. I just liked the relax atmosphere, and the beer offered. The archetiture of The Sony Centeris beautiful. I always love to snap a photo while I am there.

IMG_20120406_135003

3. See some live shows

– Places such as the A-trane, and the Edelweiss(Tuesday’s Jam Session) are mainstays for me. It is always warm inside, and there is great jazz being played by Berlin local talent and sometimes guest stars from abroad. The Edelweissis casual, and in Kreuzberg, while the A-traneis for the mostly grown and sexy crowd in Charlottenburg.

das edelweiss

4. Laufen (Walk)

– It is true that the Germans love to walk, go out and get a glimpse of the changing leaves and some exercise as well. I love to walk over to the canal with some wine in my bag and a little blanket. In my neighborhood of Kreuzberg, there were always plenty of people out and about, and there are definitely some characters you can run into.

P1000180

5. Try a new bar

– Berlin is always filled with new bars. Some of my favorites are the soon to be closing Normal bar, and Fahimi’s which are both in Kreuzberg. fahimi bar
is a little on the expensive side, but has a great selection of music. The Normal bar
is kind of a regulars bar, but do not be intimidated upon entry, these folks that go there are awesome.

normalbar

*Bonus: Typically during this time, I am saving my ass off so I can attempt a vacation when it starts to really get cold. No shame in saving and staying indoors until you reach your goals.

Fall is a gorgeous time in Berlin, and I hope you are enjoying the cool weather, and the last bits of outdoor nightlife in Berlin. What do you do in the Fall while in Berlin?

How To/ Uncategorized

Protect Your Data While on the Road

Planning a trip these days involves all of the ordinary things: booking reservations, checking into your flight via smartphone, and packing your favorite devices for your upcoming journey. These tools have become critical for not only a business traveler, but also the mere tourist as well. With so many devices at our disposal to make our lives easier, what can we do to protect them from prying eyes?

data_security

Unfortunately, most people think they are going to be safe with just a password and an antivirus program. These solutions are simply not enough in the ever-increasing world of data thieves and spies. The sad truth is that not only are you at risk from these hackers, but also various governments as well. As we all know from the Edward Snowden revelations, nobody is safe, even when it involves their country. So, what steps can you take to protect yourself from these potential snoopers? Let’s take a look.

“Lock the front door.”

Long gone are the days where a simple password can keep someone from accessing your laptop or smartphone. Even still, having a solid password is still the best way to protect your data and to give the thief the necessary challenge when it comes to accessing your data. Make sure you are using a password that is unique and full of special characters (numbers, symbols etc.), giving that extra layer of protection. An additional step you can take is to create passwords for individual folders (containing your most valuable files), which you can read more about here
.

Secure your Wi-Fi Connection

Let’s face it, we are all living in an age where Wi-Fi access is seemingly more important than a bathroom or any other basic need. When traveling, most people don’t have roaming data plans, so spotting an open Wi-Fi network can seem like a savior in certain situations. What you may not be thinking about right away is who the actual owner of the wireless network is. Whether it’s at a hotel in hotel in New York
or Chicago O’Hare International Airport
, fake hotspots created by hackers are becoming more and more common in heavy traffic areas. Make sure you always ask for the network’s exact name as well as making sure that there is some password or encryption (WEP or WPA security) on the network before connecting. Another thing that some people may forget is to disable file sharing on a network before connecting, as this makes also makes it harder for people to access your files.

Invest in a VPN service

Even with securing your data with passwords, firewalls, and a safe network connection, it is still possible for someone to hack your data. An extra step that you may consider taking is utilizing a VPN to encrypt your internet connection. A VPN would be most effective for a business traveler or someone who is traveling with lots of sensitive data on their device. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) operate like a “virtual wormhole”, establishing a tunnel connection between your device and a server. The data that you send and receive is all encrypted by this tunnel, protecting your data from any unwanted exposure. Most VPN services will cost between 5-10 dollars a month, but there are numerous trials and coupons available. To learn more about VPN’s and see a list of providers, check out bestvpn.com
.

laptop

So there you have it, three ways to protect your data while on the road. Whether you are a savvy business traveler or a post-college backpacker, data security is increasingly important in the digital age. Common pickpockets have evolved into even more dangerous hackers, capable of massive problems. While it’s important to remember that physically securing your devices are also critical for data protection, taking the above steps is the best solution to ensuring your data is secure.

Bio

Thomas Ujj is an expat/traveler and IT enthusiast with a passion for security and privacy. When he isn’t planning his next trip, he likes to take the time to practice his Italian cooking as well as religiously watching Italian football team AS Roma. Unfortunately, cooking and watching football games doesn’t always equal paychecks, so he writes for smartdns.com
 as well.

featured/ How To

5 Broke Person Expat Tips

Traveling is expensive, let alone planning to move to another country. Many unexpected things can happen: Not finding a job as quickly as one would think, unexpectedly losing a job, not finding a place in your price range, and simply running out of money can be few of the many financial obligations one may face when deciding to live abroad. No matter how much one can plan, as in my case, saving for a year and even selling my car to get the cash to support myself in my first few months in Berlin. However, I could not predict my partner’s business problems and subsequent money issues we had.

I will be 30 in a few months. I am not exactly at an age where one can call their parents for money when I am deeply in need. I grew up in a house with a mother as an educator, my father helped with support, but I basically grew up on the lower edge of the middle class. With other siblings, and financial obligations of their own, my parents are not exactly the first people I can call when in need. With no help from home, and making decent money, but not being rich, I have managed to see many states and a little under 20 countries. I still think one should try in their lives to at least travel, and if possible, live in another country. Trust me, it is not easy, but I swear, if a shopaholic-perpetual expensive lunch-plus I always need hair and nails done- kind of girl, it is absolutely possible for one to do it, with work.

1. Save Money wherever you can:

One of the first ways I started to save money was to simply monitor my spending. I would take out cash, and just spend that. It really helped for me to see the money I was spending. After I assessed the damage, I started to see where I could cut back. I did not need a new pair of shoes every few weeks, and they certainly did not need to be a certain brand. I lived in LA, so I got a wholesaler license and went to the Fashion District where I would buy less, for less money. I also stopped treating all my friends, and going out to lunch all the time. I started to make food, and invite people over.

photo credit: Money via photopin (license)

photo credit: Money via photopin (license)

2. Get rid of things you don’t need:

Towards crunch time, I started selling things I did not need but could be sold on Craigslist. I did not need a TV and everything if I had the internet, for example.

photo credit: 341/365 via photopin (license)

photo credit: 341/365 via photopin (license)

3. Start to get a feeling for costs:

When I was visiting Berlin every couple of months, I noticed when was the best time to purchase, and generally how much things would cost, and started saving towards that goal price. I also started visiting websites for locals in English to see how much things would cost such as phone bills, rent, cars, essentials. That also helped on frequent visits. For example, Berlin has cheap rent, but also cheap salaries. I was shocked to see what passed as a salary here, but it is enough to survive.

photo credit: Expenses via photopin (license)

photo credit: Expenses via photopin (license)

4. Make a life plan:

You need to really budget and plan as much as you possibly can. Know where you will stay, how much, and save for that goal. I cannot stress a plan enough. Start looking for jobs before you leave. Learn what skills and things you need before you land. For example, in Germany you need to know the language and to have patience.

5.I swear to god, SAVE:

I pretty much shut my social life down as soon as I decided to move to Germany. I was serious about saving money, because I know that if I got stuck, that all I had was my partner and his pod. If I wanted to have my own money, I needed to save my own and hit the ground running on finding a job to earn more.

These are the things that worked for me, however, I had a partner. Alone, I would maximize my efforts towards saving and finding information regarding your potential job, housing, and quality of life. Trust me, it made the difference to visit. If this poor girl from the Inland Empire of California can do it, you can save and go wherever your heart desires.

photo credit: Money via photopin (license)

featured/ How To/ random thoughts/ Uncategorized

Kwanzaa 2014

It is that time of year that I always think about Kwanzaa. Yes, there was a time in my life where my family got together to try to celebrate this cultural tradition. This seems silly now, but I choose not to celebrate the past few years, because I felt embarrassed to not be with a Black person, and celebrate this holiday. These days, I figured, it is simply best to show someone my full self, so they are not completely surprised. I have grown up to find that dating someone is not Black, does not mean they cannot understand you, or that I have to hide my blackness. I certainly do not want someone who is colorblind, but someone who accepts me as whole.

( I didn’t want to be this guy)

I digress. Kwanzaa was established by a professor of mine back in college by the name of Mulana Karenga. The man himself is to be debated, but he did start this tradition back in 1966. The time is me ants to honor African heritage while celebrated culture, community, and family. During this time, the Black Power movements among other were in full swing. This celebration was a time to reclaim and celebrate the heritage of people of African descent, since it was stripped away over the last few hundred years during slavery. The name has its origins in Swahili and translates “matunda ya kwanza” or first fruits in English.

When is it celebrated

– December 26th to January 1st

Colors-

Red – blood shed during slavery, jim crow, and civil rights movements, in addition to symbolizing the blood united everyone with African ancestry.
Black – Represents the people
Green- Represents Africa

There are 7 principles that are celebrated daily throughout the time of Kwanzaa.

Umoja: Unity
Kujichagulia: Self-determination
Ujima: Collective Work and Responsibility
Ujamaa: Cooperative Economics
Nia: Purpose
Kuumba: Creativity
Imani: Faith

When we celebrated, we would light a candle and exchange words or handmade gifts. My father even purchased some traditional clothing from Nigeria that we wore. I hated it at the time, because I was completely into Christmas, and could not understand the reason behind it. Thanks parents for forcing me to learn. There would also normally be a small dinner on the 1st.

Kwanzaa, though still not widely celebrated, I believe still is important, especially to those in the diaspora (people of African descent living outside of Africa/descendants of victims of the transatlantic slave trade). It is a nice way to put life in perspective, and make the season less about materialism but about honoring one’s heritage. I think many people do not realize what it is like to be raised in a place like America, where as a Black woman I was taught the history of people who looked like me started with slavery, and ended with MLK, and now everything was fine. There was no connection to Africa, and absolutely no way of knowing where you came from on the continent. It helped spark and interest in me to learn about my roots (or as much as I could find) by trying to get back to them. It is a start, but of course you cannot paint African traditions as if they are all one monolith. My goal is to afford an actual DNA test to figure out where I could of possibly came from in Africa. Would be nice to finally answer that question.

So for those wondering what Kwanzaa is, and why some people celebrate it, hope this helps you discover something new.

kwanzaa-kinara

How To/ Uncategorized

10 German Words that are the same in English

I have had a lot of time on my hands, as I wait for my new visa for my new job, and I had been taking some time to dust off some of my German skills. I had taken some classes in Los Angeles, and in Berlin, but I have not been really speaking it. I can understand many words, and I noticed the similarities between the languages. English and German are both Germanic languages. I think English has more French, Latin and Dutch influence as well. It is amazing sometimes how I will be speaking to someone who speaks German and they are thinking for the English word for “normal” pronounced (nor-mall) as in “Al bundy” in German, and I say, “Oh, you mean normal!” I tell them to just think about pronunciation and the English alphabet when it comes to the differences in the way that we would both say that word. There are many other words in both languages that fit into this same issue.

1. die Nation

“Die Nation” is the same as the Nation in English. Easy word to learn, and remember, I do not use this word myself in daily conversation.

rock-the-nation_logo_5

2. der Kindergarten

This literally means child garden. I guess this can be the term could be use in reference to the knowledge that one gets in kindergarten. Fredrich Froebel is known as the “father of kindergarten.” He started the first Kindergarten in 1837.” His kindergarten developed theories and practices that
are still being used today in kindergarten classrooms. His ideas were that children need to have play time in order to learn. Kindergarten should be a place for children to grow and learn from their social interaction with other children.Friedrich Froebel wrote a book based on his theories and practices concerning the kindergarten environment. The book was burned by the German community. They did not believe children needed to play in order to learn. They thought his theories were outrageous.” 1(source below)

kindergarten-clipart-dT8RXexTe

3. die Schadenfreude

According to Webster’s, schadenfreude means: “a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.” What a wonderful word. It’s actually the first German word that I learned, back in high school. I guess the modern day term for this is a “hater.”

schadenfreude_pic

4. der Tourist

The word tourist seems to be another French/German/English word.’Tourist’ appears to be an English word (or rather, coinage) from around 1800 (1803 in French), with the English word ‘tour’ (“le mot anglais”) meaning ‘voyage circulaire’.
This English word ‘tour’ is obviously in itself a loan (14th C.) from French (tour, tourner).

In early 19th C. France, the word ‘tourist’ was predominantly used in an ‘English context’, refering to people going to England.
Stendhal’s Mémoires d’un touriste might indicate that by 1838 the French meaning of the loanword ‘tourist(e)’ started to get used in other, broader contexts (viz. somebody traveling for fun, whether or not to England), though the dictionnaire historique suggests that the wider meaning of the word ‘tourist’ was inspired by that publication.

tourist

5. der Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist, literally translated means “time spirit.” It was first seen in 1848, from German Zeitgeist (Herder, 1769), “spirit of the age,” I only started hearing this word in the last few years with those Zeitgeist movies on youtube.

zeitgeist

6. die Gesundheit

It has history since 1914 (at least being used in English), from German Gesundheit, literally “health!” I love when people ask, so what do you say when you want to say “Bless you? You know the English word for Gesundheit?”

geseundheit

7. die Pause

This word apparently is from Middle French “paused”, from Late Latin pausare “to halt, cease, pause.” I find it interesting how the three language converge, and how many Latin words are in German to be honest. Of course it is pronounced differently in German.

pause

8. der Doppelgänger

This word literally means “double goer.” According to wikipedia, this word was first defined as: “a look-alike or double of a living person who is sometimes portrayed as a harbinger of bad luck. In some traditions, a doppelgänger seen by a person’s relative or friend portends illness or danger while seeing one’s own doppelgänger is said to be an omen of death.

In contemporary vernacular, the word doppelgänger is often used in a more general sense to identify any person that physically or perhaps even behaviorally resembles another person.”

doppleganger

9. das Vitamin

This one had an interesting background. In “1920, [it] originally vitamine (1912) coined by Polish biochemist Casimir Funk (1884-1967), from Latin vita “life” (see vital) + amine, because they were thought to contain amino acids. The terminal -e formally was stripped off when scientists learned the true nature of the substance; -in was acceptable because it was used for neutral substances of undefined composition.”

Vitamine2_03_f73f71ff4b

10. “der Umlaut”

Basically it is those points above some German words, that denote to pronounce a certain letter differently. “From 1852, from German umlaut “change of sound,” from um “about” (see ambi-) + laut “sound,” from Old High German hlut. Coined 1774 by poet Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (1724-1803)” I did not know it was the same word in English.

umlaut

1. Kindergaren. https://www3.nd.edu/~rbarger/www7/kindergarten.html

2. Etymology guide. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=zeitgeist

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doppelg%C3%A4nger

featured/ How To/ Uncategorized

Halloween in Berlin 2014

Hey Folks

Halloween is coming. For those who do not know, October 31st is the day that (mostly) Americans celebrate Halloween. This is my favorite holiday by far. I was never able to celebrate this as a child, because my Mother was very religious, and forced my siblings and I to celebrate “All Saint’s Eve,” which is the Christian answer to this holiday. I will not go into the specifics or the history of the holiday, but for those looking to celebrate, I wanted to list some of places that one can buy a costume for whatever party you may find yourself to be. I didn’t have pictures of some of the places, so I am going to show some examples of my costumes over the years of being in Berlin. Warning: I am more into “sexy Halloween” than scary Halloween.

1. Dekogerberlin

This is located in Kreuzeberg. I do not recall going there on my endless quests in the past to find decorations. I used to have parties when I was in my previous relationship, but now I have to celebrate outside. This place seems to have something for everyone, and they have delivery. I am absolutely paranoid about shipping, so I would suggest going down to visit the store.

Yorckstraße 43
10965 Berlin
Germany
http://www.dekolagerberlin.de/index.php

I dressed as a bumble bee. This was in Los Angeles. I would not dare wear this in Berlin unless I had a male escort and pepper spray. LOL

I dressed as a bumble bee. This was in Los Angeles. I would not dare wear this in Berlin unless I had a male escort and pepper spray. LOL

2. Mask World

This place is really popular, and of course, really expensive. This is located in Mitte, and it is always packed close to Halloween. If you want to spend some major coin, you could find a nice costume. I found it to be quite pricey, and the selection in store was small, compared to their website. I am guessing this is just based on space, and me going at the last minute to find stuff.

Hackescher Markt at Oranienburger Str. 86a.
http://www.maskworld.com/english

This costume was my version of a character from coming to America. I could not find a better picture of me in it. Sorry

This costume was my version of a character from coming to America. I could not find a better picture of me in it. Sorry

3. Karneval Megastore

I could not find the location from the store, but the selection looks quite awesome. This is primarily a store for German Carnival, but they have a separate section just for Halloween.

http://www.karneval-megastore.de/html/index.php

This was my outfit for my first year in Berlin. I was just a 70's girl. I called myself foxy brown.

This was my outfit for my first year in Berlin. I was just a 70’s girl. I called myself foxy brown.

4. Kreativ Ampel

This shop is located in Friedrichshain, and will be open late as the holiday approaches for those still looking.

http://www.kreativampel.de/

This was my outfit for 2013. I was the devil, and my ex was a priest. We thought it was funny. I decided to tone it down a bit since we were going outside.

This was my outfit for 2013. I was the devil, and my ex was a priest. We thought it was funny. I decided to tone it down a bit since we were going outside.

These stores should be a good start to find something you are looking for. This year, I am trying to go as Cleopatra. I have most of the ideas in my head, but I have to find a party to go to… this is the hard part. Halloween is still catching on here in Germany, but there will be a few parties.

featured/ How To/ random thoughts/ Uncategorized

Dating in Berlin: 5 Ways to Meet People

Meeting people in Berlin seems to be especially difficult for the single crowd. I am 29 years old, and I am working ( in finance now). I go out enough, but I do find it hard to meet people for any real connecting. I have spoken to many people here, they seem to have the same issue. Berlin is a tourist town, so many of the people you meet are only here for a few days, or a few months at the most. It can be harder to find someone willing to hang out for any longer than this. I do not feel that it is a problem that is unique to Berlin, rather most larger cities seem to have this problem. I had the same issue in Los Angeles, which is how I got to Berlin in the first place (chasing love). If you are single, however, like I am, and wanting to meet someone for a longer term possibility, please just be patient and try not to rush things. I have found in this fast pace city, relationships often move rather slow. I have attempted to compile a list of where you can meet people based on whatever you might be into.

Dating as a “Black” woman I have found to be quite interesting. After a conversation with my friend (who is European French lady) I realized, yes there is an added element to dating here while Black. There are some cultural differences, a lot of ignorance. This is not coming strictly from the white side, I had many many MANY stereotypes about Germans and White people in general. I had to take each as they come in order to stop my brain from counting someone out before I had the chance to get to know them.

Disclaimer: I am not a dating guru

1. Tinder / Adult Friend Finder vs. Less Sexually based ways of meeting up OkCupid

If you are looking for a hook up or something casual, these websites can be helpful in your search. I have used adultfriendfinder and OKCupid. I do not use Tinder. I at least want to have a conversation with someone to find if there is anything attractive about the person. If you find it hard to meet people while out and about (which is hard to do in any big city), then you might want to try these websites. Tinder and OkCupid are free, while you have to pay for the other one. There will be plenty of expats, and English speakers. I put my entire profile in English, and I am often written. It’s probably because of my body, since most of the comments or notes are “nice tits.” I wonder if they think I have not heard that one before? Online dating is always a hit or miss experience for me. It would serve you well to thoroughly read through profiles. Often you will find hints to what type of person you might be meeting. Of course, people put their best foot forward online, but I would advise to take time in meeting people in this manner, unless you are just trying to get a quick lay, then by all means, have fun. OkCupid can also yield some long term prospects, however, this has not been the case in my experience. I have tried to meet the ones looking for long term, and have crashed and burned on several occasions. I have taken it slow, I have asked for what I wanted, but in my case, when I say.. hey we should probably do this exclusively to really see if there is something here, they turn into a ghost. Could be me, I could the problem here, or many other issues.

Online-Dating-GIF

2. Berghain / Karter Holzig vs. Low Key spots

If you want to just hook up, and you do not want to go online for whatever reason, try some huge stupid electro club. Berlin is full of them. Most of the people are tourists, or expats, the music is awful, and everyone is on their drug of choice. I have been to Berghain, and went home with the worst mistake of the last 3 years, a friend of mines roommate. yuck. I am not looking for this at all, but take your pick, it is very easy to meet a person in places like this around the city. Just do not be mad when you never hear from them again, which in some cases, might be a good thing. If you are looking to actually talk to someone, you may want to find low key bars or book stores, coffee shops. I tend to meet people everywhere I go, male or female. It mostly starts with curiosity. Most opening questions being: “Where you from?” My favorite response right now is .. “The same place you are from, Earth” Jokingly of course.

intercourse

3. Social events or hanging with coworkers

Talk to people at social events. Berlin has something for ALMOST everyone, and you are guaranteed to find someone new and interesting, and let’s hope they speak German or English. There are so many ways to find people in this manner, just keep an open mind. I find people tend to stick in a clique of friends, and never try to explore the person that is staring at you from across the room, or one that drops hints about perhaps meeting you at a later date. Sometimes many people miss the social cues, and subsequently miss out on meeting someone new. You already know you have something in common, so it might make things easier.

I would also suggest to hang out with your coworkers. Most expats I know are working for start ups. When I was not single, I did not want to be around my co-workers, because I knew they were trouble, but when I became single, I started to go out more. The bigger the net, the more fish you might catch. It is nice to meet someone through introduction, which is how most Germans I know do it, that is if you are looking to meet a German person. I would not suggest sleeping with your coworkers, even with high turnover in startups, it’s not a good idea.

a3832d5cdaabb26144be11a6d9181ca09ec4854406fc208825ff9ed76a9e7f29

4. Explore Berlin vs. Volunteering

I think this can depend on your personality when it comes to exploring and volunteering. I have a person in my life who always says you might be having a hard time, but it could just be you. You take you where you go, so make sure you take the time to figure out what could be your issue. In easier terms, if you are shy and you are exploring Berlin alone, you still might not ever meet anyone. Volunteering might be better to force social situations with people who have like minded interest. They have places like “give back Berlin” that might help you start on your journey.

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5. Speak German, Go to classes, language exchanges

Lastly, perhaps, your attempts to learn German might help you meet people. Many of the classes that I have are full of other new people to Germany, and you have to work together, so many times you can talk about many other things, which could lead to a social/romantic connection. Languages exchanges are also interesting ways to meet people. If you already know German, you are ahead of the game. My German skills do not exactly make me popular with the men, I generally tend to avoid having to speak it outside of professional situations.

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How To/ Uncategorized

Apartment Hunting in Berlin- My Story

Hey Folks

I decided it was probably best to get the heck out of my ex-boyfriend’s apartment, and fast. Lately, each time he drinks, his behavior has become more bizarre. The last time, I found that he shit in my makeup bag. While, I laughed it off, I thought, man this guy seems to really subconsciously hate me. I have truly worn out my welcome. Besides, I am actually trying to have some dates in my life, and it’s simply not great when you have to tell a guy that he cannot come over, because my ex-boyfriend won’t allow it. I have heard horror stories of people taking months to find a place, and I frankly was not excited about looking. I have two choices: leave Berlin, or find a place. Since I like my job, I figured, I will stay as long as I felt needed, and get my own place. It will be a lonely time, but I think it’s healthier so that my ex and I can both move on.

I started the journey of finding a place. There are few things you need before you start looking (for your own place).

***Be aware, that Germans love their paper, so whatever you got, give it to them, if you think it will help.***

1- Pay check stubs Make sure to print these out and have them ready should you be able to see any apartments. They need at least three months.

2. Schufa- A schufa is basically your credit score. If you have been working and living in Germany for a while, they should be rather easy to come by. Click here for More information

3. Landlord’s letter- Now if you have this, you are a step ahead. I do not have this, I have only lived with my boyfriend since moving to Germany. You can also have the person you rent a room from to write a letter stating how much you paid and for how long. Just explain to the person you are giving the application to.

These things coupled with the application which is normally listed on the apartment websites.

Now armed with your paperwork, you should start looking for an apartment. Here are the places I have been looking. I am looking for furnished, but also unfurnished. I don’t know how I am going to put things in it, but I figured, I will figure it out when I get to that part.

Websites-

1. Immobilien Scout 24: You can find many apartments here that are furnished and unfurnished http://www.immobilienscout24.de/

2. WG-Gesucht: Another resource people use to find apartmentshttp://www.wg-gesucht.de/

3. Crocodilian.de: They do furnished apartments only. I filled out some applications, but as soon as I sent my passport information, they told me they had nothing in my price range. I don’t want to think the worst, so I will keep trying. https://www.crocodilian.de/

Please know that many apartments in Berlin do not come with kitchens. That means you might need to buy a full kitchen as well as a closet when you move. In addition, I make sure to translate everything. Terms like Kaltmeite vs Warmmeite are important. Kalt means that its the cold rent without the utilities, and warm means everything included.

I have been on a few appointments, and the competition is stiff out there for a place, which is why I am going the agency route. It is more expensive, but at least I don’t have to furnish an apartment. Wish me luck, I am worried.

How To/ My hair/ random thoughts/ Uncategorized

Root 2 Tip: Natural Hair Show and Class in Berlin

Hey Folks,

I hope all is well in your world, things are fantastic in mine. I spent most of the week doing hair myself. I braided two of my friends hair. I am tired, and my fingers are sore, but I still wanted to put some updates of my activities. Last weekend, I went to a hair show. It was put on by the ladies at Flexicurl. The brought this company, Root 2 tip to Berlin to do some hair education, and product demonstration for ladies with naturally very curly hair. This is perfect for a place like Germany, where these products are scarce and expensive if you do find them. I find many ladies know nothing about their natural hair, or how to care for it. I was happy that this was gaining steam here. Well I dragged my friend to be a hair model, because my hair is locked up, and we were able to meet some new people as well.

The company was started by a black woman from London. She was in the same predicament many of our ladies are in: trying to find good, healthy, inexpensive products for natural hair. You will find, if you move to Germany, that hair products, especially ones sold in the USA are just not here. I have contacted companies such as Miss Jessies, Kinky Curly, and even Mixed chicks. It is hard to get them to ship, unless you are an active store. I guess the demand just is not here yet. That is ok, because these girls are doing their thing here in Europe.

They went through the basics of curl composition, hair dos and donts, as well as the best ways to nuture and grow long, natural hair. I thought overall they were basic things, but I have been a natural chick for years. I remember when I first started, it was overwhelming. I could see the faces of the women in the root, listening intensely as she explained these concepts. The energy in the room was so positive, and the ladies were so knowledgeable and nice. They served us dinner too! Here are some pictures from the event below.

Visit: www.root2tip.com

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Question: When you are abroad, what do you use to maintain your natural hair?