The things you do if you’ve lived in Berlin too long

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 20 Jun, 2018 Updated Wed 20 Jun 2018 16:46 CEST
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Thousands of foreigners arrive in Berlin every year. While most leave for pastures new after a year or two, others stay for longer. But be warned: the German capital can change you in strange and unexpected ways.

Not bat an eye lid at public sex

If you’ve been through more than a few summers in Berlin, chances are you have happened upon sweaty naked people in the throes of coitus in some half-secluded spot.

Perhaps the lovebirds were trying out several positions in an exposed field while children played football nearby. Perhaps they had chosen a dark corner of a techno club to release their lust. What's certain though is that if you hear an American tourist telling her friend in shocked tones about a threesome she stumbled across in the Grünewald, you’ll just raise an eyebrow and think “tell me something new.”

Have a soft spot in your heart for Alexa

When Alexa mall was first unveiled ten years ago you were too aghast at the audacity of erecting a windowless maroon bunker in the centre of the city.

But after hearing years of criticism of the charmless bulk you've developed a strange feeling of protectiveness akin to that of a mother for the awkward kid at school. You've still never actually been inside though.

Photo: DPA

Slowly move ever further away from Berghain

Your first apartment was just a three-week stopgap in Wedding, but you knew you wanted to be where the action was. So you were delighted when you convinced a trendy WG in Friedrichshain to give you their spare room. On your first weekend you all went to Berghain (no worries - your new flatmate knew one of the bouncers (okay, he knew someone who knew one of the bouncers... and you had to queue for two hours)).

That was several years ago, though. Ever since you started to develop a twitch in your right eye, you’ve slowly moved further away from the bass-filled nightclub. Now settled into a nice bougie part of Schöneberg, your hand starts to tremble if anyone so much as mentions the word U1 on a Friday night.

Start to actually care about Hertha BSC

Photo: DPA

In your first year in Berlin you pretended that you had never been interested in football. "Boring," you said, as you discreetly hid your Arsenal shirt at the bottom of your chest of draws. But as the years wore on you couldn’t help having the odd sneaky look at a match. About two years ago you went to your first Hertha game and noticed that they do actually have fans somewhere in the city. You’re a fully paid up ultra now.

Start to sweat if a waiter smiles at you

You have become so accustomed to unfriendly service that you you have forgotten what small talk is. On the rare occasions when you make it out of Berlin to another city you start breaking out in sweats when a waiter strikes up conversation with you. Is this some cunning trick to cheat you out of money?

READ ALSO: 8 ways living in Germany will change you for good

Head for the hills when May 1st comes round

It’s already planned out months in advance. You put your apartment on AirBnB for two days on either side of the May festivities as soon as in January. A friend of yours has offered you a house with no electricity in a forest deep inside the Czech Republic.

Areas of the city like Kreuzberg’s Lausitzerplatz are best avoided at all times between May and October anyway. If for whatever reason you do end up in Berlin on May 1st, you believe it to be sound advice to lock yourself inside your apartment. You also forget to charge your phone the evening before to ensure that no one can emotionally blackmail you into heading for Kreuzberg “just for an hour or two.”

Scowl at anybody who asks for a Brötchen at the bakery

Naturally you avoid anywhere in the city where you are likely to be confronted by a gaggle of fresh-off-the boat Americans breezily ordering their meals in English. But these days you’ve noticed you even get irritated when you hear some west German asking for Brötchen at the baker. When it’s your turn you order zwei Schrippen and grimace at the woman behind the counter before going about your day.

Think about buying a farm in Brandenburg

Even at times these days Schöneberg seems a bit too bustling for you. You idly swipe through offers on immobilienscout to see if you can buy the farm house of your dreams for under €20k in the backwaters of Brandenburg. When you come across a beautiful but distinctly roofless Hof, you curse yourself for having spent the last decade working at a magazine rather than learning how to use your hands.

Photo: DPA

Moan when you hear that beer costs €3

You have become so used to paying €1.80 for ein Halbes vom Faß in your local Kneipe that anything above €2 seems rather excessive. When someone suggests going to a beer garden that you’ve already mentally noted has beer for over €3 you protest in the most vehement terms at the extortionate pricing.

You've started researching tattoo removal procedures

No regrets. This isn’t about regrets. It’s just that now that you actually have a job with a monthly salary and a shirt and tie and all that, it might not come across so well at meetings. And, looking back on it, maybe you wouldn't get the Sternburg logo inked onto your arm if you could do it all again.

View vegetarians as animal enslavers

The one part of your early Berlin fundamentalism that stuck was the veganism. Perhaps it is the industrial amount of MDMA you poured down your throat during the Berghain days, but you've had an almost compulsive need to purify your body ever since. Even vegetarians are somewhat suspect to you - isn’t eating eggs a type of infanticide, after all?

SEE ALSO: 'How living in Berlin has changed me for life'



The Local 2018/06/20 16:46

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