The last couple of months have been busy for me: I have left France and am currently spending a month living in Berlin. This is not my first time visiting the German capital and I like to think I know my way around certain bits of the city now.
I love it here and have long been meaning to start learning German, so I have taken the holiday time that I have available to me and am currently attending Die Deutschule every morning from 9.15 to 12.30.
Although my progress has been slow, I am starting to string some sentences together and I am definitely understanding a bit more of the language that I hear being slung from mouth to ear by passing pedestrians.
It is true to say however, that I have heard almost as much English and French being spoken here as I have heard German.
There is definitely an abundance of international tourists, students and creative young professionals here in Berlin. These visitors (myself included) seem to be attracted to the city by the surprisingly low cost of living as well as the vibrant cultural scene that exists here.
This vibrancy however, particularly in certain areas, occasionally verges on gluttony. Foreign youngsters who profess to be socially mindful and considerate frequently seem to care more about maintaining their exterior image than engaging in constructive social activities.
That being said, the bar culture and night life here is definitely worth experiencing: you just need to be aware that, as a visitor, your unintegrated presence may be contributing to local problems. If I was to move to Berlin I would definitely focus all my attention on learning german so as to be able to engage more fully with issues that are important to people already living here.
In addition to studying I have been enjoying some excellent food, seeing some excellent plays and films and meeting some fascinating people, as well as working on a significant creative project that is currently in the works… but more about all that next time!