If one would have told me that I would be celebrating living in Germany for one year, all by myself, I never would have believed them. But guess what? Next Friday marks ONE YEAR OF LIVING IN GERMANY!!
Words can not explain the amount of happiness, strength, pride, and accomplishment I feel from making it abroad alone for one year. There was a handful of people that said I wouldn’t make it or that I would be back in Minnesota after six months but look at me now, I’m killing the game!
I remember arriving in Frankfurt and being so overwhelmed with joy because all the signs were in German. I felt so at home (strangely enough), and excited for this new chapter in my life!
I had been traveling for over 24 hours with a face full of make-up, a stomach full of butterflies, and a heart full of joy.
Thankfully, I booked a hostel before-hand and also had three flats to look at once I arrived. I was staying at Baxpax hostel in Mitte and had so much nostalgia from my time studying abroad in 2014. I felt like I was finally living my true vocation. I didn’t want jet-lag to hit me, so I stayed up for a full day and went to check out some flats. The first one was in Wedding. If you’re from Berlin or familiar with Berlin districts, you’ll understand my apprehension. I ended up going with the first flat I checked out and lived in Wedding for six months with a strange Bavarian, ha!
The next couple months were full of job applications, horrendous German bureaucracy, and getting settled into my new life. Surprisingly enough, I had a handful of job offers within the first month that I arrived in Berlin, the tough part was waiting for my visa to process. With time, everything worked out and my visa was approved ASAP!
Spring and summer were wonderful for a new expatriate in Berlin like myself. I was settled into my new job, flat, and life. The city completely transformed. Everyone was outside and smiling for once! (Very rare for Berliners haha) But being the Minnesota baby that I am, I chose to spend most of my time indoors because I hate hot temperatures. I made progress on my blog and had a plethora of photo shoots. We all know how much I love taking photos!
I ended up moving to Fürstenwalde in July, (about 52 kilometers outside of Berlin) and learned a lot of German. It was a very humbling and rewarding experience. I moved so far away from Berlin because I simply could not find a place to live in the city. It was incredibly frustrating commuting over three hours to and from work every day, but I learned to make the best out of the situation. My rent was significantly cheaper, the town was aesthetically pleasing, and like I mentioned earlier, my German improved!
Despite living so far away from Berlin and having to commute to work every day, I was still enjoying my expat life. This was due in part to a lovely human that asked me to dance one Saturday night. I didn’t think it was possible for another person to make me as happy as this person did, but before I knew it, life took its natural course and they were gone. I learned a lot in this short amount of time; primarily to always be kind. So even though I wish this person was still here, I’m happy they even entered my life in the first place.
Around November I FINALLY found an amazing flat in Mitte. I’ve lived here for three months now and I absolutely love it. My roommates are the best people, I live in a really good neighborhood, AND MY GYM IS A FIVE MINUTE WALK AWAY! Anyone that knows me knows how obsessed I am with the gym, so this factor was icing on the cake.
Next came the holidays, which I thought were going to be amazing, but I was wrong.
I’ve always been a fiercely independent girl – I like doing things on my own, (that’s all I’ve ever known) and take pride in my accomplishments. So, I was excited to experience my first German Christmas here in Berlin. But soon enough, my roommates went home, I had a lot of time off of work, and the city grew quiet. I remember walking through a Christmas market and seeing people with their loved ones as I strolled along alone. My eyes filled with tears and I realized for the first time since moving abroad, how much I missed my grandma, my siblings, and friends back home that know me better than I know myself. I didn’t know how to beat the funk and was really down for a while. But as luck has it, I met a group of black American girls that invited me to Christmas. It quite honestly was the best gift I could’ve received this Christmas season. We had an amazing evening filled with lots of laughter, love, and FOOD!
I ended the year in Hamburg with my favorite person in Germany, Subah!!
After living here for nearly a year, it’s safe to say I’ve experienced both the highs and lows of expat life.
I’m not going to lie, at times I wanted to go back to Minnesota. I wanted my Bavarian bestie to come back to Berlin. I wanted life to not be so hard. But I’m happy I didn’t give up. I’m happy I remained resilient. Because look at me now!! I can order food in German, I travel quite often, I have an amazing flat, and I’ve established a handful of truly meaningful relationships in Berlin whilst maintaining relationships back home.
Continue to slay (as pictured above) Lol
As of now, I’m still freelancing and nannying. But I’ll be transitioning into a new career path in the near future. I’m going to Scotland in March and I’ll be posting more often, both on my blog and YouTube channel. (theberlinbabe) Lastly, I’ll hopefully be visiting Minnesota this Spring.
As I’ve mentioned a plethora of times before, I couldn’t be happier with my life abroad. Cheers to one year!
Ich liebe dich, Berlin!