Tag Archives: move to Berlin

Our three year Berlinversary!!

3 year Berlinversary by Suzanne Forbes March 24 2018Glücklich, Glücklich in Berlin!

Moving to Berlin was the best decision we ever made. I am so happy and so grateful every day for the fantastic life we have here. The amazing creative community. The security and sanity of our healthcare. The great company my hub works for. Our beautiful home. My profoundly meaningful and fulfilling work.

My Patrons on Patreon are a huge part of this.

Thank you so very much for making this sweet life possible. I love you!

Watch til the end for the middle-aged lady getting showered with flowers!

Glücklich in Berlin by Anna Depenbusch

Hello, how nice to see you here, it seems to go well
I think you are happy in Berlin
Your big dream, for many years seems to be finally true
Part of me wishes you good luck
And a part of me wishes back here you

Yeah, it’s nice if you tell me who you meet so and what do you play
in this city you know you made
I mean who longs as home?
A part of me is very happy for you
And a part thinks: Berlin would not be good for me

Too big, too small, too close, too far
One thing goes, the other stays

That I envy you would somehow lied
But it is Great, you pulled the big ticket

You say you’re in the middle of it now, because everything else makes no sense
Because here the big world starts and that’s how real life sounds
Part of me wonders what the whole search is for
And part hopes you’re satisfied

Too big, too small, too close, too far
One goes, the other stays
A part of me wishes you happiness with all my heart
And a part of me wishes you back here

Too big, too small, too close, too far
One goes, the other stays
A part of me wishes you good luck
Part of me wishes you back
To envy you would be kind of sad
But it’s great, you have the big one jackpot

Hello, how nice to see you here, it seems you good to go
I think you are happy in Berlin

How to move to Berlin in 2016, Part 1.

Are you a well-paid tech worker who is sick of barely getting by in SF, New York or DC? Do you have a spouse who has health problems and doesn’t earn much money?

Are you exhausted from working 70-hour weeks and being constantly on call? Is your spouse sick of doing battle with the health insurance company over enormous copays and treatments they refuse to pay for? Do you feel like you can’t afford to have kids, even though you’d like to?

If that sounds like you, Berlin is your best shot at a decent life, maybe the kind of life your parents had. You might still have a chance at the American dream, in Germany.

First, let’s see if you are a candidate for a good financial picture in Germany. (it’s my first flowchart- sorry it’s kinda janky!)2016


Next, ask yourself some important questions.

Do you care about owning a house? Most Berliners rent for their entire lives.

Do you like public transport? You can certainly have a car in Berlin, but it is very difficult and expensive to get a driver’s license if your license is from a state that doesn’t have the wonderful reciprocity deal. Plus, the superb transit is really one of the defining characteristics of life here.

Are you ok with a life of modest expectations? This isn’t really a culture about getting rich or having huge successes. It’s about security, stability, and straightforwardness.

Speaking of that, are you ok with people telling you exactly what they think? Occasionally very rudely? A total stranger told me I was “doing it wrong” today, because of the way I was pulling my little shopping trolley.

Can you follow rules without losing a lot of energy over “why” and “that’s stupid”? There are a lot of rules in Germany. Most of them boil down to, “Be responsible for your own actions and don’t make life harder for your fellow humans”, but you still have to know them all.

Are you a good recycler? The recycling here is CRAY. I only recycle because my friends have kids, but 18 years in California, and especially Berkeley, trained me to separate and sort. Good thing, cause they are SO serious about it here.

We’ll close Part 1 with the most useful thing you can do if you are planning a move here.

Step 1: Learn some fucking German.

I had never been to Germany and did not know a single word of German except zeitgeist and schadenfreude. All the blog posts I read said that it was no worries, everyone speaks English in Berlin. This may be true if you spend all your time talking to expats in expat neighborhoods like Prenzlauerberg and work for a tech company whose HR department will manage every detail of your move.

But if you are moving yourself on a shoestring or limited resources, you will be well served to learn a bunch of basic words, like the word for apartment. Because trust, MOST people you will encounter in the process of setting up a life here do not speak English.