A girl I know, as Dutch as can be, moved to China a few years ago. Her boyfriend was Chinese and I’m sure she had visited him a few times before actually moving her whole life eastwards, but still I can’t even imagine how many struggles she’s had to overcome while trying to build a life on the other side to the world. Compared to that, Germany and the Netherlands are the same country –even the language isn’t that different. Still, in the two months that I’ve been living in Berlin, I noticed that when it comes to cultural and everyday differences, the devil is in the details. So for all the Berliners who have no idea how special they are and for all the non-Berliners who have no idea what it’s like to live in this city: here’s my short overview of all the surprises that came (and still come) with living in Berlin.
image courtesy of Anweber / photocase.de
Let me start with some good advice: if you want to read more about Strausberger Platz/Karl-Marx-Allee in its currents state, check out this interactive Karl-Marx-Allee special of Die Zeit (only in German). It shows the many faces of the street and the way history and the present intertwine in this former heart of East-Berlin.
Cleaning the pots and pans, then and now
My life used to be amazing. I was one of those commuters who took the 8 AM train every morning, rode the elevator up to the 7th floor in a big office tower, powered her computer up and only left the building for a short lunchtime walk. To make sure we wouldn’t get too much daylight, the architect had even darkened all of the office’s windows. As a result, even on the sunniest days, it seemed as if we were witnessing dusk on a grey day in January – no temptation to go out, whatsoever.
And suddenly life changed. (image courtesy of evali / photocase.de)
Strausberger Platz is at the heart of everything – both as an architectural monument and as the starting point for a new stage in my personal life.
image courtesy of HG Esch
Distinctive architecture attracts distinctive people. In this, Strausberger Platz is no different from Shanghai’s French Quarter or New York’s Meatpacking District. Authors, filmmakers, architects – as well as regular folk who don’t want to live somewhere regular – populate these hot spots.
image courtesy of kallejipp / photocase.de