First few steps

I’ve left leafy  Sheffield and its gorgeous Peaks for pastures new. Berlin. City life. Actual city life. Not feels-like-a-big-village Sheffield city life. Excited and petrified at the same time, name an emotion and I’m probably feeling it. ‘Best year of your life’ is the phrase that gets thrown at me when I tell people I’m starting my year abroad, but I remain somewhat sceptical. Pitching expectations too high can be dangerous and lead to bitter disappointment so instead I’ll simply wait and see how it all unfolds. It might be amazing, it might be awful. Who really knows?

Anyway, I’ve unpacked my suitcases, started decorating my room and almost over the cold I arrived with.

Surprisingly, I haven’t missed Sheffield as much as I’d anticipated. Yeah I was sad I couldn’t be there for my friend’s birthday and I miss just doing everyday things with my boyfriend, but I try to stop concentrating on it too much and the pangs of sadness slowly begin to numb. That said, my last day in Sheffield did bring a lot of tears. I felt particularly sorry for my boyfriend’s flatmate who asked me how I was, unaware that I would descend into tears. Poor guy.

Having friendly flatmates and the flat itself being lovely has helped considerably because I feel more comfortable and at home. Okay, the lock on the only toilet may not work but so far no awkwardness has arisen and I intend to keep it that way. I’m lucky I managed to find a nice spot as you tend to discover some odd people whilst flat hunting in Berlin. My friend was at one flat viewing where the guy had set out water, wine, beer and juice, then noted down what he chose…

My placement (at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) isn’t quite as expected, but good nonetheless. Firstly, I have my own office – complete with swivel chair. What more can you ask for? Everyone is very welcoming and one day another student even made soup for us all. So far my job has involved translating texts and proofreading, as well as correcting interview transcripts which sometimes bear little resemblance to English. I’m looking forward to moving onto more German work soon though, as it’ll improve my language skills. After all, that’s what I’m here for!

Germany has the reputation of being a bureaucratic maze and hasn’t failed to disappoint. I’ve managed to wade through what I hope is the majority of the paperwork: I’ve registered as a resident, opened a bank account and got my Berlin transport ID card. Still need to finish off the FIVE forms, including pension plan, I got from work but the end is in sight.


Now all that’s left to do is wrap up warm for the harsh winter looming ahead and begin to properly find my feet in the city I’ll call home for the next nine months.

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