Deutschland, Hallo: Letter from a New Zealander to Berlin
Goodness, it feels so verdammt gut to be back in Deutschland. I really have left my heart in two places—New Zealand and Germany are worlds apart but both feel like home to me.
Here I feel so unbelievably free. Free from the bitter weather back home and the people who are falling into their winter slumps. Free from the confines of what constitutes a "normal life". Free from the mind-numbing politics I used to have to deal with in my previous world. The only remotely political thing I have to contend with here is which organic supermarket am I going to buy groceries from? The one which has the more sustainable packaging or the one which makes those highly addictive dark chocolate amaranth bars from the healthier, less refined ingredients?
I also feel so wonderfully alive—in Berlin you can just be. It may have something to do with the warm weather, the pink hawthorns in full bloom, the whiffs of herb through the streets, my propensity for Club-Mate. Or perhaps it's that even though in the last few years I've only spent summer times in Berlin and haven't had to endure a long, harsh winter, these guys have a good thing going on.
Here are a few of my faves:
For starters, people bike everywhere. This makes for a whole lotta Spaß, helps you burn off some fuel after a night and is a great way to keep fit whilst working on your tan. Who needs to pay for a taxi or ride the inferno-like trains when you can push your pedals? It's good for both you and the environment.
As most people are apartment dwellers, people hang out in parks or along one of the many canals or rivers. Pick up a brewski or a Club-Mate and a wee Schnäpschen from one of the many Spätis (late night dairy) and you are away laughing. It makes for some über interesting chat when it's party time with other people from every corner of the globe. This is a stark contrast from New Zealand, where most people generally hang out in their own backyards, so I'm loving this extra-social element.
The organic supermarkets or Biomarkts are amazing. As a superfood writer, Berlin is paradise for me. Because there is such a demand for organic food and the government incentivises the industry, it keeps the cost down and there is a huge variety of interesting and health-enhancing superfoods that really get me amped—I'm going to write more about this at a later date so stay tuned.
The Sommerbads are so so good. These outdoor swimming pools have everything I want in a pool: a newspaper or magazine for sale on arrival, a variety of pools to swim in, trees to shelter under, slides and volleyball courts. Der Sommerbad Kreuzberg ist mein allerliebsten, closely followed by the Sommerbad Neukölln.
I do, however, feel myself becoming more German by the day. How dare they walk in what is clearly the designated bike lane, damn tourists. Mein Gott, will that person in the queue please pack their groceries just a little bit faster so that we can all get on with our lives? Why are you not on the right side but hogging the left side of the escalator, and worse still, just standing idle, when I clearly need to get past?!
Berlin is a world away from the small city of Dunedin where I live in New Zealand—I'm really in the big smoke here. As the wise yogi Sadhguru says, "If you want everyone to fall in love with you, the first thing is, you must fall in love with all of them." I have to remember to chill out, give love, rise above and be much more tolerant as I share this city with the millions of other people in this melting pot which calls Berlin home.
I'm super stoked to be sharing this journey with you through Super Foodie and my new gig here at Berlin Logs as well. Tschüssi!
By Emily Lucas
Photos © Emily Lucas
Emily loves chasing the summers and splitting her time between New Zealand and Berlin. She is currently studying to become a Health and Nutrition Coach and loves to write her blog - Super Foodie.