Flat Hunting: Moving, Keep on Moving...

Finding a decent flat in Berlin is about as much fun as being poked in the eye with a Currywurst - repeatedly. Most people I know have moved at least three or four times, myself included. And, unfortunately, in a couple of months, I'll have to move again as the lease on my current flat is up. However, at the moment, I'm in denial about this, so let's go back to the beginning.

When I first got here in September, I moved into temporary accommodation I'd found on roomorama.com. It was a huge flat in Wedding, owned by an old man who was supposed to be in hospital at the time. I'd have the whole place to myself! My dancing around naked was nipped (pardon the pun) in the bud though when he started showing up every day, colostomy bag in tow, to make sure that “alles ist gut?”

Soon, he was trailing me around the kitchen, making sure I was boiling my eggs in a way he approved of, and NOT drying my hands on the towel that was intended for drying the dishes. I'll admit that I'm no goddess in the kitchen, but when he asked me if my last flat had even had a kitchen, I was a little insulted. Cleaning his fridge, while he shouted “Ja, ja, das ist wunderbar!” at my arse was bad enough, but when he offered to help me dry my hair, I knew it was time to go.

I quickly realised that finding my own flat in such a short space of time was an impossible dream, so I resigned myself to the WG set-up, and moved in with a Swedish guy in Wilmersdorf. Despite seeming normal at our first meeting, it was soon apparent that he was stark, raving mad. Aside from being absolutely filthy, pacing, sweating, shouting and comparing himself to Mother Teresa were among his saner attributes. Feeling close to a complete mental breakdown myself after a few weeks, it was time to move on again.

Thanks to the help of a good friend, I managed to find a room in an apartment in Friedrichshain, sharing with two German girls. I really couldn't have been luckier – the girls are absolutely fantastic and I felt at home within around ten minutes of moving in. Of course, we've had our little run-ins, mainly because you can put the Irish girl in Germany, but you can't make her German. How was I to know that milk cartons didn't go into the cardboard bin? Or that it was my turn to clean, even though, to me, you could have eaten off the floor the place was so spotless? That was when I learned that, in Germany, we clean the clean...

But, all in all, this flat is working out really well. The location is great, and I get to practise my horrible German on the girls, while they get to... well, I'm not really sure what they get out of it, but they're too nice to say anything. I'll be really sad when we have to part ways, but in a couple of months, this is inevitable. While the dream of having my own place eventually is still alive, I'm not sure I'll manage it this time round either.

One thing I am sure of is that, like most things in Berlin, it will be an adventure.

By Linda O'Grady
Linda works as an English teacher, writer and editor, and has been living in Berlin since September 2014. She also shares some of her more irreverent thoughts on life as an Irishwoman living in Germany in her blog - Expat Eye on Germany.

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