List: Things That Become Normal In Berlin


When you move to a new city, you quickly begin to notice all of the little ways that life is now different. But as time passes, this new way of living becomes your norm, and you eventually stop noticing that you ever lived another way.  That is, until you move once more, start all over, and again set out rediscovering all of the little quirks that make a place unique.  One day, just to remind myself of how different life had become, I got together with a group of German and expat friends and jotted down a list of the little things that start to become normal after living in Berlin a little while.

 

Things That Start To Seem Normal in Berlin:

Nudity

Galleries in post-apocalyptic settings

Beautiful art

Terrible art

Public drinking – other’s and your own

Public drinking at 7 am – other’s and your own

Anarchists

Anarchist pirate symbol outside of the German Bundestag

Anarchist pirate symbol outside of the German Bundestag

Protests

Riot police

Squat houses

Berlin squat. Welcome home!

Berlin squat. Welcome home!

Flea markets

Public karaoke

Nazis and anti-nazis

A teeny, tiny bit of local “attitude”

Subtlety.

Subtlety.

Apparently, someone just really needed to get that off their chest.

Apparently, someone just really needed to get that off their chest.

Is it a store? Hmmm....

Is it a store? Hmmm….

Beautiful public monuments to horrendous past events

Berlin Holocaust Memorial

Berlin Holocaust Memorial

The permanent, tragic suspicion that you do not want to know what happened before where you live, work, eat, walk, etc…

Communist architecture

East Berlin

East Berlin

Modern architecture

Sony Center Berlin

Sony Center Berlin

People feeling arty

Can entertain/creep-you-out while you enjoy your coffee?

Can we entertain/creep-you-out while you enjoy your coffee?

Babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, and adults on bikes….in all seasons

ALWAYS walking in the designated zone

NEVER crossing on red

Using public transportation because walking two city blocks takes twenty minutes

Sidewalks larger than roads

Developing strong feelings for your bike

Endless public holidays

Endless public festivals

Hearing every year that the city is not as cool as it was 5 years ago

Graffiti

Graffiti Berlin.

Graffiti Berlin.

Berlin graffiti.

Berlin graffiti.

Café culture

Live opera and coffee? Absolutely.

Live opera and coffee? Absolutely.

People who can’t tell you what they do but somehow stay for years

Massive apartments…..with only mattresses on the floor

Recycling

Nostalgia

Navigating via the omnipresent radio tower

On the one hand, you always feel watched. On the other, it is very easy to navigate.

On the one hand, you always feel watched. On the other, it is very easy to navigate.

Local sense of style

It's a look.

It’s a look.

3AM sunrises

3pm sunsets

Must be close to 3pm.

Must be close to 3pm.

Walking on ice

Sitting outside at restaurants until it is officially freezing

The Neverending Story – Part 1.   Aka: Winter

Winter in Berlin. Only nine more months to go.

Winter in Berlin. Only nine more months to go.

The Neverending Story – Part 2. Aka: Trying to find real employment

Prostitutes

20 types of pretzels….at subway stops

Permanent fear of underperformance in front of your grocery checkout clerk

Notably increased chocolate and candy consumption

Chocolate bear at KaDeWe

Chocolate bear at KaDeWe

Brunch as an institution

Doner kebab

Sekt

Schnapps

Beer cheaper than water

Asparagus Season

Strawberry huts

Cake as an institution

German interpretation of Asian food

German interpretation of Mexican food

Picking a place to eat in winter by how steamed up the windows are, because it is probably the warmest

German bathrooms (hint: the toilet can have a viewing platform)

Bathrooms with labia shaped sinks.

Bathroom with labia shaped sink.

 

That look of scorn for trying to use a credit card

People with free time, during the middle of the workday

35 year old students

Terrible customer service

A gig based economy

And the most Berlin activity of all, people spending quality time doing nothing in public spaces

They will still be there in 20 years.

They will still be right there in 20 years.

 

What else would you add to the list?

 

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