It’s crazy to think that I have been living in Berlin for three months already. It feels like it was just last week when I said, “Wow, the first month has flown by.” And here I am, already a quarter of the way through my work visa. When discussing with friends about living abroad, the ones that have done it, say that it is usually about the three month mark where you start to feel homesick. Luckily, I have not started to have that feeling. Yes for sure, I have missed certain aspects of Canada, but overall, I feel quite at home here.
In my third month abroad, I have faced some difficulties.. and yet they are not really difficulties at all. Let’s call them minor challenges I need to overcome. The first minor challenge I need to overcome is the language. Whereas most people would say this is a major difficulty, in Berlin it is not that bad. Everyone (or nearly everyone) can speak English. And if not, a combination of basic German and hand motions will get you far. And in my opinion, it is better if someone doesn’t know English because then it forces me to speak and learn German faster. I try to practice German every day and unfortunately, it usually results in me saying something small in German (and I am super proud I can say it) and the other person will answer me in English. Sometimes, I will still reply back in German (I refuse to give in) or I will ask them “Did I not say it correctly?” They usually respond with something along the lines “No, you said it completely fine, but I can tell by your accent you are English.”
My second minor challenge (also related to the language) is reading and comprehension. It may have happened once or twice, where I got on the wrong train. This is due to the fact, I could not read the notice saying the trains had switched/been cancelled. However, the plus side of that was, I really learnt quickly how to read notices and announcements.
And lastly, my third minor challenge has been getting used to a different economic/bureaucratic structure. I am still living in a first world country and there are a ton of similarities, but then there are some instances that just baffle me. Things like I have to pay for television, even though I don’t own a TV. It is just mandatory. Or for when I moved, I had to physically go to the bank, the registration office, and the cellular store, to change my address. Or, everything I sign up for ‘will be mailed’ to me. It seems like nothing can be done online. I have received more mail here in three months than I did in a year in Canada.
Overall, there has not been any major difficulties and for that I am quite spoiled. But I think that has helped me adjust to living in a foreign country. I am looking forward to overcoming these challenges and cannot wait to see what else is in store.