It’s a question I get asked quite alot, I suppose because many people have interesting stories about it being their dream location, or their partner moved here, or they studied German/politics/architecture/art/the psychology of post-war schnitzel consumption or something and so Berlin has for them a special significance.
I quite envy those people: their decision to come here seems often to have been based on positivity, optimism and a sense of adventure which I feel is sorely lacking in my decision making process.
I came here because I was totally fucked up on a number of levels and I didn’t have any better ideas. How do you even say that in German?!
I got divorced, had a job I hated, fell in love with/at somebody and got my ass kicked (emotionally) for it so came here to lick my wounds in peace.
Google-translate gives me this:
Ich geschieden, hatte eine Arbeit, die ich gehasst, verliebte sich in / an jemanden und bekam meinen Arsch getreten (emotional) für so kam hier, um meine Wunden lecken in Frieden.
Even using the same programme to translate it back I get:
“I am divorced, had a job I hated, fell in love with / to someone and got my ass underfoot (emotionally) for, then came here to lick my wounds in peace.”
I don’t know about you, but I suspect the grammar may, at the very least, be questionable, and anyway: nobody wants to hear about me getting my ass “underfoot”.
It’s just too depressing.
So what do I say?
I usually say I came here for work because I have a friend in the city and leave it at that.
The fact of the matter is, running away 800 miles or so will never be far enough away to create an instant solution, because my thoughts insist on coming with me, try as I might to encourage them to take a break through liberal application of alkeehawl and social events with new people.
I remain todunglücklich, beschädigt und Herz-gebrochen although I’m a whole shitload happier here than I was in Edinburgh, but I still don’t know how to move on for the best and make this a life which isn’t always going to be about something a bit sad.
I have moved a great many times in my life, and I’ve always previously cut myself off from my past entirely, usually over a pretty quick period. It’s innate I think, because I’ve been doing it since I was a kid.
This time, I feel like I’ve taken bits and pieces of feelings and relationships that don’t belong to me here by mistake in my luggage, and that I left very important parts of me behind, in the care of people who don’t even know they’re there, like unopened letters hidden in a piece of furniture destined for the dump.
I’d like to create a life which keeps the best bits and the best people of the life I left behind, but which builds on it and so my life and me are all the better for it.
I want more, not less but I’m not sure it can be done, and I don’t know where to start.