For many, Berlin equals that nice kid on the playground you could always turn to without getting picked on. A big toy box where, magically, all squares, balls and triangles fit into the same hole. A safe space to announce becoming a lawyer on Monday and a modern artist on Thursday – basically a place where individualism bites conformity in the butt.
During my first internship I met heaps of creative people who just moved to Berlin and I couldn’t help but wonder: What is the fascination this place seems to hold? And most of all, can those who joined us here imagine to stay or just call this a phase and leave us behind? We know that Berlin is a stimulating place for people of every industry. Some people come uninspired only to find something they become passionate about, some come with a plan and see where it takes them, some got pulled in by a job offer only to apply for something else a few months later and some moved here for love, only to stay for something completely different.
What is it about this big myth Berlin, that cheap slut, turning into anything for everyone, trying to please the dreamers as well as those, who decide to take her seriously and stay? In order to learn more about what Berlin feels like to people who just decided to enter her playgrounds, I interviewed those I met about what life in Berlin makes them feel, when looking into the future.
Megan and me met when we lived in Brighton, studying Performance and Visual Art together. Shortly after her graduation, staying in England didn’t feel right so she packed up her things and moved to Berlin. Facing the language barrier, with no job and no one she knew, Megan truly worked her way through the adventure of starting over and successfully built a new life for herself. „I feel like many people come to Berlin, party a lot, and don’t manage to do what they came to do and leave again.“ Despite her love for Berlin she feels excited to move somewhere new, where the wages meet the rent and the sea is in sight.
I met Janar for the first time while interning at Cee Cee Berlin in winter 2015. Fast paced changes are one of the things he adores about the city. On that note he moved here from Estonia for his internship in graphic design to land a job at Amorelie a year later, working his magic as a package designer for sextoys. Talking about fast paced! The laid back atmosphere and Berlins eccentric people was what moved him to stay. „Personally I don’t see myself living here forever. At one point I want stability, but for now I enjoy the hectic life that Berlin offers with all its ups and downs.”
After college Julian-Sebastian left beautiful San Francisco behind to explore Berlin, trace his german roots and fell deeply in love. „I think that Berlin is a special city because it can be absolutely whatever you want. It can be a place to get lost, explore and play around for a few years, or it can be a place that a person can really invest in and plant roots.“ After years of indulging in what the city has to offer, he is confident about his future here. „It’s a place where I can really set a foundation and hopefully one day raise a family. And a lot of things make that possible: The diversity of cultures, experiences it offers, healthcare and Germany’s educational system, to name a few.“
Aurel joined the Berlinclub in 2013, when he moved away from Wien where he finished his degree. His lust for experiencing Berlin and promising job opportunities got him here and got him to evolve. Today he is working as a successful TV presenter and is stating clearly, that he feels more at home here than where he grew up and is definitely planning to stay. „I want my children to grow up in a town, where every one is treated the same way and where cars are not a showy status symbol.”
Obviously, as diverse as the people are that Berlin attracts, as diverse are their reasons to move here, to linger or even to stay. After all those conversations I had about this topic, I feel that Berlin lures everyone in for different reasons but always with the same promise of growth, fun and individual freedom. Those who can imagine to stay love the idea of an open minded environment, that offers you a place to grow, to live it up, to push your career and to get cozy. And of course, those who make Berlin a short but sweet part of their story, appreciate it for the same reasons but are not willing to settle yet. After all, the city bustle, the increasing rents, the long commutes and the cold climate isn’t for the faint of heart. In the end, Berlin seems as inviting to dreamers as it is to settlers but ultimately it is the heart, that decides.