illustrations: Berk Karaoglu
Prior to moving to Berlin I never thought about how important language was when attempting to get to know someone better, particularly while dating. I always dated guys whose native language was English, American English at that. As if dating wasn’t confusing enough, try dating someone who doesn’t dream in the same damn language as you. It wasn’t until I started dating guys from around the world did I begin to understand how uncomfortable it felt not to be able to fully express myself. But, was this necessarily a bad thing?
Sure, when you speak the same language, you understand one another on a molecular level. You share the same phrases to describe mundane situations. You can even talk about your feelings (yuck!) until the cows come home…UM, WHAT? That was all fine and good, but I still wasn’t convinced that the benefits of speaking the same mother tongue outweighed the surmounting disadvantages.
To You, brave adventurer who is in Berlin for the first time and who has left his comfort zone for a fresh new start and brand new experiences.
Let’s assume you have managed to pass the test of finding a permanent home, one of the worst nightmares of all the new Berliners, have one or two acquaintances in the city (even if it is the son of your grandfather Julius’s cousin that you have never heard of before but know he has three Siamese cats) and have already planned on how to get a job or to go further in your education. You have everything outlined and you are all excited – “This will the BEST time of my life”, you think, “Berghain, I will destroy you with my dance moves” – however, when you arrive (with a big smile on your face and high expectations), you see that things are not quite what you have imagine they would be. The son of your grandfather Julius’s cousin is not that interested in showing you around, maybe because he is too busy or simply because he is a jerk, getting a job is harder than you have imagined and you feel lonely at times.
Love, by Gaspard Noe
A recently-published study revealed Millennials as the least-straight generation in the history of LGBTI*+ research. They’re nearly twice as likely to identify as non-straight than other adults. And as more boys, girls and folks that are neither (or both) come out of the closet, one would hope that a certain normality would have settled in around those sexual orientations beyond straight. I know it would make my (dating-)life a lot easier.
I’ve never been shy about my orientation, which is best defined as: if you’re hot and smart and enthusiastic about me putting my hand down your pants, I’m really going to be cool with whatever I find there. But I’ll classify as bisexual for easiness sake most of the time.
It feels like there is a grand old billboard somewhere in Berlin that says “Bisexuality: the sexuality everyone is entitled to have an opinion on!” Which is weird, because last time I checked, the only people that get to have an opinion on my sexuality are people that are afflicted by it. And by “afflicted” I mean “get to have sex with me”.
Music, is a magical ordeal. An escape from ordinary into a vast sea of feeling, vibes and sensations. To professionals, music is not only a job, but also a way to express themselves through creativity and poetry. But what for the average “9 to 5″ Mensch?
Recently I have stumbled along something deep that doesn’t normally meet the eye. Open Mic, Jam sessions where professionals and amateurs alike can express their feeling of passion. This is something truly amazing, that Berlin has to offer.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, locals and travelling musicians flock to bars that post Open Mic on their webpages. Lines and lists of these creative souls pour out their emotions, talent and comedic gestures as they blast out tunes from their piano or acoustic guitars.
photo: Axel Kuhlmann / CC
Berlin is the capital city of flea markets and visiting these iconic institutions is a great way of spending a couple of hours of your weekend (singles watch out: there is a strong possibility of starting a flirt with a handsome stranger at the innumerous stalls) but as I walk along the Spree towards my first destination, the Arena Indoor Flea Market, feelings of smallness start to unsettle. In fact, I could not have chosen a worse day to venture out into flea markets – it is freezing cold, bloody foggy and there is mud everywhere due to the melting snow and I cannot stop thinking to myself that only a strike of luck will prevent me from slipping and falling into the river. It would not be the first time…
During the Second World War, not only the Berlin Zoo but also other zoos across Germany such as the Zoologischen Garten in Düsseldorf and the Dresden Zoo were severely bombed and consequently destroyed. Despite years of existence and many promises of evacuation this did not happen and the animals were not spared. Many died due to injuries and mistreatment or due to hunger, poisoning or thirst and some of the few survivors that were left were put to use in an effort to rebuild what was destroyed, such as the elephants at the Hamburg Zoo. Nonetheless, some of the large and potentially dangerous animals such as panthers, jaguars and gorillas who managed to escape the unfolding inferno had to be chased down the streets and shot dead. It was hellish. In the Berlin Zoo only 91 of almost 4000 animals remained alive by the War’s end, including two lions, two hyenas, an Asian bull elephant, a hippo bull, ten hamadryad’s baboons, a chimpanzee, and a black stork. Here are two examples…
Admit it, you’re a people watcher. Whether it’s ogling eccentric passersby, eavesdropping on the U-bahn, or pretending not to stare through the uncurtained windows of the flats opposite, we’ve all been there. And club nights are no exception.
I’m sure you can relate when I confess that, no matter how otherworldly the musical offerings in this city, sometimes there are much more entertaining things to watch on the dance floor than the hypnotically rhythmical nods of the DJ and the feigned enthusiasm of his Klingon Krew – and boys, I’m not talking about girls’ skirts.
photo: Eylül Aslan
Dating in Berlin isn’t always easy, but certainly can be a dilemma, as you might have already read here on iheartberlin.de. The cautious approach to each another and one person feeling or interpreting more into the encounter than the other is part of those first acquaintances globally, though. Matthew David Morris wrote a short story about those different expectations when getting to know someone.
Dreams are made of magic, timeless, faraway places, faceless people, and sometimes clouds, beer, and music. Having lived in Berlin for a few months, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to briefly run my fingers over its cloudy grey skin, and dive into the depths of its rainbow colored soul.
About a year ago I moved to Berlin to finish my final semester in university, and it took me on a most overwhelming journey. It felt like being reunited with an old lover after so many years. Only, we hadn’t really met before. And though I was a stranger to this place, it felt strangely familiar from the moment I arrived. It had an air of nostalgia and mystery to it, like most surreal things do. And I wondered if I’d ever get to understand it, and see what lies beneath its many faces.
Filmstill: Welt am Draht
The startling cold of February in Berlin has returned, and with it comes the 67th edition of the Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin, also known as the Berlinale or Berlin Film Festival. The festival begins February 9th and runs through the 19th. As with every year’s edition, there are an overwhelming number of screenings to choose from, even though most bigger-name titles tend to sell out of public tickets at alarming rates. Nevertheless, there are plenty of lesser-known titles worth your time. Guest Author Maximilien Proctor highlights a few of his most anticipated pictures (but don’t let it discourage you from seeking screenings even further off the beaten path!).