What Berlin Has Given Me

photos: blnlove

Looking back in time it feels like ages since I moved to Berlin. Yet, it has barely been over a year. I keep trying to get my head around it, but I simply cannot explain it;  especially since I have lived in other big cities, such as Barcelona and Athens, for a much longer period of time; maybe it is the fact that the life I have lived in Berlin has been so fulfilling; maybe it is the fact that I have experienced here so many things for the first time . In an attempt to express with gratitude what this city has so generously given me, here is what comes to my mind first:

Berlin has offered me the overwhelming experience and the benefits of living in a metropolis: the wildness, the diversity, the highs and the lows, the plethora of cultural stimuli, the entire melting pot, that does not seem to ever want to stop boiling.

Additionally, I have had the chance to get to know and bond with people I would not have the chance to do so, should I have stayed idly in my comfort zone called Athens, where I grew up. This broadened my horizons, enriched my life and soul with beautiful moments and memories and rendered me a more understanding human being.

Berlin is a city that gives and I am confident that it will stay like this for decades to come. Taking the way it responded to the refugee crisis through a number of inspiring initiatives as only one of the numerous examples, Berlin taught me that what truly matters in this life is to invest one’s time and energy in causes that will somehow have a positive impact on other people.

The principle of enjoying life. It is not until recently that I realized that unlike other huge capitals, like London or New York, Berlin does not perpetuate a life style that revolves around the working place. In others words, people do not seem to define themselves through their work, but recognize work and at the same time realize and appreciate the significance of free time.

Without the intention to make any generalization, it seems to me that the vast majority of the people I have been surrounded with both at work as well as in my personal life seem to fathom the importance of giving equal attention to both of these factors.

Berlin has, also, taught me the values of acceptance and respect. I am not big a fan of the term tolerance in such cases, since it has a subtle connotation of putting up with something instead of truly embracing it. I used to be a big fan of labelling things and putting people and situations into little boxes. Jumping to conclusions regarding the personality or character of somebody based solely on the way they look or move or behave or utter a few words used to be a habit of mine I am not proud of.

Berlin, however, has shown me over time that people are way more alike than we like to think they are. Therefore, there are so many more similarities that bring us together than differences that bring us apart. What is more, these differences are to be celebrated and not to be frowned upon.

I am thrilled to have witnessed so much in such a short amount of time and I am very excited to see what Berlin will teach me next. One thing is sure: it will be eye-opening.

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Thanks to Claudi from blnlove on Instagram for letting us use her lovely photos of Berlin for this story. Make sure to follow her!

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<a href="https://www.iheartberlin.de/author/nikos/" target="_self">Nikos</a>