“What’s Berlin like?” I got asked abroad a lot and I didn’t know what to reply. “Amazing?!”… “And why?” I could never quite come up with the right answer. What I love about Berlin always felt quite unrepresentative of what I felt like the city truly is and has to offer.
You could dance half-naked on a sweaty, dark dance floor or sit in a concert hall listening to an orchestra at the same day at the same time. You could get yelled at on the streets for no reason but not obeying some random law, and minutes later strangers selflessly push the U-bahn doors open for you, putting that smile back on your face. You order a greasy, gross Döner while the finest dining could be just one door to the left. You might look at nothing but concrete blocks but if you turn around you spot a palace. You can be posh, you can be poor. You can be high or low. What is IT then when we say we love this city?
It’s never that one visual. It’s never that one attitude. It’s never that ONE lifestyle. What’s so BERLIN then? Berlin has so many facettes, so many faces, so many life plans. Whenever you try to pinpoint the city down to one single thing, someone else will most definitely react offended, stating: “No, you’re wrong! To me Berlin is something completely different!” What do we agree on then? What is it that makes us all stay here, and come together only in that one phrase: “I love Berlin!”?
Maybe, it’s because we agree to disagree. It’s all of us loving that contradiction. The fact that in Berlin there are 1.000 possible niches for every life plan there is. And everyone has a right to live and afford this life here. A shared inclusive feeling that it all doesn’t make sense because, why does everything always have to make sense anyways? It’s like the people of Berlin live by that very question. We’re all doing what we’re doing. Living lives as inconsistent as the cityscape itself. And, we’re embracing that Berlin contradiction.