Berliners Support People From Ukraine – And How You Can Help

Berliners Support People From Ukraine – And How You Can Help

Berlin protests against Ukraine War, by Lewin Bormann, CC BY-SA. 

While probably many of us are still struggling with the effects of the ongoing pandemic, the world has been thrown another shocker of a curveball just a week ago: A violent war that is closer in front of our own doorstep than many of us ever expected to witness. The people from Ukraine had to deal with the aggression of the unpleasant neighboring autocrat for such a long time now that we in the West of Europe have already pushed this ongoing conflict into our subconscious. But now it can hardly be ignored and is a brutal wake-up call for the rest of Europe about how fickle the world we believe to live in actually is.

The response from the people of the other European countries has been overwhelmingly positive towards the people of Ukraine. It is touching to see how people have not only massively expressed solidarity and sympathy in countless freedom and peace marches across the continent (also from within Russia), but also how many organized help and support in terms of transport, supply, and accommodation for refugees from Ukraine. It might be a biased impression, but I can only hope the determination and efficiency of the PEOPLE, will also inspire more CORPORATIONS and GOVERNMENTS to follow suit.

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A Guide to German Integration: How to Fully Immerse into Life in Berlin

A Guide to German Integration: How to Fully Immerse into Life in Berlin

illustrations: Berk Karaoglu. 

Berlin is often thought of as a capital of individualists, and its inclusivity is something we’re grateful for every day. But as many of us Ausländers know, the idea of having to integrate into life in Germany is still very much preached by some institutions, and its principles are accordingly taught in special courses. Obviously, the western mindset of molding unique people into perfect(ly boring) citizens is inherently flawed and we can do better. But why not have a little laugh as we’re striving for social change? We’ve put our own spin on the integration process, and present you with our iHeartBerlin Guide to German Integration that will finally let you fully immerse yourself into life in Berlin!

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The Most Bizarre Food You Can Find in German Supermarkets

The Most Bizarre Food You Can Find in German Supermarkets

illustrations: Berk Karaoglu.

We all know Germans have their quirks – previously, we’ve written about their obsession with bureaucracy, their linguistic fondness for the Wurst, and their unique sense of humor, among many other riveting subjects. This time, we’re entering the strange realm of German food inventions: things you can easily find at a German supermarket, but would really rather not. A warning: this article doesn’t really fall into the NSFW category, but you should probably avoid it around lunchtime. 

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5 Things in Berlin The Pandemic Didn’t Affect

5 Things in Berlin The Pandemic Didn’t Affect

illustrations: Berk Karaoglu. 

Over a year into the pandemic, it seems like we can find its traces in almost every single aspect of our lives. Whether it’s work, leisure, or socializing – chances are you’ve had to make multiple adjustments, and wearing a mask was just the beginning. But here in Berlin, there are at least five things that have remained unchanged throughout the raging pandemic. 

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A Different Kind of Selfcare Guide

A Different Kind of Selfcare Guide

If we’ve learned anything in the past 1,5 years is that we really really need to be more aware of our own mental health and wellbeing than ever before. Self-care was of course already a thing before the pandemic, but it certainly reached a wider audience during it due to the mental stress and isolation many of us went through.

But of course, self-care is a very subjective practice and everyone has a different understanding of it. From sharing inspirational quotes on Instagram, visiting yoga classes, or taking the time to cook a healthy dinner for one – self-care has so many faces. My personal version of self-care is taking a long bath with tinted green lights while fantasizing about hikes in the tropical jungle, and sometimes I take myself out to brunch alone. On the other hand, we have this writer who joins orgies as a form of self-care. Well, everyone to their own, right?

Our partner in crime Sophia Halamoda, with who we published the fabulous Like A Berliner book, has come out with an adorable comic about her own self-care routine, and let’s say, it is really of a different kind… But look for yourself!

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Seeing Berlin with Fresh Eyes

Seeing Berlin with Fresh Eyes

On my first visit to Berlin, a man spat at my feet. His eyes were the eyes of a soldier at war. Precise, alert, and distrusting. And he had just spotted a body he considered the enemy. That body was queer, stout, and black. We were sitting across from each other on a train headed towards the direction of Alexanderplatz. A few moments before, I had just described Berlin to my mother as the embrace of a dearly loved one. Warm, soft, and safe. As I was peeling my phone from my ears, the spitter looked me in the face, coughed out the whiteish foam which he splashed across my feet. The act of spitting at my feet wasn’t a cleansing and or a fortification ritual done to welcome my feet to new and uncharted terrain. That was disgust, anger, and a kind of aggression that sent shivers down my spine. He was sending a clear message. One that was unmistakably meat to say; you are not welcome here. His message had three clear intentions; to warn me, put me in my place, and remind me I did not belong. He needed me to know that. It resonated. I didn’t even say a word. I took the message, got off the train one stop before my intended exit location. There, I waited for the next train in a stooping position. With a sigh and a paper napkin, I wiped my feet clean again.

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We Sing For You: A Short Film Celebrating the Emotional Power of the Human Voice

We Sing For You: A Short Film Celebrating the Emotional Power of the Human Voice

On the occasion of the 200 year anniversary of the choir of Staatsoper Berlin, we from iHeartBerlin got a really special assignment. We asked five Berliners if they would come to the big stage of the Opera for a musical experiment. We didn’t tell them what would happen…

Can you remember the last time somebody sang for you like maybe your parents did when you were little? I don’t mean a big concert where Beyoncé or Lady Gaga performs, even though after two years of a pandemic, this would be fun. I mean the personal experience of having somebody stand close to you and sing a song – a song that enters your body and mind through your ears, your skin. Something you can’t see, but only feel with every ounce of your body? 

After another winter and spring where most cultural activities were closed to the public, together with Staatsoper Berlin we thought about how we could celebrate the art of singing in a choir and the power of the human voice in one unique film.

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The Virtues of Moving to Berlin During the Pandemic

The Virtues of Moving to Berlin During the Pandemic

photo: Roger Sabaté. 

Berlin has been unrecognizable to its long-term inhabitants ever since March 2020. Lockdown after lockdown has gradually changed our carefree reality into an enduring nightmare. What’s the allure of the free-spirited capital when its clubs, bars, and cultural institutions are closed off for an indefinite time? And yet, even in those dire circumstances, some brave souls still sought to make Berlin their new home. How is moving to Berlin in the pandemic different than what most of us ex-pats have experienced?

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How It Feels to Live in a City Where the Extraordinary Are the Majority

How It Feels to Live in a City Where the Extraordinary Are the Majority

photos: Andrea Hansen. 

Hidden amongst other notes hanging from a lamppost, not far from my apartment in Friedrichshain, something caught my eye.

Berlin – the city whose residents communicate via notes:

Apartment-hunters, declarations of love, Weltschmerz, lost teddy bears, the announcement of a party, sometimes also the announcement of a natural home birth and accompanied by a request not to call the police due to the resulting noise. There is nothing that cannot be said in Berlin using this form of communication.

The note that caught my eye was asking for help on an indie movie set.

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DIRE-LOGUES: Discussing the Problem of Racism in Berlin

DIRE-LOGUES: Discussing the Problem of Racism in Berlin

“I love the Südländer men” was one of the most common messages I would receive when I was still on dating apps, oftentimes as the cherry on top to complete the recipe. Apparently, it was deemed to be a compliment for some but to me, it was downright offensive. It only showed how the lack of race talk in Germany failed to educate people that racial fetishization was not a suave thing and it was blatant objectification. I was never part of the macho and aggressive Südländer stereotype they had in their fantasies and I was never willing to be, to the much disappointment of my suitors.

Conversations about race can be very difficult in Germany, even in our city that people regard as one of the most open-minded and equal places in the world. Self-defensive reactions to race talks and complete rejection of the conversation led our society to define racism differently from other parts of the world, creating multiple misconceptions about it. Some of these experiences of racism in Berlin are narrated by a series of short video portraits called DIRE-Logues by BlackBrownBerlin co-founder Chanel Knight. Established in 2018, BlackBrownBerlin aims to empower POC communities in Berlin and beyond, and speak up about discrimination and misrepresentation.  You can read our previous interview with them here to learn about their story, mission, and activities. 

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