“Where?” – It is often the reaction when I say where I live. And when I repeat “Botanischer Garten”, close to Dahlem, Rathaus Steglitz and Zehlendorf people are normally amazed and wonder why I chose to live in an area far away from the center, away from the parties and predominantly residential. Sure, it is not multicultural Kreuzberg or dynamic Friedrichshain, but it is a safe zone where colorful flowers blossom in the sidewalks and old ladies greet you with a smile. And if you think this is a lame reason then you should try the Johannisbeere flavor at Lauter Eis, the ice cream shop in Hortensienstraße. It gets me every time.
I am not going to lie and say this is the neighborhood I dreamt of living when I first moved back in October. In fact, I had a completely different idea of where I was going to live – I envisioned myself sharing a flat in Prenzlauer Berg with one or two roommates, in a relatively close area to my university. However, as I quickly learned, finding a house in Berlin is a nightmare. And it gets worse when you delay the problem because you are too busy counting flies on the wall. Often a temporary solution is to crash on friends’ sofas or stay at shady hostels, and until you find your castle you have to kiss some very unpleasant frogs.