Orienting Myself to Berlin

Orienting Myself

It’s been a while since I’ve had my life shaken up properly. So often we become contented in our routines to the point of mindlessness. We forget the beauty that life contains and build up our immunity to the world like glass cages around ourselves. We become complacent with planners and daily rituals that shield us from the good things that they contain.

This is one of the beautiful things about culture shock, about unfolding your life in a place that is new to you and trying to figuring out how to stand there: it’s really challenging, at first. As I’ve begun to come to know and orientate myself to Berlin, even in little ways, even in the big and small lessons that this first week has taught me, I have both struggled and adjusted.

This week has seen me tripping on my excessive luggage, frozen to the inmost parts of my soul (pro tip: Berlin is cold), lost a little, acting like a tourist, avoiding acting like a tourist, coming to know a city with a complexly beautiful history of tragedy, fear, and progress, and working to develop new relationships in a place far from what I’ve known before.

Despite the differences, it is not too far from home. This is hardly a revolutionary statement, but people are people despite geographical, cultural, political, and all other so-called differences. Even in the midst of this past orientation week, a week of making mistakes and learning so much, a week of intense awareness of this perceived difference, some basic facets of life remain.

These moments of culture shock encompass the endless pursuit of life, I think: to struggle and adjust to each moment as you learn the ways to live in them more fully.


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