Jahrestag. Year day. Or, as we might say in English, anniversary.
One year to the day another expat fell into the arms and irresistible charms of this ‘poor, but sexy’ bohemian capital.
To say that today was one year ago to the date, to the day a kindly, middle-aged banker dropped her hitch-hiking charge in the scruffy Berlin suburb of Wedding, would be too neat.
In fact, my Berlin Jahrestag was a week or two earlier.
Little did I expect, as I disembarked on the unkempt margin of Müllerstraße, that I would be treading the very same street one year later on the way back from the frustrations of yet another morning of German bureaucracy at the Ausländerbehörde.
In fact, to celebrate seems a little premature now my initial no-strings relationship with the city has blossomed into something worth fighting for and something now required to be fought for.
On paper, the visa fight seems an even match, with eventual victory going to the party with the most perseverance (and translated, double-copied documents). Then again, the foreigners’ office has a natural affinity with paper that is to be underestimated at one’s peril.
Once this thing is over, I shall have to plant a small forest to offset the paper trail left behind. Anyone looking for an ecobusiness idea should set up outside the office and offer expats with a guilty consciences the service of ‘planting a tree for a fee’.
Looking at the positives: I’m in no danger of being booted out of the country just yet, I know I should not really complain as so many nationalities have innumerably more visa hoops to jump through and the new passport sticker will be all the sweeter for the struggle.
My Berlin Jahrestag has come and gone, but the real celebration still has to be earned.