“What in the name of ‘Hoff is a Berlinniversary?”, I hear you ask.
It’s a milestone I am truly happy to have been able to reach.
Berlin leaves many traps for unwary newcomers, many of whom leave brokenhearted.
Those, who caught up in the city’s myriad distractions, ‘forget’ to work and go home broke, those who would love to work but cannot get the visa, those who underestimate its winter or the transience of its flighty inhabitants.
So last weekend, two years after I arrived, one of my best and earliest Berlin friends and I triumphantly celebrated our second Berlinniversaries.
The hi-jinks which ensued shall not be discussed here, but the elation and gratitude remains.
After being here for two years, ich fühle mich wohl.
At ease, happy, comfortable – whichever way you want to translate it – it feels good to be here.
To be able to go to brunch on a sunny Sunday afternoon and happen to bump into close friends at the next table.
To finally be able to speak in German in most situations without feeling like a complete dunce.
On that note, last week I had a bit of banter with the matronly city office clerk transferring my visa to my new passport, who joked I should change my last name to Müller to make it easier for Germans to pronounce.
I do think she was joking.
And finally, to explore more of Europe and be able return to my room and flatmates, feeling both excited to be back and immediately relaxed.
Sure, there are still the ongoing hassles like renewing visas and German noun genders (why?!?) to deal with, but given the privilege of even having a New Zealand passport to begin with, I cannot in all seriousness complain.
On that note, and with summer having made its long-awaited return outside, I’ll leave some 2015 Berlin snapshots to speak for themselves.