Berlin, Europe, Expat Living, Germany

I’m Moving to Berlin – Again!

November 22, 2014
Cheryl Howard Berlin

The story is familiar.

I recently quit my job. I just bought another one-way ticket to Berlin. I’ve sold or given away everything I own. Last night, I said goodbye to my friends at my going away party.

It’s the exact same sequence of events I went through two years ago when I moved to Berlin the first time.

Berlin Calling - Cheryl Howard Travel Blogger

This time, two years later, it couldn’t be any more different.

The last time I moved to Berlin, I’d never once visited the city. I didn’t have a job, didn’t know German and didn’t even know anyone there.

This time?

I lived there for 18 months already. I’ve experienced life in Berlin and know what to expect.

After doling out advice to others about how to find a job in Berlin, I now have a new job! My visa is valid for up to 4 years. After 21 months, I can even apply for permanent residency if I manage to bring my German up to a B1 level.

I also know a little German after having studied it for 6 months last year at the Goethe Institute in Toronto. I can finally use what I’ve learned and continue my studies in the new year.

I know people there and have many good friends. I don’t need to spend as much time as I did last time learning how to make friends in Berlin.

And it was actually through friends that I found a place to live.

For the first few weeks, I’ll be renting a room on the same street I lived on when I moved to Berlin the first time.

I’ll then move to my own flat, just blocks from work and still in Prenzlauer Berg, my very favourite neighbourhood. There will be no more two hour commute to and from work.

A favourite feature of my new flat is that there’s a pullout couch for visiting friends. I already have someone booked for a visit in December!

Mixed Emotions

The past few months have been a roller coaster ride filled with highs and lows. I go back and forth from feeling excited and happy to being nervous to the point where I lose sleep.

I’ve wanted to move back to Berlin for soooo long that now that the moment’s here, I’m scared it will all fall apart and I’ll have to return to Canada.

And of course, there’s that sense of bittersweet sadness.

Cheryl Howard Toronto I’ll miss life in Toronto, my colleagues, friends and family. I’ll miss things in Canada like rectangular shaped pillows and solid deodorant. I’ll miss the local food scene. I’ve been spoiled living across from St Lawrence Market the past two years!

Most of all, I’m going to miss this little squishy face, my adorable Persian cat Izzy.

Izzy The Cat Star

She’ll be staying in Toronto while I get settled. My cat will become a globetrotter like me next year when I come back to get her. Seriously, she’s going to have her own passport.

However much I’ll miss home, there are so many positive things on the horizon that I can’t help but be happy about the future. The excitement is overwhelming and gives me the needed courage to take that next giant step forward!

What’s Next?

I have every intention of making Berlin my long term home.

Cheryl Howard Berlin

That means doing well at my new job, getting more involved in the local tech and start-up scenes, and simply learning and absorbing as much as possible.

I’ll take my time to slowly explore Berlin and really get to know it in a way I didn’t when I lived there before. This is something I think can take years to do and I plan to enjoy every moment of the journey.

See my new guide about what to do in Berlin

I’ll go back to school and continue to study German. I want to get that permanent residency status. I want to be able to talk with my friends in their language. I want to challenge myself to become a master of that tricky German grammar.

Best of all is the opportunity to travel. I’m so excited to see more of Germany, Europe and other continents I haven’t even visited yet. There are just so many places I want to go.

Almost a year ago, I discussed my feelings of being home in Toronto again and how much I missed Berlin.

I wrote, “The day I booked that one-way ticket home, I wept. The day I boarded the plane to come home, I looked out the window and cried uncontrollably for about 15 minutes.”

This time, there are no tears, only smiles.

Everything has somehow magically fallen into place. Fate, divine intervention, chance – whatever you’d like to believe – has led me to this moment. Everything seems right and my dreams are finally coming true!

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18 Comments

  • Reply Sam November 23, 2014 at 4:43 AM

    Rectangular pillows – how I miss those! Very exciting. Looking forward to (hopefully) meeting up when you move here!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 23, 2014 at 9:16 PM

      Hey Sam!

      It’s funny as I never expected pillows to be something that I’d miss. 🙂

      Yes, let’s meet. Just say when!

      Cheryl

  • Reply Kate November 24, 2014 at 7:04 AM

    Congratulations on making such a big decision! I can completely understand how you feel about Berlin. We live in Frankfurt right now but Berlin is the dream once we are finished up here. I also know how it feels to know that something isn’t right.
    Wishing you all the luck!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 24, 2014 at 6:33 PM

      Thanks Kate! Definitely let me know if you’re ever hanging out in Berlin sometime. 🙂

  • Reply Dana November 24, 2014 at 7:39 AM

    Welcome back (soon)!! 😀 You can do it you can do it!!! YAY!!

  • Reply Kemkem November 24, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    Wow! Big news indeed, but l am not surprised. I finally got to visit Berlin. We even considered moving there after we decided to leave Malta and continue our slow travel, but despite liking it a lot, we did not love it,enough. I think it’s perfect for younger people though. Budapest on the other hand, we loved a lot, even went twice in a space of like 3 months. That was also a runner up, but in the end, we chose Malaga. Good luck with everything.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 24, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      Hey Kemkem –

      Thank you. Cool that you’re in Malaga and give me a shout if you’re ever back in Berlin.

      Cheryl

  • Reply A Montrealer Abroad November 24, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    So happy for you Cheryl! Looking forward to reading more about your adventures.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 24, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      Thank you so much! Excited for the new start in a familiar place. 🙂

  • Reply Kate (shoegirlinDE) November 25, 2014 at 11:47 AM

    Congrats! This is super exciting! I understand first-hand the draw of Berlin and wanting to be somewhere that just feels right to you. You picked a good Kiez too. Hope we get the chance to meet up for coffee around here (best neighborhood for coffee, if you ask me) and perhaps practice some German together. 😉

    Best of luck with the move!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 27, 2014 at 1:00 PM

      Thank you Kate! I arrived just yesterday and have already take care of all the paperwork by going to BOTH the burgeramt and auslanderbehorde in one day. 🙂

      Yes, let’s meet-up soon. I’d love to try out a new cafe, not to mention practice German.

  • Reply Jenna November 27, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    This is so exciting. I feel like you are doing what I could have but didn’t do. I lived in the Czech Republic for 18 months, too, but went home because my lease and job both ended, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be there permanently. After I came back to the U.S., I continued to study Czech and kept visiting for a month here and there. Finally I met my husband in Iowa, and I never did move back to Europe. Now all these years later, I still think about living in Europe again. 🙂 Have a wonderful time. I’ll be following along!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard November 27, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      Thank you Jenna! The Czech Republic sounds amazing – hope you’ll be able to get back, even if only for a visit. 🙂

      And who knows, perhaps we’ll meet somewhere in Europe sometime! 🙂

  • Reply Muza-chan November 28, 2014 at 1:26 AM

    Great news 🙂

  • Reply kami December 1, 2014 at 6:00 AM

    now there will be no excuses, we will meet sooner or later!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard December 3, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      Yes, we will – maybe during ITB! I’m pretty sure that I’m off to Riga next though. 🙂

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