Berlin, Europe, Expat Living, Germany, Monthly Updates

Two Months in Berlin.

February 14, 2015
S Bahn Berlin Sunset

January seemed to fly by! Overall, my second month as an expat in Berlin went very well (also read my one month update).

How Long is Now Street Art Berlin

Two Months in Berlin

I didn’t begin my German studies like I wanted to. On a positive note, I started this week and will be writing more about my experiences in my February update.

I’m super excited to begin and look forward to when my language skills improve enough to make a positive difference in my life here.

Berlin Auslanderbehorde LABO

The visa application process continues to move along slowly.

When I arrived in November, I was granted a working permit for 3 years. However, it turned out that the government did not grant me the Blue Card for which we’d applied, as they did not spend the needed time to investigate my business degree.

After pressure from my lawyer, they finally looked into my case and decided to give me the Blue Card.

It required another visit to the ever-fun foreigner’s office (the ausländerbehörde) and missing a few hours of work.

I actually went by myself this time! I’m pretty proud of this accomplishment as every other time I’ve gone there, I’ve had to bring a German-speaking friend to be my interpreter.

Arriving with the expectation that I’d leave with the Blue Card, I was surprised to learn I’d have to wait even longer and come back to the office yet again to pick it up. The purpose of my visit that day was to fork over more cash and have my fingerprints taken.

From Where I Stand Berlin Tiles

Oh and then there was a doctor’s visit! Due to some health issues, I needed to see a family doctor who could give me a paper referral so I could see a specialist.

I made an appointment with a doctor’s office in my neighbourhood and went over lunch hour, ensuring that I brought along my health insurance papers.

Unfortunately, there were problems. The receptionist refused to let me see the doctor telling me in a very stern and harsh manner that I needed to do something. I couldn’t understand what this “something” was but lucky for me (give me time to keep studying German ), another patient in the waiting room translated and helped to explain.

Without the photo ID, I needed to have someone from my office call TK and get them to fax the doctor my proof of insurance. Again, lucky for me, one of my colleagues was able to help and had it taken care of within 30 minutes so I could see the doctor.

The doctor was super nice and gave me everything I needed. She even apologized for the bureaucracy and joked, asking me not to think badly of her country.

The doctor’s office was absolutely beautiful and so unlike any I’ve visited in Canada. High ceilings, natural lighting, plenty of plants, water and tea available to drink, leather couches and even art books to read while you’re waiting!

Stay tuned as later, I’ll write about my experience when I visit the specialist.

Walking Around Prenzlauerberg Berlin

As usual, I hung out with friends – having them over for drinks and dinners.

I also had a very nice brunch one weekend at The House of Small Wonder, a new restaurant in Mitte.

House of Small Wonder Berlin Mitte

Of course, there were lots of times spent in cafés doing work and drinking coffee.

Coffee at Suicide Sue in Prenzlauer Berg Berlin

Oh and fun parties! I went to a Berlin fashion week party at Neue Heimat and a 90’s dance party at the Velodrom.

90s-Dance-Party-at-the-Velodrom-Berlin

After a couple of months away from my former home away from home, I finally made it back to my old bar! It was great to be back and led to me have one of my most hilarious encounters to date during my time as an expat in Germany.

Being alone in a bar tends to attract attention and as usual, it didn’t take long for me to make new friends. I met a somewhat drunk German man, whose English skills are about as good as my German skills. As you’d expect, this gave way for some priceless conversation such as when he asked me if I know knives?

My first thought was huh? So I said “Steak knives, butter knives, jackknives, what?”

He replied, “No, knives for fighting. You do this when you’re in university. You fight with knives. This is a German tradition. See my scar?” He proudly pointed to a small cut on his forehead.

He was actually referring to a German tradition of sword fighting.

Talking about his family, he informed me he had an uncle who was a doctor in horses, and you know, “makes it with horses.” Obviously, his uncle is a vet who works with horses, but his explanation was especially funny.

As his finale, he told me that he lived in a castle (apparently this is also a thing), and asked me if he could show me his castle or if I would show him my home on Pappelalle.

I told him that I would show myself Pappelalle and wished him a good evening. Ha ha!

Sunset Along Oranienburger Straße Berlin

I also travelled, going on a day trip to Szczecin, Poland, with my friend Adam where we indulged in pierogies, beer and lots of sightseeing. There was also a weekend in Sofia, Bulgaria.

I booked my next trip and will be spending a weekend in Budapest!

S Bahn Berlin Sunset

From a blog perspective, I was really happy to finally finish a monster post about why you should visit Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I worked on that post for hours on end, and it felt great to finally hit that publish button.

In a really nice gesture, Jenna from This Is My Happiness named me as a travel blog to watch in 2015.

El Bocho Berlin Prenzlauer Berg Street Art

I’m really happy and thankful to be here in Berlin again! We’re now almost halfway through February and life in Berlin continues to be great (really great)! I can’t wait to share my happenings in my next update.

Sunset in Mitte Berlin

Follow Me on Instagram

If you like the photos in this post, follow me on Instagram (@cherylhowardblog) to see updates from my new life in Berlin and on the road.

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8 Comments

  • Reply Jenna February 16, 2015 at 1:43 am

    Keep the updates coming 🙂 I’m looking forward to your updates from Budapest!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 16, 2015 at 6:47 am

      Hey Jenna –

      Will do! It’s fun to reflect back on the past month and look at what the next has in store. 🙂

      And OMG – I can’t wait for Budapest.

      Cheryl

  • Reply Danilo February 18, 2015 at 2:27 am

    Hallo Cheryl! Great to know that you move back to Berlin! What a wonderful news. I follow your blog since that time and I also have the desire to move to Berlin even I never visited there yet.
    I will do everything to happen.
    Reading your text about gong back I got a doubt, on this :

    “After 21 months, I can even apply for permanent residency if I manage to bring my German up to a B1 level.”

    This part that says that after work 21 month you can apply for permanent residency is only for Canadian (or US) citizen or its for all citizen that works in Germany . I got this doubt because I’m Brazilian citizen and I don’t know how it works.

    Thank you for all!!
    I wish you the BEST!
    Good luck
    Keep updating I love it!
    Thanks a lot

    • Reply Cheryl Howard February 18, 2015 at 4:26 am

      Hiya Danilo – Thanks for your kind wishes. I hope you can make it to Berlin! As I have the Blue Card, I’m able to do this. Whether or not you can get the Blue Card depends on what type of job you’re applying for and your professional background. If you have more questions, please let me know!

      Cheryl

  • Reply Luci Westphal March 5, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Finally caught up on your 2-months in Berlin post. This makes me terribly homesick for my second home. Love the spirit of adventure and familiarity you bring across in this post and your photos.
    xx Luci

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 7, 2015 at 4:25 am

      Thanks Luci!! And look forward to seeing you back here soon. xo

  • Reply felipe tofani (@ftrc) March 11, 2015 at 10:30 am

    i hope you have more fun when it is warmer
    =]

    • Reply Cheryl Howard March 11, 2015 at 11:43 am

      Hi Felipe –

      I’m having sooooo much fun already! Summer’s going to be even better. 🙂

      Cheryl

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