Berlin, Europe, Expat Living, Germany, Monthly Updates

Six Months in Berlin

June 7, 2015
Six Months in Berlin - Forest Walks

Six months in Berlin! In expat life updates, I’ve been living in Berlin for a whopping 6 months now! It honestly blows my mind as it seems like I arrived only yesterday.

So yeah, a half year has passed since I (once again) gave up life in Canada to come and live in Germany.

Six Months in Berlin

How’s it been? I’d say a mixture of good and bad, with things mostly being good! When I first announced my return to Berlin, I outlined some of my goals for my new/old life here.

Six Months in Berlin: Valentines Day in Berlin

Happy Valentine’s Day from Berlin.

Be a Rock Star at Work

As any sane person would, I aimed to do well at my new job. I’m still here so I guess that’s something.

Seriously speaking, I really like my new company and team. We have a lot of fun together, and any job where there is a free beer from time to time suits me just fine.

I’ve even been learning a lot of new things that are outside of my “normal” job description; specifically, I’m taking my HTML and CSS skills out of the ’90s and into modern times. So, yay to no longer being a prehistoric dinosaur in the digital age..

“Live Large” in Berlin

Six Months in Berlin: Berlin Afterparty With Cigarettes and Confetti

The morning after – confetti and cigarettes mean a fun night out in Berlin.

Another plan of mine was to enjoy the hell out of life in Berlin. I give myself an A+ on this front! I may have done too well at this actually …

I’ve experienced things like Berlin’s MyFest, tagged along with friends for motorcycle rides through the city (I now own a helmet!), gone to film screenings, attended restaurant openings, gone out all-night clubbing, spent days lakeside tanning, and even served lunches and dinners at homeless shelters and refugee camps with Vostel.de.

Make Germany My Friend

Six Months in Berlin - Drinking Wine and Feeling Fine

Drinking wine and feeling fine on a friend’s rooftop terrace.

I also said that I wanted to get to know Germany better. I started this quest by going on a day trip to Schwerin and spending a weekend in Leipzig (blog post coming up).

Other getaway plans over the year include weekends in Hamburg, Rügen and Görlitz.

Travel Lots

Six Months in Berlin - Forest Walks

Walking through the forest on the way to Strandbad Grünau. No, this is not me and that is not my boyfriend …

Of course, and as always, I wanted to travel more. I’ve actually slowed down over recent months – I haven’t been on a plane since March! For a person like me, that’s a really long time.

I still think I did pretty well from a travel perspective. In the past 6 months, I spent weekends in Amsterdam, Sofia and Budapest. I also hung out in Thailand for 10 days. Oh, and there was a day trip to Szczecin for beer and pierogies!

Next weekend, I’m heading to Prague to hang out with Canadian friends, drink all kinds of Czech beer and hopefully get a chance to watch (and photograph!) sunset over the Vltava river.

I’m also planning for a trip home in August to attend my sister’s wedding and to bring my cat Izzy here.

Learn German, Speak German

Six Months in Berlin: Berlin Sunset Walking Into the Light

Walking into the light.

I wanted to better my German to a B1 level so I could get permanent residency after 21 months (part of the Blue Card deal).

I’ve failed at this rather spectacularly. I attempted an intensive German-language program with Smarter German (who I highly recommend) but could not make the needed commitment required to stay on track.

It’s tough as I work a full-time job, have this blog and am prone to saying yes to drunken nights out with friends, which involve free margaritas and late-night shopping for overpriced underwear (yes, a true story, which involved me purchasing a pair of skulled-imprinted underwear for around €20).

Good news is that, as I’ve only been here 6 months, I still have lots of time to fix things. Plans are to enroll in a German course with my old school Sprachenatalier come fall.

Other Updates

Aside from meeting or not meeting my various goals, here’s some other expat life updates.

Being Plagued with the Plague

Six Months in Berlin: Sunset in Berlin from GoEuro

The sky is on fire in Berlin!

From January on, I was plagued with a cold that followed me around like a psychotic ex-boyfriend. Seriously, just when I’d start to feel better and think the restraining order against further illness had taken effect, it’d return with a frightening vengeance.

I missed work, travel conferences and more. My doctor even ordered me to stay at home for an entire week, not working or going out (which as you can tell is a very hard thing for me to do).
I was sick the entire time I was in Thailand too, on a freaking dream-come-true vacation! Do you have any idea how much it sucks to be ill in paradise? I even had to make a trip to the hospital while there (a story in itself).

I also ate or drank something in Thailand that didn’t seem to agree with me. I had, um … “stomach issues” for about 6 weeks after I got home.
Thankfully, May brought me back to good health once again, and I’ve been feeling great ever since!

Missing Home?

Liebe at Kulturbrauerei

Love at Kulturbrauerei.

Yes and no. I miss my friends, former colleagues, and family. I miss my cat especially! Yet for some inexplicable reason, Toronto is not for me anymore (not to say that I won’t ever call the city home again someday). Berlin is where I feel most happy.

So here’s to another six months in Berlin! To review past updates, read 1 Month in Berlin and 2 Months in Berlin. Also, be sure to join me in my travel and expat adventures by following me on Bloglovin or signing up for email updates.

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9 Comments

  • Reply ryk June 7, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    Glad to have you back over here 😉 I was running out of good blogs. keep it up

    • Reply Cheryl Howard June 7, 2015 at 2:28 PM

      Hey Ryk – thanks for the kind comment. I’m pretty happy to be back here too. 🙂

  • Reply Kate June 8, 2015 at 2:20 PM

    You really are impressive with how you jump into everything thrown at you here! You’ve definitely inspired me to say ‘yes’ to more things and be more ambitious with what I take on. Next up, volunteering and German lessons for me as well! And travel too, once my health and bank account are ready for it. 😉

    Good to have you here in Berlin!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard June 8, 2015 at 3:54 PM

      Hey Kate!! Thanks so much. 🙂

      It’s weird as a couple of other people have said that to me lately too. 🙂

      I highly recommend Vostel, as they offer different type of volunteering opportunities. I especially enjoyed working at the emergency refugee shelter in Moabit – hard work but much worth the effort.

      Yay to travels! Hope to see you again soon. 😉

  • Reply Vanessa June 17, 2015 at 7:50 AM

    Happy 6-month anniversary! We’ve nearly been here two years – cannot believe how quick time flies! I’ve been looking for non-religion-affiliated volunteer work so will check out Vostel – thanks so much! 🙂

    • Reply Cheryl Howard June 17, 2015 at 8:35 AM

      Hey Vanessa –

      Thank you. Congrats on being here for two years!

      Vostel is great – just check with them before committing to doing work as some of the organization’s they work with are Christian.

      Cheryl

  • Reply Mike S July 3, 2015 at 11:45 PM

    My girlfriend from Poland and I (American) are considering moving to Berlin in the “near future”. We met some months ago online and immediately hit it off! I decided to get my passport, plane ticket, and fly to meet her in person! We spent a week together in Berlin as well as a week in Warsaw. Lately our talk has become of starting our life together and we both loved Berlin. I am clueless when it comes to what to do next. I came across your blog and am reading up! I’d love to hear any advice you may have for us! Glad to hear you are having a fun journey! That’s what’s it’s about 🙂

    • Reply Cheryl Howard July 5, 2015 at 12:19 PM

      Hey Mike,

      Pretty cool story and glad you found love in Europe! 🙂

      Berlin is a great city to live and I’m sure you guys will love being here. Any advice I have is scattered throughout my articles on Berlin.

      My number one tip is to learn German *before* you come. As for finding a job (a tough thing to do here) or determining which visa is right for you as an American, take a look at my article about how to find a job in Berlin.

      If you still need more info, drop me a line!

      Cheers.
      Cheryl

  • Reply Seven Months in Berlin July 20, 2015 at 5:32 AM

    […] month in Berlin! To review past updates, read One Month in Berlin, Two Months in Berlin, and Six Months in Berlin. Also, be sure to join me in my travel and expat adventures by following me on Bloglovin‘ or […]

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