Berlin, Europe, Expat Living, Germany, Monthly Updates

Seven Months in Berlin

July 16, 2015
Seven Months in Berlin - Emils Biergarten Berlin

Seven months in Berlin! Another month has flown by, and it’s time again for a brief update about my expat life in Berlin.

Seven Months in Berlin

Seven Months in Berlin - Cheryl Howard Berlin Wine Drinker

As I mentioned in my monthly newsletter, June was a very tough month due to a personal situation beyond my control. I was actually stressed to the point of not being able to sleep or eat. I questioned my sanity and pondered how I’d gotten myself into such a predicament.

Thankfully, things improved by the end of the month, partly due to pure luck and me taking action on my own.

I’m thoroughly convinced that you sometimes need to experience these difficult moments in order to break free from complacency and steer yourself in the direction of positive change.

I figured out some of those things by opening my mind up to some new possibilities that I’d never previously considered. While nothing big has happened just yet, I’m working to make things happen. I’m not sure how long it will take, but hope there are exciting developments on the horizon (one of which you’ll find out below).

Writing More

In the spirit of positive change, I worked on achieving some realistic short-term goals. I’d been meaning to write more, so I hustled and scored some extra freelance writing opportunities. You know, work to do outside of work?

Being One with Nature

Seven Months in Berlin - Strandbad Grünau Berlin

I spent a solo day by a lake, just outside Berlin, to get some me time, relax, and be out and about in nature. Most importantly, it really helped me to deal with my stress.

I read, listened to music, and soaked up some rays while hilariously being reminded about how Germans swim naked!

Travelling

Cheryl Howard in Prague

I finally got away from Berlin and hung out with Canadian friends in Prague for the weekend. We drank craft beer by the river, walked everywhere, and even posed with David Cerny’s piss sculpture.

The ultimate highlight was taking a beer bath. Yes, I bathed in a giant tub of beer! More on that here soon.

Getting Cultured

Seven Months in Berlin - Willy-Brandt-Haus Berlin World Press Photo 2015

I went with Kate from Sole Satisfaction blog to the World Press Photo exhibit at Willy Brandt Haus to see their annual showcase of photo journalism.

The exhibit was free (yay!) and especially moving.

Partying Like No Tomorrow

Seven Months in Berlin - Berlin CSD 2015

Seven Months in Berlin - Berlin CSD 2015 Rainbow Umbrella
I also went to my very first pride in Berlin, and it was a ton of fun! I went to the main parade in Charlottenburg, the alternative parade in Kreuzberg, and then embarked on an epic night of clubbing.

I then rolled home around 7:30 a.m. in true Berlin style.

Volunteering at a Refugee Shelter and a BIG Idea

Seven Months in Berlin - Das Tempelhofer Feld Berlin

I worked my first shift at a refugee shelter here in Berlin, helping to prepare and serve food in their kitchen, and clean up. Afterward, I stayed around to talk with some of the refugees.

While I love my job working as scrum master and blogging here, I’ve been yearning to do something way more meaningful. It took a lot of soul searching, but I finally came up with what I feel is an inspiring idea. After shyly mentioning this idea to a few close friends and getting nothing but positive feedback, I’m ready to announce my plans to the world.

I’m going to write a book telling the stories of refugees who’ve come to live in Berlin. Almost 3,000 refugees arrived in June, with the same number expected in July. When they arrive, life is far from easy, and they face a lot of adversity.

I’ve worked a lot with refugees back in Canada, so it’s a cause that I’ve long been passionate about. I’ve hope that this book could help raise awareness, and even money for a local charity dedicated to helping refugees.

As I’ve never been published, and I have no idea how to even begin such an endeavour, it sounds like a pretty lofty goal to me. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, and it’s going to take a long time to complete the project.

Yet, I’m quite lucky to have a great network of friends (ahem, angels) who are happy to help me and even contribute to the project. Some want to help with translating, photography, video, and providing general guidance.

You can read more about this new project on my new website, Berlin Refugees.

Liveboat Refugee Installation Tempelhofer Feld Berlin

I checked out Liveboat Chapter Five installation, part of the 48 Hours in Neukölln art festival. The installation was a tribute to the plight of refugees.

So here’s to another 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 signing up for email updates.

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4 Comments

  • Reply Andrea July 17, 2015 at 6:52 AM

    Great idea for a book! It’ll be so interesting to hear their stories which would never be told otherwise. I love that you want to help refugees, it’s something I’ve been looking into too but with an Australian not-for-profit I follow on Twitter.

    Let me know if I can help in any way.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard July 17, 2015 at 9:52 AM

      Hey Andrea – thank you! I have a feeling that many of the stories will be heart breaking, but I suppose that makes it even more important that they be told.

      And very cool about you working with an Australian non-profit! Maybe we can partner together later on?

      Will definitely let you know if I need help down the road!

      Cheryl

  • Reply Edna July 17, 2015 at 1:58 PM

    Congratulations on the book project and best of luck moving forward! (To be honest it’s a nice change of pace from every other travel blogger writing a book about themselves…) And so cool you know Kate, I love to see my blogging worlds collide!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard July 20, 2015 at 4:50 AM

      Thanks Edna! I’m excited to see how it works out too. And I know what you mean, I went to download some new travel memoirs the other day and I could not believe how many books were by other bloggers I know. And yes, Kate and I even live in the same neighbourhood! 🙂

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