Berlin, Europe, Expat Living, Germany, Monthly Updates

Eleven Months in Berlin

October 21, 2015
Ten Months in Berlin - Awesome Foundatin Award

Eleven Months in Berlin. It’s been quiet here on the blog when it comes to my monthly updates, as I haven’t written about my expat life in Berlin since last June. So the time has come for me to break the silence and give you the update that I just know you’ve all been waiting for … because you have been waiting, right?

Eleven Months in Berlin

Ten Months in Berlin - Berlin View with Wine

In my seven months in Berlin post, I mentioned that life started to get pretty stressful for various reasons back in June. Unfortunately, that stress continued throughout the rest of summer and fall. As the months slowly went by, my situation worsened and so did my mental and physical health. While there were some good moments, it was an extremely difficult time and is why I didn’t go about my usual updates here.

Ah, life and all its ups and downs! Thankfully and finally, the rough patch is over now, and I’m back to my usual fun loving and enthusiastic self. This past weekend was one of the best Berlin weekends I’ve had in months when I went to a friend’s birthday party, went hiking in Brandenburg, cooked a nice meal for myself at home, worked a shift at a refugee shelter, and even took in an art exhibition.

You can look forward to much more exciting updates going forward.

Career Change

I’m super excited to say that I started a new job this week! So while this is an amazingly good thing, it was a long time coming.

Ten Months in Berlin - Prenzlaurberg Street Art

It seems like just yesterday when I moved back to Berlin, to begin working for a startup as a scrum master. Startup life proved to be different from any corporate environment I’ve worked at in the past. It was a whole lot of fun! I enjoyed wearing T-shirts and jeans instead of formal business attire, playing ping-pong at lunch, and even drinking beer in the office from time to time.

Ten Months in Berlin - Ping Pong With Colleagues

As fun as it was, I decided to move on and try something new. As the market for scrum masters is hot right now in Berlin, there were a plethora of job opportunities available.

Since change can be both exciting and scary, this is when the stress started to take hold. Much of my summer was spent enduring the challenge of job hunting in Berlin. It was an intense experience overall, as I went about revamping my CV, applying for jobs, attending interviews, facing rejections, completing assignments, and filling out endless amounts of paperwork.

I interviewed for various scrum master positions but finally landed a new job doing something else altogether. I’m now a writer for a living! I’m excited to be able to pursue my passion and take my career in an entirely new direction.

I’ll be writing more in the coming days about my job search experience, sharing my lessons learned, and providing even more new tips about finding a job in Berlin.

The “Not Travelling” Blues

Oh, how I wanted to travel this summer! It killed me having to stay put in one place for so long. But as I spent much of the summer dealing with personal issues, it was important for me to remain in Berlin. Despite life’s setbacks, I did what I could to remain positive and did some fun things to help relax.

A Day Trip to Görlitz

As the stress piled up, I escaped the city and went on a solo day trip to Görlitz! It’s certainly one of Germany’s prettiest towns (much like Schwerin), and better yet, you can walk across the bridge to Poland for a quick beer or vodka run.

Ten Months in Berlin - Daytrip to Gorlitz

Ten Months in Berlin - Daytrip to Zgorzelec
Home to Toronto

Despite my complaining above, I went home to Toronto in September. As Toronto’s been my lifelong home, it didn’t really seem like it would be an exciting trip.

Yet it turned out to be great! It was wonderful to see everyone again, especially my family. By far, the best part was bringing my cat Izzy back to Berlin with me. I’ll also be writing about the process I went through to bring Izzy here at some point.

Ten Months in Berlin - Toronto Vacation

Vabali Spa

I decided to escape the city without ever leaving the city, when I spent a couple of heavenly Saturdays at Vabali Spa in Berlin.

Ten Months in Berlin - Vabali Spa

Lakeside Chilling

To help celebrate the end of summer, my company closed the office for the day on the last Friday in August. I spent the day lakeside in Wedding (a neighbourhood in Berlin recently deemed cool by the New York Times), tanning, swimming, sleeping, drinking beers, and well, just being lazy in general.

Ten Months in Berlin - Plötzensee

Sunday at Mauerpark

When a friend came to town for a brief visit, we spent the day at Mauerpark, drinking beer, watching the bear pit karaoke, and catching up on life.

Ten Months in Berlin - Mauerpark Karaoke

Be sure to watch my friend Luci’s video about our fun day together (I even make a few cameos):

Beer Gardens

The beer gardens are one of the best parts about living in Germany, and I dare say that I enjoyed them rather excessively this summer, spending many nights at Prater Garten and Cafe am Neuen See.

Ten Months in Berlin - Cafe Am Neuen See

Playing the Tourist

One weekend, I decided to be a tourist in Berlin and hit up some of the city’s most iconic spots like the Berliner Dom.

Ten Months in Berlin - Berliner Dom Summer

Eleven Months in Berlin - Boat Ride

Hiking in Brandenburg

Some fellow Berliners and I left the city this past weekend and made our way to Brandenburg to go hiking in the UNESCO nature reserve of Buchenwald Grumsin. It was the perfect way to spend an otherwise gloomy fall day.
Eleven Months in Berlin - Hiking in Brandenburg

Berlin Refugees Book

Sadly, while I was dealing with my personal issues, I had to put the Berlin Refugees book project on hold. However, it didn’t stop me from applying for an Awesome Foundation grant back in August to obtain some funding to get the project off the ground. Unfortunately, I didn’t win the grant, but this won’t stop the project from moving forward. I still kept up my volunteering efforts, working at one of the local shelters every weekend, and have been attending different activist events.

I’m super excited about getting things back on track and will be writing more about my experiences and the stories of the refugees.

Wrapping Up

So, it was one hell of a summer and fall for me in Berlin! But trust me when I say that better things are yet to come! Stay tuned …

Past updates can be found:

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8 Comments

  • Reply Henry | @fotoeins October 22, 2015 at 7:22 am

    Hooray to getting over the bump and sailing into calmer seas. Hope to see you soon in Berlin!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard October 22, 2015 at 8:26 am

      Hi Henry – Yes, you have no idea how happy I am right now. Yes, will see ya soon!

      Cheryl

  • Reply Rebecca October 22, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Lovely update and good to see your positive attitude has kept you smiling. Best of luck with the new job 🙂

    • Reply Cheryl Howard October 22, 2015 at 11:09 am

      Thanks Rebecca! This past while was pretty horrible and I’m happy to be back to my normal self. 🙂

  • Reply Sam October 23, 2015 at 5:55 am

    You see very happy in your life in Berlin…though, to be fair, I didn’t know you before this! It was nice to see you so excited about your new job the other day – all the best!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard October 23, 2015 at 5:57 am

      Hey Sam –

      Ha ha! I am *very* happy with my life … and thanks so much.

      Hope to see you soon. Perhaps Travel Massive this month? 🙂

      Cheryl

  • Reply Thibaud October 29, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Hi Cheryl!
    I plan to move to Berlin in a few month since i’ve finish my study.
    I discovered your blog today and it gave me even more motivation to come to Berlin (i’m french by the way) !
    I plan to learn german (i’ve got a poor level and i really want to improve it) and to me Berlin seems to be one of the best spot to learn it !
    I’ll catch one of your “Make friends in Berlin” when i’ll be in Berlin (probably around mid-january), it sounds really fun ! Be sure that i’ll try to make it as soon as I can.
    By the way i’m sorry if my english is not perfect but i’m sure you’ll understand it ahah
    See you someday and keep up the good work!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard October 30, 2015 at 8:22 am

      Thanks Thibaud. Good luck with your move and language learning. Definitely hope to see you at one of the events in the new year! 🙂

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