Berlin Life Updates: December 2018 Ends With A Bang

Berlin Life Updates: December 2018 Ends With A Bang 

When I first moved back to Berlin in November of 2014, I started writing monthly updates about life in the German capital. Very quickly though, I got caught up in the adventures of being back here and the updates became inconsistent and then only something I did once per year. 

Then it all got better last year and I achieved a bunch of goals I set for myself, like getting permanent residency and filing four years of taxes. I even cut back on smoking! Now that 2019 is upon us, I’m determined that this year’s going to be even better and one of my goals is to bring back the monthly updates. It’s a fun way to chronicle me living abroad and reflect about what went well, what didn’t, and what I want to accomplish over the next month. 

Berlin Life Updates: December 2018 Ends With A Bang 

Getting straight to it, here’s a recap of Berlin life for December 2018.

[bctt tweet=”Berlin Life Updates for @cherylhowardcom: December 2018 Ends With A Bang!” username=”cherrysberries”]

1) 2018 Accomplishments I Forgot To Mention


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After writing my last update post, I still found myself thinking a lot about my time in Berlin over this past year. I then realized there were a couple of other major things that I achieved and forgot to mention:

✅Cleared up my Schufa – When I moved back to Toronto in 2012, my accountant had charged something to my German bank account without my knowledge and it went into the minus. They tried to contact me tons of times, but of course, I was living in Canada, and oblivious as to what was happening. When I moved back to Berlin in 2014 and tried to reopen my bank account, I’d naturally had some difficulty. Turned out that I owed Sparkasse €120! They reluctantly re-opened my account, but not only did I have to repay the debt, I had to shell out another €50 to a collections agency. This set me with a bad credit rating, which prevented me from being able to get a long-term phone contract, apply for apartments, and more. Thankfully, enough time has passed and my records are now cleared. I’m able to make deeper financial commitments should I so choose. 

✅Tossed people that weren’t for me – There were some people I used to find “fascinating” or “entertaining.” I accepted their differences and didn’t mind tagging along on their wild adventures. Somehow it came to a point when I realized that there were some people that I didn’t want around any longer. Some of them treated me horribly and others weren’t all that bad. I do strongly believe some relationships are simply meant to fade though. The especially toxic ones caused panic attacks, deep hurt, and sleepless nights. By keeping them in my life, I was only inflicting pain on myself when it wasn’t needed. It’s been tough, but most of those people are out of my life, and I’m happier for it. Sorry for those I’ve ghosted and you’ve wondered why – I know I need to get better at having hard conversations and maybe (some of) you deserved real explanations. These days, I spend my time with cool and inspiring people who care about me, are fun to hang out with, and tell me when I’m being an idiot (which is often). 😉

2) Financial Wisdom Gained


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Can’t buy me ❤️

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I’m getting better at managing money and staying on top of things. In December, I did a couple of things to improve my financial situation:

✅Signed up for a BVG annual pass – I don’t know why but I used to buy my monthly transit pass from a machine every month for €81. Sometimes, I’d forget to buy a new one once it expired. I’d only figure out later on that I’d made several trips on public transit without paying. Luckily, I was never caught and given a fine. Common sense finally prevailed last month and one night, I stopped at Alexanderplatz to sign up for a yearly pass that costs €62. Not only am I saving money, but now I always have a card on me and I don’t have to worry about buying a new pass each month.

✅Prepared my 2018 Taxes – I already prepared my tax statement with SteuerGo and even paid for the service but I wasn’t able to submit anything before December 31. Now saving that as a January activity. On a positive note, I will be getting a refund and using some of it to pay down some debts and the rest to put into savings.

3) Health and Overall Wellbeing 


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Other Berlin life updates for December 2018? I’ve known it for some time, but this month the point was really hammered home. I need to get healthier. Here’s some of the things I did:

✅Signed up for Gympass – I signed up for Gympass, which was a good start but, I haven’t exactly gone to a gym yet. Baby steps, folks. I did however, enjoy the perk of massages being included in the package, and I’d about 10 Thai massages over the course of December.

✅All of the long walks – I spent a few different evenings taking long walks through Mitte enjoying some of Berlin’s most beautiful landmarks like the Bundestag, the Berliner Dom, the TV Tower and more. On Christmas Day, I walked through Prenzlauer Berg for so many hours that I reached a point where I couldn’t walk anymore (it got cold and I developed blisters). The city was so calm and quiet that I couldn’t resist walking past my old apartments, hangouts, and other memorable spots. It was a nice end of the year moment and gave me time to think about how far I’ve come along in the past four years and how much immensely changed for the better.

✅A horror show at the dentist – I’d my typical six month check-up with a new dental attendant who accidentally stabbed my lower lip with one of the instruments and splattered blood everywhere. This place is usual pretty good and without drama, but for some reason this was just my “lucky day”. I left the office with clean teeth but a slightly fat lip.

✅A cold – On NYE, I came down with a super bad cold but stubbornly went out anyway. I’d been planning to go out for months and it seemed uncool to stay at home and wallow in self pity. But of course, I was sick for about 10 days after and a hard reminder that I need to listen to my body and not push myself beyond what I’m capable. I had so much chicken soup (some of which I made from scratch!), that I don’t want to eat it again for a long time.

✅Surgery’s on the Horizon – I’d an appointment with my Gynecologist at the hospital in Buch and received news that I need CO2 laser surgery at the end of January to remove abnormal cells from my cervix. It will involve being put out, staying one night in the hospital, a week at home recovering, and then eight weeks of no exercise – not even cleaning the house! I’m also not allowed to take a bath for those eight weeks, especially painful for someone like me who likes to take a long soaking bubble bath every weekend. The good news (which I really need to focus on) is that I don’t have cancer, I get to hire a cleaner, spent a week at home to blog, read, binge watch Netflix, and hang out and cuddle with Izzy. I initially didn’t take the news well and spent that day at home in tears. Since then, I’ve been emotional and keep having panic attacks. I’ve only ever stayed in the hospital once and it didn’t involve an operation. I’ve never had a such a serious surgery before either. I’m filled with an irrational fear that they will discover there is cancer. The anticipation is probably the worst part of it all and even though I know everything will likely be fine, it’s been tough to remain positive.

✅Staycation – I finished off the year by taking 10 days off from work. It was so needed, as I’d been stressed as hell going into this vacation. I slept in, blogged a lot, went out with friends, got those massages, and generally, chilled. I’m so glad I stuck around Berlin and didn’t travel anywhere.

4) Social Butterfly Me


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As expected, December was a social month and there were lots of dinners out with friends, hanging out at Christmas markets, and chilling in cozy dive bars:

✅Attended a friend’s birthday party – I met up with some friends to have some cheap beers and celebrate a friend’s birthday. It was a really fun evening, I got home at a decent time, and didn’t drink that much. Sounds impressive, but I also smoked almost an entire pack of cigarettes on my own. I’m super ashamed of the last part, because I hardly ever smoke anymore. But when I get into these social situations, all my worst habits like smoking way too much come out … So yeah, the smoking less goal is obviously still a work in progress.

✅Christmas market fun – after spending the day together for an offsite team building event, we ventured over the the ever pretty Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt.

✅A cancelled date – I braved the wild world of Tinder this past fall and finally decided to make a connection with someone. We graduated from Tinder to WhatsApp and made plans to meet. On the day of, he informed me he couldn’t make it because he was sick. We tried to reschedule but then he disappeared and ghosted me, as I’ve ghosted so many others. I’m guessing this incident’s a form of karmic dating revenge. I’m officially giving up on dating until I recover from my surgery this spring. Today, I deleted my Tinder profile and uninstalled any related apps from my phone.

✅Christmas Day  I’ve spent Christmas alone before, attended refugee dinners with Give Something Back to Berlin, or hung with friends. Last year I made turkey for the first time with Adam! I decided to something like that this year and drank wine and made pirogues from scratch with a good fried.

✅Celebrating NYE – I spent NYE in Berlin with some friends. We started with dinner at home and later ventured outside to watch the fireworks. Later we went to a club, from where I managed to emerge at 6:00 AM (relatively early!). I’d more fun in the first part of the evening than I did at the club and think this will probably be the last club I visit. I’m getting too old for that whole scene. I’ve done my time and come away with some pretty legendary stories like singing my national anthem with a Canadian opera singer at 3 am and posing for an Italian painter at his coliving space in Neükolln. 

5) Travelling In Germany


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In early November, I set off to Mainz for the weekend with Bottlestops for a wine tasting tour around the region. Highlights included staying at the brand spanking new Me and All Hotel, visiting the main Christmas market in Mainz (where you can book a table in a wine barrel!), eating at Laurenz, visiting two wineries – one big and another small family run one, having even more wine and a delicious lunch at RheinWeinWelt, and finally checking out the Christmas market at Schloss VollradsBlog post coming soon!

6) Setting Goals for Q1 of 2019


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I set a whole bunch of goals for the first quarter of 2019 and will start tracking them here in my monthly updates:


✅Fix problem with Canadian line of credit interest rate overcharge 
✅Reduce debts in Canada
✅File tax return and get refund
✅Money into German and Canadian savings


✅Budapest in Jan
✅Kiev in March


✅Stop smoking entirely 
✅More healthy eating
✅Less drinking
✅Endure surgery in January and own the 8-week recovery period like a boss (remain positive)
✅Sleep better and more
✅Worry less

Blogging and Social Media:

✅Write more content 
✅Grow my traffic
✅Stop caring about Instagram

What’s Coming in January?

January has some exciting things coming up including a long weekend in Budapest, finding a permanent cat sitter for Izzy for whenever I travel (I have four weekend trips planned right now!), hiring a cleaner to take care of my flat when I’m recovering, and having that surgery (ugh!).

Best of all, I’ll also be indulging my love for the Berlin food scene when I undertake a Withlocals Berlin food tour later this month. I’m still debating about whether to go for a coffee tour, vegan food one, or beer tasting. I’ve a “tough choice” to make.

That’s it for my “Berlin Life Updates: December 2018” post. Stay tuned for the January update and in the meantime, sign-up for my newsletter or browse my past Berlin diaries.

Good to Know 

1) Keen to more discover more of Berlin? Book a city tour now. 


2) Need somewhere to stay when you’re in Berlin? Check out hotel offerings on

3)  If you dig road trips, consider renting a car.

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Founder of Canadian in Berlin. Frequent traveller now at 43 countries and counting.


  1. You set really good goals for yourself! I’m super impressed you are able to go to the dentist and doctor there. I REALLY want to move back to Russia but the whole medical world scares me.

  2. Thanks! I’m already failing at some, but hoping I can make up for it. The dentist is not so bad, but the medical things are weird for sure. Just got out of the hospital this morning and am oh so happy to be home! 🙂

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