The move to Berlin has been, to put it mildly, a disaster. Every step of the way - from the movers not showing up to every single shipment of new apartment items on order not being delivered to the 'finished' product of our new apartment, recently renovated with promises of high quality details to the standards of the rent they are charging, proving to be a complete letdown in everything from a paint job that looked like a five-year-old did it to leaky pipes to windows that can't be opened because they have no knobs - has been an uphill battle. Then of course, there are the cigarette butts littering the whole place and the constant smell of a gas leak... Not exactly the Christmas welcome to our new home we had such high hopes for. Add to that my persistent stomach bug for the better part of a week, and it's easy to see why staying positive has been such a challenge.
But! We are in Berlin. Every time we leave our box-filled, disappointment of an apartment, we are pointing into restaurant and shop windows every three steps, ooing and ahhing, making mental notes of where to come back to. I have discovered what I now affectionately refer to as 'our' coffee shop, complete with amazing cakes, an engraved silver cash register hailing from another century and perhaps the best coffee I've had here yet. Dogs and their owners have been some of the nicest and friendliest we've ever encountered, one even pulling out her cell phone to show us a photos of her other dog that looked just like Bailey. Even taking the train next to men that smell as if they've taken a bath in their beer holds a certain charm. Every time we get out, I am reminded: You are in Berlin, and it will only get better.
How could I forget the explosive New Years in the neighborhood, in which our apartment miraculously avoided going up in flames from rockets whizzing by so close we could have reached out and grabbed them.
So here's to things looking up in the merry new year! (and to finally celebrating Christmas, complete with filled stockings, wrapped presents and the turkey in our freezer anxiously waiting to be cooked, at some point...)