Being an expat is not always easy, but it also not a nightmare.
It all depends on you, on your attitude, on your openness, on your willing to adapt, to learn, to change your mind if necessary, to discover and try new things, to see the world with other eyes.
Personally I am very happy, as an expat, and I regret nothing.
Or maybe is my only regret that I didn't leave Italy way earlier than I did.
But this would be another story, so stay tuned for another blogpost about that.
People ask me often how I did what I did.
How I learned German that fast.
How I survived abroad alone.
How I kept living in Berlin even if it was very hard and heartbreaking sometimes.
And usually they are very disappointed by my answer. Even if my answer is always 100% sincere.
But there are no magic potions, no unicorns, no Sugar Plum Fairy in it.
The naked truth is...
I succeeded because I wanted to.
I learned German that fast because I wanted to and I learned it every day and I still learn something new about this beautiful language every day.
I survived abroad alone without knowing anybody while moving to Berlin because I wanted to and giving up was not an option to me. So I tried almost everything to get to know new people, make new friends and find a pleasant way for both to interact. And I am still in for it.
I kept living in Berlin even if the first year was just a huge cultural shock after another, because I wanted to and I was ready to cry, fight and adapt for it. And I still am.
This doesn't mean that it has been easy. Or painless. Or always as I wanted it to be. Most of the time, not really. But in the end, I guess that the over four years spent in Berlin have been the most important, intense and formative in my life and I am very grateful for them.
Even after four years, I am deeply in love with the city and every morning I wake up and smile.
Still, I miss something about Italy sometimes.
[Vegan, healthy and delicious:
traditional Ligurian recipe farinata
Image source: Giallo Zafferano]
#1. being able to go out with my Italian friends and to hug them every time I just feel like, even if Skype is one of the best inventions ever; 1 point for Italy
#2. enjoying the sun on my face at least 200 days a year, since sunlight and colour of the sky are very different in Berlin, but in Berlin I need less sunscreen, at any rate; break-even
#3. being able to find Italian books very easily, even if I can buy them online or find some of them at Dussmann; break-even
#4. being able to speak in a language while being sure the whole time that everything I am saying is grammatically correct, stylistically elegant, funny and appropriate to the occasion.
As an author, proofreader and translator, this could be seen as a big problem, but I have to say that living abroad gave me the chance to learn a new foreign language, to improve two foreign languages I already knew and it took away from me the fear of making mistakes, so I can live with the grammatical uncertainty, after all; 1 point for Germany
#5. shopping at my favourite boutique in Via Po (Turin, Italy), where almost everything is cool, elegant, original and not too expensive, even if in Berlin I can enjoy wonderful second hand shops and vintage shops; break-even
#6. flirting with someone while knowing the whole time how every aspect of the flirting game works. But not knowing everything is also very interesting sometimes... break-even
#7. last but not least... a delicious slice of farinata. Never found in over four years a place where to eat it in Germany, but I will keep looking. 1 point for Italy
2-1 points for Italy, in the end. So if you hear about a place in Berlin that offers farinata...
Just drop me a line, ok?
Mood: Allein but not einsam, as the Germans
Rebirth, in German
Mood: Like a Rolling Stone (again)
Tags: Being an expat, Cultural shock, Living in Berlin, Italian books at Dussmann, Farinata