Hello there! Welcome to my blog, Berlin Spots.
I’m a 30-something expat from the USA, and I’ve been living in Berlin for 2.5 years now. I live with my German boyfriend, whom I met here in Berlin, and I have a 7 year old dachshund named Molly. We currently live in a rather quiet part of the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, within walking distance of several parks. Having grown up in a rural area, I appreciate the feeling of being able to “escape the city” by spending time in these parks. Molly surely appreciates it, too.
Molly, mid-sniff, in Kreuzberg’s Viktoriapark last summer.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city. Berlin is a wonderfully liberal, open-minded, and diverse city. Its abundance of world-class cultural offerings, farmers markets, weekend events and festivals, and exciting night life ensures that one is never bored here. Admittedly, the winters are long, grey, and dreary, but it’s a good excuse to cozy up in one of the many great bars or cafes with a friend (or to enjoy a proper German brunch on a Sunday) while you wait for the fantastic summer season.
How I Got Here
I grew up in New England but moved to Tampa, Florida once I finished college and lived there for seven years. I loved living in Tampa, especially the many interesting, fun, and dear friends that I made there. I also loved the beaches, the night life, playing in my kickball league every week, and the weather (oh, how I miss the weather!)…but something was missing. I was a teacher, and while I loved my job, I was restless. I loved traveling, but, despite having summers off, never made enough money as a teacher to afford to do so as much as I wished. One day, during my third year of teaching, a colleague talked to me about a friend who was teaching in an international school overseas and loved it. As someone whom had always dreamed of traveling the world, this sounded like an incredible opportunity for me. I did the research, and it sounded great. I got my letters of recommendation together, updated my CV, joined an international teaching jobs website…and then chickened out.
Fast-forward several years. I was in my seventh year of teaching, and the general stresses of teaching were wearing me down. I remembered the idea of teaching internationally. I was 30, and figured, “If I don’t do it now, I never will.” I didn’t want to look back and wonder “what if…?” for the rest of my life. So, I took the plunge. I had Skype interviews scheduled with schools all around the world, but I really wanted to live in Europe. So, when I was offered the job in Berlin, I took it without hesitation.
The Brandenburg Gate, taken on my first day in Berlin, August, 2014.
My favorite part of living in Berlin? The travel opportunities. I had only been to Europe once before moving here (I visited Munich for nine days on a fantastic trip with a music ensemble that I played with in high school), so I had a long list of places I wanted to visit upon arrival in Berlin. I have checked off several of those places and visited incredible cities that weren’t on said list, but there are many that I still must see! Luckily, thanks to budget airlines such as RyanAir and EasyJet, getting around Europe from Berlin is easy and affordable (I flew round-trip to Barcelona for only €50 recently!). So far, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Vienna, Salzburg, Budapest, Dublin, Barcelona, Rügen, Münster, Dresden, Prague, the French Alps, Bologna, and the Netherlands.
Taken on a sailing trip in Holland in 2016.
What will you find on this blog?
This blog will mainly be about my experiences as an American expat living in Berlin. I plan to write about places I’ve visited, cultural differences I’ve encountered, events I’ve attended, having a dog in Berlin, my experiences in trying to learn the German language, and even some photography of mine. I’ll also occasionally write about my travels through Germany and Europe, both past and present. I hope you enjoy it.