As of today, I have completed one week in Berlin, Germany. Berlin is a city known for its museums, architecture, street art, and diversity.
Why I am in Berlin? I am in the capital city of Germany for an MBA degree. My whole life I have been all about trying new things that push my limits. I like living on the edge with the future being as unpredictable and as bold as possible.
My journey started on 12th December, when I boarded a flight from New Delhi to Frankfurt. Why Frankfurt you ask, why not a flight to Berlin? Well, I wanted to carry 2 suitcases with me and Frankfurt allowed fulfilled that requirement.
The struggle has been too real for me and the following were the things I faced:
- The first step was leaving the country, its people and its language behind. The very fact of when will I be coming back to my mother country is unknown. I left with the hope and desire that I can be at a better place in my career and life to make the lives of the people I love better and easier.
- I took a train from my Hometown (Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh) to New Delhi with two suitcases weighing 23 kgs each, a backpack weighing 8 kgs and a sling bag weighing around 4 kgs for a better life, a life I couldn’t have in India. I even refused to let my brother send me off at the airport in New Delhi because I thought moving to Berlin and starting a life there on my own was more daring than him dragging my luggage and seeing me off.
- Then, I boarded my Air India flight (8 hours flight) at 1:30 PM after bidding goodbye to my best friend aka Me Puta (Sabitha). The flight was smooth with regular food intervals and Harry potter in Deutsch audio.
- I reached Germany by 6:00 PM. Confused? Well, India is ahead of Germany by a 4 hours and 30 minutes time difference. I realized I didn’t like the chilly weather and the people as soon as I arrived in Frankfurt; homesickness is the culprit here.
- I took a train to Berlin but I accidentally took the wrong train which made my whole night a nightmare. I was supposed to reach Berlin by 10 PM. But instead, I reached Berlin at 7:00 AM on 13th December. What happened you ask? Well, at night, Germany’s ICE (Inter City Express) was going under construction. So, between 12 AM to 3:30 AM I was waiting at a Railway junction with a temperature (of -7 Degrees). I was completely freezing to death while the people around me were Druggies coming and going while asking for money. The thing that was keeping me fearless was my friend (DK) on the call for the whole time I was waiting. I almost lost my foot to frostbite.
- I finally reached Berlin Central Station and my friend DK came to pick me up, we took a cab (FreeNow) and came home. My whole body was aching and after having travelled for +40 hours (including the time difference), I took a shower and went to sleep with the help of the TV show FRIENDS.
- The next day with my friend DK I went shopping for essentials and Alcohol to help with my body ache. One interesting thing happened on my 2nd day: As I and my friend were exiting a Supermarket (Lidl), a White Guy said to us in English: “We don’t need you here, go back to your country”. This incident literally made me scared since people were already staring at us and now they were saying things to us. Due to this, I didn’t want to go out of my apartment alone.
- The next two days I spend indoors trying to get better and adjust per the German time but no difference yet. I am still on Indian time, and as soon as my clock strokes 6:30 pm, I start to get sleepy; mind you, in India, it means it’s 11:00 PM. And I wake up at 3:00 AM, which means 7:30 AM in India. I genuinely need to work on it.
- On my 4th day here, I went outside for the first time on my own to my college (IU International University of Applied Sciences, Berlin). The most annoying thing is I don’t have a German Simcard yet with me, so, if there is no WiFi around me, I am like a dead fish. All I can do is use common sense and read the board signs to figure out where I want to go and hope there’s WiFi around when I get stuck. So, I went to my college and got the admission letter and a travel card (free to travel a Bus, Tram and U-Bahn (Basically anywhere in Berlin)). I travelled by Tram without a ticket :p, and by U-Bahn (Metro) with a ticket which I was able to get with a little help from my Punjabi friend whom I stumbled around at the station. Since, when you ask Germans for help they reply with “Nein English”.
- My first restaurant in Berlin was Yogi Haus. Finally, a place where I can speak in Hindi and be super chill. The ambience was totally Desi with portraits of Hindu Deities, Women, the Taj Mahal and Madhuri Dixit. I ordered Samosas with Mangos Lassi, it was the best meal ever.
- It’s been a while since I had Indian tea, so today I went to an Indian store named Punjab SuperMarket. I went there by Bus and had no internet connection of course but common sense. Funnily, there were no Punjabi people there rather german-speaking people, so I was disappointed but I found Bhindi (Ladyfinger/Okra – 1 kg for 7.04 Euros (Kindly don’t convert into INR, you will be shocked)) which was the best thing that happened to me ever since I came here.
Fact: You know when a person is suffering from Depression, only he knows what pain she’s going through. The same was the case with Indian slang, I was cussing openly with nobody giving a flying fuck. The happiness of speaking Hindi and eating Indian food in a foreign land is priceless.
- I must say travelling in Berlin is super easy with different modes of transport available at your disposal. People around stare but they are harmless and the streets are properly labelled making it easier to places and back home.
FYI: Do not wear leather during snow or rain, because they damage your clothes/shoes.
HABIT: Whenever I buy something I cannot help but convert Euro into INR just to know how much money I am spending. It never fails to give me a heart attack.
Blessing in Disguise (Technology): WhatsApp has received so much blessings from parents, siblings and friends. They never fail to mention how Video calling has made keeping up with me easier and simpler. I would like to add that Google Map is another Angel helping people like us settle down properly here.
I am still getting used to Deutschland and its super cold weather but so far, I am doing better than ever. Always carry your passports with you and remember to travel with common sense and full consciousness. Do have a proper system while keeping up with the inflation rates for sending money to your Landlord (in case, you are sending INR to EURO.)