Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How's Berlin?

We've had a bunch of people ask us that recently, so I figured I'd answer it here.  Berlin is great!   We're almost completely unpacked/settled.  We have a few more light fixtures to hang and possibly another end table to buy, but our apartment is being lived in and loved.  We've officially worn it in and figured out all of it's kinks.  On top of that, we're enjoying living in Berlin, where there is a plethora of things to do and see.  We've bought bikes and it's starting to feel like fall.  

We've also learned a few things about our home country.

  1.  Germany is a cash society.   They're ahead of the times in almost everything else, but they still use cash as their primary mode of payment.  It's not as much of an issue with big payments, but we've definitely gotten the snake eye when we've tried to pay for smaller things with a card.  
  2. Germans are all about recycling.  Guys, we have four different trash receptacles in our house with the option for a fifth.  Trash, paper, glass, and other recyclables are all we have right now, but we have the option of composting if we want.  It's a lot to keep track of, but after a year sans recycling in Turkey, my heart doesn't hurt when I throw things away (even if they end up in the wrong bin).
  3. They're also all about plants. If you look at all of the balconies in our apartment complex, they're all covered with plants. There are big plants and little plants.  We're literally the only ones without them.  I bought a basil plant the other day and then it died while we were gone this past weekend, so I think we're just going to call a spade a spade and be plantless.  Plus, winter is coming so all of the plants will die, right?
  4. You can have your groceries delivered! I feel super pretentious doing it, but really, it's worth it.  Our grocery store is super small since it's in the heart of the city and doesn't have the selection that I need/want. Plus, I haven't learned all of the names of foods yet, so it's easier for me to do it from my computer than from the grocery store. Judge away.  I'm judging.  I still go to the Turkish market to get all of our produce, though.  
  5. It's all about bottled water here. I'm longing for my free and refillable water at a restaurant.  I guess the translation for "tap water" is something closer to "toilet water,"  so there is this stigma of drinking from the tap.  It's completely fine and we do it all the time, but if we go to a restaurant, we almost always have to pay (an exorbitant amount) for a (small) bottle of water.  It's usually more economical to just drink beer. 
Overall, it's been a pretty smooth transition.  There are a lot less tears than during our move to Turkey, which both of us are extremely grateful for.  We're still getting used to some things, but are starting to embrace others.  Mike has been riding his bike all over town registering for school, the university, and getting our apartment settled.  I've been running all around our house getting unpacked, as well as on the phone trying to renew my driver's license (don't worry, the DMV is just as miserable on the phone as they are in person), so although it hasn't been quite as exciting of a week, it's been productive.

We have our first visitors come tomorrow! We're super pumped for Steve and J. Leiu to come and stay with us and show them around our new town!

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