Sydney to New York to Berlin.
Joe and I were in the depths of an immigration nightmare. He had outstayed – and we had both outgrown – Australia, and I wasn’t allowed back on American soil without some form of visa/approval/impossible bullshit piece of paper that proved I’ve never kissed the lips of satan or pinched a police officer on the ass.
We were at a loss and unsure of our next step. We had few alternatives; moving to the outback to pick fruit wasn’t ideal, and fleeing from the authorities to another world would leave a mess in our wake. But the decision to move to Berlin happened upon us as somewhat of a joke.
I had been to Berlin before and was enamoured with its creativity, food, and uninhibited attitude. One night, I suggested we move there out of frustration at the bureaucratic chaos that is Australia and the US, and we laughed, but then it gradually became apparent that moving to Berlin was actually a lot easier than staying in either of our home countries.
So, we quit our jobs, packed our junk and moved to Deutschland.
We left sunny Sydney in November and flew to the land of pizza and beer for three weeks. We saw family, cooked and ate not one, but three, Thanksgiving feasts and gradually acclimatised to the crisp New England air.
We made visits to the big city and out to the lakes. I baked pies and we walked the dogs among friends and falling orange leaves. It was all very romantic.
After yet another round of farewells, it was time to prepare ourselves for shitty plane food and uprooting our (somewhat already uprooted) lives again.
I was elated. Having developed the habit of tiring of places quickly, a new destination was just what I wanted. Sydney is beautiful, but for me it’s just so small. The beaches are stunning, the food is fantastic and the weather is almost perfect, but Sydney doesn’t stimulate or inspire me in a way that makes me crave to stay. It feels very limiting, I suppose. As though there are only a certain amount of opportunities and a certain amount of challenges available to those who are interested enough. I needed fresh opportunities, new scenery, food, people and surroundings – but what a cliche. I knew there were already thousands of Australians pestering and frustrating locals all over the city, and I was soon to join them. Loud, nasal accents already consumed the cafes and bars. But I digress. The Ugly Australian Abroad is a whole different conversation altogether.
We arrived in Berlin on a blue sky day in December. I was soon to discover this was a rarity, but for now I was fuelled with excitement and impatient to start exploring my new home. I dragged my suitcase over the cobblestone streets, taking in the pungent smell of kebabs and cigarettes and attempted to ask local shop owners “how to get to Mainzer Strasse” in a German accent unhelpful to anyone, most importantly the people receiving it.
Finally, we had made it to our first apartment in Berlin.
And so, our beginning begun.