3. August 2011

Moving Berlin

God, it's been a month since my last post!
There was just so much happening during the last weeks. Lots of drama. And finally the inevitable decision to leave Berlin.

Berlin... it was the city of my dreams when I was about 17. On my first visit so many years ago I admired everything, Berlin was so extraordinary, so huge, so different from the tiny little town I grew up. I thought, everything must be possible here, and no one will turn around and whisper behind my back whether my hair is blue or red. It was during the first years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I stayed in the eastern part of the city and it really was kind of inspiring, new, fucked up but beautiful.

When I finally moved here in 2003, things had remarkably changed. Prenzlauer Berg was no longer the home of artists and alternative people, but of all too normal people that wanted to get a glimpse of creativity they themselves never had. And things are still changing, and not to the better.
Friedrichshain is now some kind of "party quarter" for stupid people wandering through the streets at night, filled up to the top with cheap alcohol, yelling and shouting. The once so nice bars are now filled with tourists and drug addicts. And everything has become expensive suddenly, the rents even for the worst apartments have almost doubled and the flea market at Boxhagener Platz is no longer a place to find heaps of cheap old books and kitsch but a tourist trap.

Prenzlauer Berg has become even worse. Once poor artists lived here, normal and alternative people, the Gründerzeit houses still had tile stoves and on winter evenings you could smell the burning brown coal in the air. Today things are completely different. "Hip people" fill the streets, daughters of doctors and lawyers with strange designer clothes, wearing winter boots the whole year round because it is "so stylish". They sit in cafés with their macbooks instead of their friends. Bars are no longer bars, but "lounges". You have to pay at least 600€/month for a tiny flat with 2 sticky rooms in the 3rd backyard with a view on waste containers - hey, but you live in "PrenzlBerg"!

But the worst thing is: People themselves have changed radically. They are ruthless. Your neighbors don't like techno "music" in the middle of the night? Hey, I don't care! If they complain they can have something in the face! (in the very meaning of the word, believe me!)
People are beaten to coma or death just because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, and just because someone doesn't like their face. Neonazis fool around, aggressively and stupid. Thousands of dogs just shit on the sidewalk because their owners are too lazy and/or too ignorant to clean away their dogs crap. The whole city stinks. 
And look at the faces! Almost no one ever smiles. People look sad, angry, resigned, provocative... but never happy, unless they've taken enough drugs...

No, it's just time to move on. To leave the things behind that don't support you, that harm you. I want to live in the countryside again, I want to surround myself with sheep. Really. I want it to be possible to enjoy absolute silence - something that is never present in a city like this.

There's a lot of work to do still. But if everything works out well, I'll be leaving in the first days of september.
Goodbye Berlin. I loved you once. Now I hate you.

Keep in touch!

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