Lately I’ve noticed how life has slowed down drastically from when I was first living here in Berlin. I think of time in week long chunks. What am I doing this week, what about this weekend? When I first moved to Berlin I thought of time in terms of hours and days. What should I do this morning? What should I do this afternoon? Where am I sleeping tonight? Life seemed to move more quickly. Don’t take me wrong, I’m not complaining. I would say it was thrilling, and in a way it was, but that would partially be looking back with rose colored glasses as they say. Everything felt faster and more thrilling because I had no stability.
Now I have stability. I’ve got my own apartment, a job, a work schedule, and social commitments. Both lifestyles have their advantages and disadvantages. I’m definitely able to go out and do more stuff here than I was able to in South Carolina. I can get a cheap plane ticket and in 3 hours be in an entirely different country with a different language and culture. That’s not to say Berlin doesn’t have a million things for me to do, there’s always something entertaining and interesting going on here, but it’s also cool when you realize just how wide of a range of experiences are available to you within a relatively small travel radius.
One of my side projects has been building up my apartment. I love furnishing it and creating my own space. Each Saturday is my one day a week to work on projects; where I’m off work and the stores are also open. It’s while working on these projects that I’ve started to realize some small difficulties about being an ex-pat living in Germany.
I kinda miss are American hardware stores. There really isn’t anything like a Home Depot or a Lowes in Berlin. Nothing on that scale with low lumber prices. There’s a store called Hellweg, but it’s much smaller than any of the Home Depots or Lowes, and is a combination of those two stores and a Petsmart. You can get bathroom fittings and a pet rabbit in the same store. The lumber there is also ridiculously expensive and small
I like to research everything before I buy or build something. I blame video games. I love to compare equipment and the stats of that equipment in video games. Same goes with real life gear. The problem that I’ve run into is that all of the reviews I read (in English) are oriented towards the US and US markets. Sometimes there will be UK reviewers, but that’s also not very helpful to me. I recently was looking and purchasing a new projector for my home theater setup. All the English language forums and reviews were focused on the US market. All the how-to’s for building projector screens and other things had shopping lists full of US brands that you could only get at US stores. It’s really difficult for me to figure out what the German equivalent of those products and stores are. I don’t immediately know where I can find similar products.
This whole thing just really emphasized to me just how US focused much of the internet media I consume is. I spend most of my time online browsing reddit, listening to podcasts, or watching youtube videos. They’re almost all in English and aimed at an American audience. It’s a new and interesting feeling for me. Kind of like I’m on a island peering at another island through a looking glass.
(But god am I happy to be on my island, because shit on that other island is crazy)