Where is your ‘home’ in Berlin?
It is my tiny room with an awesome view and two lovely roommates in Prenzlauer Berg. It is my little desk in the Studio Store where I have drawn so much stuff that my table is exploding. Home is my daily cycle through the Kastanienallee, Linienstrasse, and Park am Gleisdreieck. It is drinking beers in the sunset in Volkspark am Weinbergsweg and buying cherries at my favorite Turkish shop.
What does the word ‘at home’ makes you feel like?
It is funny to say ‘at home’ because the meaning of this word has totally changed for me in the past five months. It is interesting to see how quickly you can develop this feeling of being ‘home’. But when I was living in Holland home was my parents’ house with a garden full of flowers next to the forest and my own light room with a big yellow wall and my best friend as my roommate in a student house.
What do you think about the Germans?
What I really love about the German people in Berlin is that for them, ‘home’ is a lot more than just the house where their bed is. Especially when it’s spring and summer time, the whole city opens up and everyone goes outside to enjoy the sunshine. They are sitting on benches and cycling through the streets and it seems that ‘home’ is the entire city they are living in. Whilst in Holland people are based more inside and spend more time in their house and own gardens rather than, for example, going to a park and having their dinner there. Their ‘home’ is a lot smaller most of the time.
Is Berlin a welcoming City?
It did not take me that long to feel at home in Berlin. The first two/three weeks felt a little bit strange, just because I had no idea of the topography of Berlin, where to go and how to get there. I didn’t know a lot of people and it was still pretty cold out. But then I got to know the city a little bit better. I made some new friends. The sun was showing her face again. All that made my feeling change very quickly. I remember that after about 1 month, my sister, who is living in the Netherlands, came to visit me and I could show her so many cool little places I had discovered at that point. That’s when I first realized that I really felt at home in this city.
Any suggestions to make a new place your new 'home'?
I think a good way to make you feel at home is to make the place your own. So where ever you are moving, the first thing you should do is (before even unpacking all your clothes): hang up some pictures of you and your friends and family and putting up some art that is special to you. It makes the connection to the place where you are living at that point a lot stronger. Another thing that helps is getting to know your neighborhood and discovering things that you wouldn’t see on the first glimpse. Things like a beautiful big tree that is hidden behind some houses or a cute little coffee bar in a quiet street. I would really recommend to just take your bicycle and cycle around your area. Who knows what you will find!
What do you take back home?
All the amazing experiences and memories with so many different people and the feeling I will definitely be living here again at some point in my life. I am sad to be leaving and have enjoyed every second of my time here. It always feels a little bit melancholic when a chapter is ending, especially when it was such a great one.