April 24, 2014
After interior stylist Holly Isabella Glavin had moved to Berlin for work, she now calls it “a luxury of taking the time to put pen to paper, inspired to work on the 101 projects that have come to mind that week.” She suggests to just “walk into any café or boutique, and you will see someone who’s made their dream come true. What could be more inspiring?”
I definitely feel like I’ve lived a life here, not just a year. It all started with an email from a stylist I assisted, with the subject “If only I were 20 years younger” and it was a link to a styling position in Berlin. I applied and was so surprised when offered the position; I was 19 and running around London as an intern for Elle Decoration, and given four weeks to make the move to Berlin. Moving here was all such a rush, that in the madness I didn’t have time to create any expectations- a blessing in disguise really.
Moving to this city for work made it a little less daunting, knowing I had some purpose to my days and the chance to meet new people. I even met my utterly lovely best friend through work, the sort of friend you know will be there with you through all the great moments in life. I started my life here with said friend as pretty poor interns, and it does make you see the city differently- finding furniture on the street to ‘do-up’, discovering great little night spots with no entry fee, spending Sundays listening with much hilarity to the open air karaoke at Mauerpark.
I had one of those flat hunts that you hear nightmare stories about- after 8 months, viewings every week and hundreds of applications, not to mention some hilarious castings and unorthodox offers- I finally found my flat in Friedrichshain. I knew it was perfect because it was near my first flat which had been off Boxhagener platz, which really was the first place that made me feel at home in this city (my Achilles heel is a good flea market).
Working full time, any spare moments are all about exploring the city- be it a new exhibit at my favourite gallery Martin-Gropius-Bau, meeting friends at Street Food Thursdays, or wandering Neukoln in the hunt for great coffee, like at Roamers or Sing Blackbird. Berlin has given me, and many others I am sure, a real caffeine addiction. There are just too many amazing cafes, like my regular Mitte favourite, Oliv; I used to be a ‘Cappuccino-one sugar’, but now I am an ‘Americano- black’.
One of my struggles here has been adapting to the slower pace of life. Growing up in Soho, I was used to fast paced chaos- definitely not waiting for the green man before crossing (even one so cute with a hat!). Sunday brunching and strolls though have won me over; I have given in to what I consider a luxury, of taking the time to put pen to paper, inspired to work on the 101 projects that have come to mind that week. Though the pace is slower by day I wonder if this is because the average Berliner is conserving energy for the long nights ahead. It is entirely normal to get home from work at 8pm, sleep till 12pm, get up and meet friends at 1am and play out till the welcome of dawn.
I am sad to be leaving, but will always hold my year in Berlin dear to my heart. It most certainly has inspired me to believe my dream of running a young design agency and self-published magazine are achievable. Walk into any café or boutique, and you will see someone who’s made their dream come true. What could be more inspiring?