December 12, 2013
Searching through some notes, German fashion writer & founder of Spruced, Marlene Sørensen, took right after she moved to Berlin, she claims “to call this city my own even though I wasn’t born here, because it’s too big not to give everyone their small slice of it.”
When I’d just moved to Berlin a little over five years ago, I wrote a piece for a magazine about why I had. I dug the feature out again, curious to find out what I had written. I was surprised by how many of my reasons for being here remain the same. The biggest of which is that it never felt like a place I merely lived, it felt like home right away.
I had been restlessly moving from city to city, from job to job, before I came here, never staying anywhere for much longer than a couple of years. Berlin’s restlessness seemed to match my own, welcoming me as one of many travelers who arrive here. I stayed and in the years since this ever evolving city has settled me. Its lack of interest in status (and cheap cost of living) has allowed me pursue the work I love instead of chasing a career. It has given me a family of fellow travelers who also stayed. A claim to call this city my own even though I wasn’t born here, because it’s too big not to give everyone their small slice of it. I has given me a neighbourhood full of favorite places that I especially like sharing with those people I meet that have just got here. Because you’ll always meet someone who hasn’t been here as long as you have.
Yes, I do moan about the rising cost of rents, about gentrification and losing a little bit more of my Kiez every time a new boutique opens in place of an old neighbourhood institution. But that’s the way big cities develop. And unlike other big cities, Berlin never feels cold and anonymous to me.
There’s something else that I love, which I couldn’t have known when I wrote that feature five years ago: Every time I leave to go somewhere else for a few days or weeks, I’m always happy that Berlin is the place I can return to.
If you’re by now not an avid reader of Spruced already, be sure to head over to Marlene’s precious place where she combines her passion for fashion and writing.