A Year in Berlin

An Englishman abroad


Okay, Germany isn’t Somalia and Berlin isn’t Mogadishu. Granted. But in preparing for the move to Berlin, I have been struck by the collywobbles more than once. Call me a wuss, but it’s true. Here’s a list of some of the worries that have struck me, usually quite randomly and almost always in the middle of the night:

  • What if it all goes wrong?
  • What if it all goes right and we don’t want to leave?
  • What if I love it and my partner hates it (or vice versa)?
  • What if we can’t support ourselves and run out of money?
  • What if it ends our relationship?
  • What if the postman has a package to deliver, hits the intercom but can’t speak English?
  • What if we only ever spend time in the apartment and never see anyone else?
  • What if we only mix with English speakers?
  • What if we go crazy without the imposed structure of a job?
  • What if we get locked in to earning a crust and never do nice things?

In the case of the Wuss Police v Ian Hawkins, I would like to add that the concerns above are only ever expressed by a little voice in the back of my head (a little voice, not Little Voice – the Jane Horrocks character). I’m pretty confident about all of them. I just thought I’d write some of them down.

But seriously, it does feel like a big deal to be moving abroad. At times, anyway. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with feeling like that. But it’s all relative. When you go to Berlin, you meet lots of people from other countries. All of a sudden, it’s not so adventurous after all. It’s a well-trodden path. No big deal.

I should also say that I’m not the only one to get the collywobbles. Between Christmas and New Year, we had 24 hours handling the stomach-churning thought that our apartment had fallen through. Yep, our landlord had split up with his partner, he was moving out of her apartment and had to withdraw our rental agreement. I’m pleased to say that the agreement is back on. We’ve been left feeling a little more vulnerable but the mini-saga reminded us of our priorities.

No matter what happens, we will make it to Berlin. At the first sign of a threat, we were ready to stick up for our plans. An apartment is a crucial detail and we feel very pleased with the one we’ve found, but Berlin is full of apartments. We’ll do whatever it takes to get there.

I should also add that I’ve always been prone to the collywobbles. Usually, these are due to my perennial thoughts that I’ll never be this age again, I can get run over by a bus tomorrow, what have I done with my life and why have I spent most of it working on things that don’t really interest me?

I learned at the weekend that a good friend has cancer. He/she is only in his/her late twenties and I’ve been pretty stunned by the news. Of course, I’m rooting for his/her speedy recovery. (I’m also feeling uncomfortable even using my friend’s situation as a blog device – I apologise).

I’m reluctant to sound too bleak (for the sake of my friend and the treatment he/she now faces) but if you want to do something, find a time to do it because there might not be a next year. Or in a best case scenario (the one I’m believing in for my friend), you might have to take a year out from those plans to recover from something serious.

Put a collywobble next to something like cancer and you start to feel pretty stupid.

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This entry was posted on 11/01/2011 by in friends, health, language, Uncategorized, worries.
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