Why don’t you like Berlin?

“But why don’t you like Berlin?”

I don’t like Berlin for the same reasons I don’t like most big cities. It’s dirty, expensive, and full of people. The streets smell like cigarette smoke, car exhaust, and literal shit. There’s rats. There’s no easy access to nature–

“What do you mean? Berlin is one of the greenest cities in the world!”

A park full of trash is not the same as nature. And as for the lakes and hikes within easy travel distance, well, they are packed to the gills on summer weekends, so they don’t really provide an escape. Anyways, there’s not many opportunities to try, since it’s just cold and grey and rainy for 7+ months out of the year.

“Ok, but there’s much more to do here. Why don’t you check out some of the bars or clubs nearby you?”

Well, I’m not a big drinker, especially when it comes to beer. I mean, it’s true, that if you are into clubs, techno, graffiti art (some of which is awesome, but the vast majority of which is trashy), drugs, beer, and punk atmosphere, then Berlin is definitely the place to be. However, since my interests don’t intersect with any of those, I don’t find much to do here. There are some things I like about it, though. the nice public transport, the museums, the varied food choices, the easy access to anything you may need, including many different hobbies… but for me, the positives don’t outweigh the negatives. There’s nothing wrong with liking Berlin, by the way. It has a lot to offer to some people. I just don’t think it’s for me.

“Maybe there isn’t much around your place. You should move to a nicer neighbourhood.”

Moving to a different part of the city doesn’t change the fact that I am still living in the city. Actually, I kinda like my location. There’s not much just nearby, but I have a pretty nice apartment, and it’s well connected. I am just a few minutes away from two of the more interesting areas in the city, and I roam around on weekends, exploring different areas. I haven’t seen anything that stands out to me anywhere around the city. Like I said before, I’m not really interested in the types of things Berlin has to offer.

“You don’t speak German, do you? You’re not trying to connect to Berlin.”

Actually, I do speak German. Not completely fluently, but it’s a start. No one here speaks German to me, though, even when I start in German. Many people here are from all over (which is one cool thing about living here), but it means that English is a very common language. People quickly switch to it when they hear an accent. In any case, I do have some hobbies I participate in, but even there, everyone is too busy to take time to connect. We all just move from one task to the next, always in a rush, sometimes without even speaking to one another. I don’t blame people for this; that’s just life.

“You’re just not giving it a chance! You should look on the bright side. Berlin is a place you can have freedom, which is not something ubiquitous. Some places are much worse.”

Yes, there are many worse places. There are dictatorships. There are also starving children in this world. But there are also many wonderful places full of clean air and nature and a healthy lifestyle. Much of the West, at least, and many other places too, have freedom. Freedom is important and we shouldn’t underestimate it. But freedom in and of itself is not a reason to like Berlin, in particular.

“You’re just too pessimistic. You need to change your attitude.”

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