My third and fourth weeks in Berlin have been difficult! After the initial excitement of arriving, I have had enormous trouble accommodating the local culture. Despite these experiences being relatively indulgent, they have had really big affects on my mental health; I’ve had to work really hard lately to battle depression and loneliness. Here are a few:
The diet is very centred around carbs, most specifically breads and cheeses. As a vegetarian who prefers to eat vegan, I have felt so bloated for the past four weeks! Vegetables and fruits are very fresh and inexpensive, but the majority of food I have been eating has been making me feel quite ill. I think I’ll have to buy new pants!
This is the hottest summer Europe has experienced in a while and without air conditioning in most buildings, my apartment, or public transit, it is extremely fatiguing to go about one’s day, or even to breathe.
The men can be very aggressively forthcoming and it can be exhausting trying to ward off their advances with a language barrier.
After the initial shock of having to bag my own groceries at the market (ha), I still haven’t loved having to walk a mile carrying them heavily on my back. In the heat.
The 7-8 time difference has proved really challenging in maintaining my old relationships. My boyfriend and I decided to break up because of the pressures it placed on us.
There aren’t any opportunities for free public water save the occasional bathroom sink and oftentimes I feel dehydrated. Additionally, bathrooms usually are not free and paying a euro for one can be a bit frustrating sometimes.
I really miss peanut butter.
In all, these aspects of living abroad have given me so many opportunities for introspection and learning. I think everyone can benefit from navigating through discomfort. I certainly have a different perspective because of these experiences.