Michael Grande – IIP Berlin Blog 7 – Individual/Personal Issues

It’s crazy to think that I only have four weeks left in Berlin, and it doesn’t even feel like I’ve been here for seven so far. Earlier this week I dragged Sydney with me to come to the Reichstag after work (because we love it so much) but unfortunately the lawn was closed off. Yesterday, I ran a 5k in Berlin (Firmenlauf) with my coworkers, and I was so thankful that they invited me to run with them. My body, however, is not very thankful today and reminding me how I am so constantly out of shape. It was so cool though to be able to run through Berlin’s shut down main streets. Interestingly enough I was able to kind of make more sense of where things are in Berlin by running around the Tiergarten and got to see some really cool little Berlin spots along the way.

Berliners in general I have found to not be very openly friendly – at least not as much as people are in the States. I’ve had to dial back small talk and just being casually friendly because it’s just not how they operate around here. However, yesterday was different because crowd of people watched the race from the sidelines and cheered on participants, and it was so refreshing to see people in Berlin supporting one another. It reminded me that even though they might not show it in the same way we do, everyone here does care about others and treat people with a neighborly vibe.

As far as encounters with people by being a foreigner, I would say that it depends on the region in Berlin. We live in West Berlin which has a much older crowd and the people are most definitely not as friendly. However, I went out for beers with my coworkers after the race last night in East Berlin and the vibe was much more lively and welcoming. My coworkers also noted that they most commonly hear English being spoken in the East side, whereas I definitely hear more German in West. They don’t really treat you any differently being an American because they are so used to encountering people of different cultures. Berlin is definitely a melting pot of cultures and everyone seems to coexist peacefully, at least from my perspective. This weekend I’ll be staying in the city and exploring some more and I bet y’all can’t wait for next week’s update.