Berlin golden handcuffs

It’s time to say goodbye to Berlin and Germany. This time for real.

A bittersweet feeling has developed inside of me ever since I saw Berlin from the airplane window, two days ago. Even though I practically moved to Italy already for a few months, sending that Abmeldung (deregistration) form still took a heavy toll on my mind.

Sending a signed paper makes it official, especially in a “paper-friendly” (let’s call it that way) country like Germany. A country which I have always admired since I was a child. Some sort of instinct always told me I would eventually end up here. And I did, luckily.

Germany has given me so much, first in Munich and then in Berlin. Spending the best part of my 20s here has been crucial to my personal and professional development. For that, I will always be grateful to my hosts.

I arrived in 2013 with a suitcase and a hostel bed booked for a single week, nothing else. I leave now with the realization that it was the right decision to come and stay.

After some time, however, it can also be a good decision to leave and move on. Germany has over time become an uncomfortable comfort zone, whereas now Italy ironically feels like a foreign country to me. And I’ve always been attracted by foreign countries.

The fact that I’m sad about leaving Berlin, but leaving nonetheless, means that what I’m hoping to find in Italy is worth the jump. It also means that, even though I leave many good things here, I am taking a risk to find and achieve even better things in Parma.

To the friends I’ve made, to the colleagues who had to endure my rants about German food, to the people who have played an important role in my life: thank you.

To the wunderbar Berlin, thank you. I thought I wouldn’t like you at first, but that feeling quickly went away and was replaced by a deep appreciation of your history, people, and quirks.

I still have personal interests in the city, however, and hope I can visit every now and then. As time goes by, the nostalgia will make everything sweeter, and leave that hint of bitterness behind.

As I’m writing this, I can see the monkeys from the Berlin zoo playing, from the office here, close to the Gedächtniskirche. My mind goes to Schlesi, to Friedrichshain, to Prenzlauer Berg, to my first flat in Charlottenburg. It goes to Hopfenreich, to Mauerpark, to the nights out, to the short summers and the ever-present grey sky. To the company parties and the start-up life. To the Friday beers, and to the impromptu Feierabend drinks. To the tram tickets which you could only pay with small coins, and to the U-Bahn that brings you home at any hour of the night.

It goes on and on, and puts a smile to my face.

It’s time now to turn off my work computer, hand it over, and go back home. Still with a smile, though.

To Parma. To a new life. To a new adventure.