Choosing a new city to live in and call home is a decision best not made under distress. Coming closer to the deadline that’s been locked in for move date, freedom from this country feels so very near, yet there is still that underlying, uneasy feeling; that the ‘wrong’ place might be labelled as ‘home’. Many influences have of course been helpful, and many others have instead left me confused and rather bewildered. There are so many options! There is so much to consider! Yes, choosing a new home is quite an overwhelming milestone to mark, with the time fast approaching.
Melbourne has been the preferred city of choice for many reasons, surpassing other options that have been weighed which are the likes of Berlin, coming in as a close second, and also Vancouver, Los Angeles, Japan, and Thailand, have been considered seriously. While all these places have a fair bit going for them, the conclusion has been made thus far, that the ultimate decision lies in a cultural face-off between Melbourne and Berlin.
Melbourne is somewhere that I have lived before, and, in fact, it still feels like home. The economy is strong and the people are friendly. Cultural and creative events are a constant and vibrant part of daily living. There are countless small, secret alleyways through the city and surrounding suburbs, where surprises of incredible street art and hidden bars, cafes, art galleries and other secret treasures wait to be discovered.
Melbourne’s Yarra River
Food is a factor. After some recent and exacerbated health problems, my gluten intolerance must be taken more seriously and endeavours be made to comply with the way my body functions. (In the mean time, faith must be kept in science that there will one day soon be a cure.) Melbourne accommodates for a frustrating diet of restriction easily. In fact, I have never been to any other city that has offered more choice. A small bucket list for Melbourne bars and dining is currently under construction by my own hand, and is growing larger almost daily.
Horse and cart rides can be taken through the city and central suburbs – almost like something out of a fairytale. How fucking magical is that!? Melbourne is a city that is beautiful, magical and familiar, and I would feel confident moving over and starting a new chapter in life there on my own. Thanks to the luck of being a New Zealand citizen, there are absolutely no visa issues to address. And, as mentioned earlier, it feels as though my heart is still there. It still feels more like home than anywhere else on this planet right now.
There are some downsides too. Or… well, perhaps just one to confess. That is, I may have to face the potential of running in to the love of my life. It scares me. Only because we have not really spoken since our break up in June. I miss my friend that I had in him dearly, and I do not know how my mending heart might take another encounter (or an avoidance of encounter) with this particular person. That said, Melbourne is a big place, and we are different people, so there is some reassurance in knowing that this new chapter in my life could easily be built around things that won’t run a likely risk of us crossing paths. Who knows, perhaps I should be so lucky that the sting might have been numbed a little more when the time comes to move.
The other cities mentioned before certainly have some appeal to them as well. But the close second, Berlin, is one that my fixation draws upon. Berlin was explored briefly during my travels through Europe back in 2011, and even though it was only a couple of weeks spent in the city, a connection between myself and it was strongly felt. There is a massively strong cultural and creative following that is ingrained in the lifestyle I was exposed to there. The city is full of quirks and secrets and an exciting, rich history. German sausage is delicious, and there is so much of it there! Likewise for German beer – surely they must have some gluten free varieties? Berlin also happens to be close to many other places that I wish to explore. And contrary to the status quo, I find the German language to be quite fascinating and even pleasant.
It is a move that is considerably more daunting. It is on the other side of the world, after all! Culture shock may be endured, but also welcomed. The winter months may be harsh and will involve snow – one extreme of the weather spectrum that this girl has not experienced for nearly twenty years (I don’t even remember the snow!). A visa would need to be organised. Berlin holds a weaker economy than Melbourne. And as much as I do like the German language, it would be difficult to grasp and may create a barrier to finding work and settling in. The idea of living there seems almost like an unobtainable dream, but I know it might just be possible. A visa can be acquired, language courses can be taken, and extra layers of clothing can be bought. ‘TO LIVE IN BERLIN’ …excitement and a sense of liberation comes from even simply writing these words.
As I feel my fingers ticking away on the keys, a different plan is beginning to take shape. One that is the same as my initially planned ten years… But somehow Berlin has squeezed itself in there among the early stages. On the plus side, a year or two in Berlin would give me the opportunity to explore that side of the world before getting a bit more settled. It would give my heart more time to heal, which, if I’m really honest, is needed very much. So there is promise that may allow for both cities to be accommodated for, after all.
To throw caution to the wind across the planet, or to play it safe across the ditch? I feel both options are possible, but that perhaps Berlin may be best kept a dream… Surely though, there are some factors that I haven’t thought of yet that will help in deciding whether or not to accommodate this potential realignment of my future.
Should you have any advice to give or light to shed on my impending endeavours, be it regarding the move, on the city of Melbourne or on the city of Berlin, I would be curious to hear your thoughts so that a more useful perspective might be gained before making this decision.