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Upon Moving to Berlin

I felt cornered and unsafe in Washington. The pavement felt hot and everything seemed like it was falling apart. Most people I knew I felt like I didn't know. The others had moved away. After all that has happened, I gladly took an opportunity to sublet an apartment in Berlin.

W made all the arrangements. W friend moved me into his former apartment. I never really thought about it, but I am here as a direct result of W's time and energy and I am beholden to him.

Of course, I speak no German and have never had any passion or dream to move to Germany. That said, moving here does satiate a lifetime desire to expatriate to Europe. The vision was Paris, but Berlin is said to be the new Paris, the new New York, the new San Francisco.

I guess I moved from one Nation's Capital to another, Bundeshauptstadt. From my first impression, Berlin might well be as saturated in international intrigue as it was twenty years ago. It rings of subtext and safe houses. It smells of statecraft and spycraft. All underground railroads seem to lead to Berlin. They call it multiculti but I think that maybe Berlin is a safehouse all its own.

It really doesn't matter. The city is civilized and safe, the people are generous, and all the trains still run on time. Below the surface, however, there is something going on. I just received my residency papers and I will be required to perform 300 hours of language training and 50 hours of German integration training.

At the end of the day, I think the secret to becoming a Berliner is to receive the 300 plus 50 hours gladly and with a certain amount of civic and national pride. Otherwise, I fear, to not gladly integrate can result in some prejudice from both the government and her people.

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