Our new place in the world is…. (drumroll please): Berlin, Germany! We are moving to Berlin, Germany. My mother actually left very recently to find us an apartment… We will follow very very soon! There, as you can imagine, are numerous reasons why.
Reason Number 1
My parents want us to be bilingual and keep it that way. While yes, we can speak, read, and write German, we tend to gravitate towards English more, seeing as we live in America. It would be even more difficult to keep up our German if we continued living in America. However, the adjustment might be a lot to take in at once, and to keep our English the way it is, Berlin has an awesome program called Europaschulen (European schools). These schools run an entirely bilingual learning curriculum, they are public and free (?!), and the choice and diversity is amazing… They have German-Portugese, Russian, Italian, French, Spanish, English (which is the one we’ll be attending), Turkish, Polish, and more. The Europaschulen are also required to have half native speakers (in this case, I speak English quite well) and half German speakers in order to remain balanced so that the language preference doesn’t tip one way or another. Because of this, they had room for me and I am going to the Schiller Gymnasium where I will follow the German-English track (they offer German-French too), and I’m excited about the 3 different languages on the playground! Audrey is attending the Nelson Mandela (German-English), highly coveted for its IB program. The little ones are hopefully going to attend a little Elementary school we like, specializing in the care-taking of animals, and they’ll ride ponies once or twice a week! The school ski trips are going to be fun too…
Reason Number 2 (in no particular order)
We have family in Europe, which is a relatively small continent as well. My mother’s family is in Germany (Duesseldorf and Munich, therefore creating a nice triangle), Italy, and Austria. My father has many aunts and uncles living in Holland and France. We will be just a train ride away (or a very short flight). Berlin’s schools also make the summer 6 weeks so that we have more vacations spread out around the school year, and I hope we use that time to go and visit them. Also, everything will be much closer to us… We could vacation in Scandinavia or visit Turkey or explore England since they are so close!
Reason Number 3
The quality of life. This is the one I’m least sure of… Will the mindset be different? Will the same old hamster wheel be there too? I know many cultural aspects will be different… Most stores are closed on Sundays, people like to have coffee and cake during late afternoon with their friends, and public transportation is amazing (I was on the El yesterday, and we stopped twice for delays and what-not, which is quite unheard of in Europe!)… Those are the first things that pop into my head!
My mom said our next place in life should be a place for us to “schlag unsure Wurzeln”… a place to grow into and stay for a long time. Berlin is still growing as a city, and I hope we can grow together in the years to come!