I can remember those first few days so clearly. It snowed constantly, and was cold as hell. The awful French woman I was renting a room from didn't believe in heating the apartment to a livable temperature, so I had to buy a hot-water bottle, several pairs of wool socks and a heavy sweater... and I remember preferring to huddle in bed under the wool blankets rather than sit at the desk or on the couch that was in my room.
In the past two or three months I've begun to finally feel comfortable here, as though Berlin is finally 'home' to me. I know my way around now, and have a handful of people who I can call friends.
The language no longer poses SUCH an impossible barrier. Yesterday I made a phone call to T-Online customer service to get help with setting up my router, and the entirety of the conversation was conducted in German. It doesn't matter that the router still doesn't work despite all of our efforts – the point is that I could understand and be understood (over the PHONE no less, which is far more difficult than in person).
Also of note, I've gotten used to typing on a German computer keyboard. Trust me, it took a while, and I still miss having the apostrophe and quotation marks in easy-to-reach places, but I no longer have to worry about getting my z's and y's right.
I feel like I've just scratched the surface here, though – there's still so much I want to learn and do.
I've finally begun to get my 'painting legs' back. For the majority of the year I've been creatively constipated, but things seem to be running a bit more smoothly now. I've invited a fellow artist/curator to stop by this weekend to talk 'art' and maybe make some plans to put a show together. Hopefully something good with come of it.
You know, I feel like I'm finally in the place where I expected I would be two or three months after I arrived. Funny.
Would I do it all over again? Yes! Although I'm really so glad I don't have to... I like where I'm at now and certainly wouldn't relish having to deal with all the paperwork and legal process (although I know there will be more of that in my future if I continue to stay here) or orchestrating the shipment of 40 paintings across the ocean, or tying up all the countless loose ends left in Chicago from a pay-phone in a Berlin call shop. All of THAT I will happily leave behind me.
But when everything is said and done, I am still SO glad I came here :)