Flip Flop Flying

Gotta go

with 46 comments

So, it only took one day without football for my view of Berlin to return to its pre-World Cup stance. I’ve gotta go.
I’m at a stage where great things can happen, but a couple of small instances of frustration will black-cloud my day.

When I think of Berlin as an abstract thing, I think of a great city. A city I enjoy walking around, a city with big parks, lovely wide pavements, and some interesting things to see and do. But my Berlin isn’t that Berlin. My Berlin has become a city where I find myself angry and grinding my teeth.

The World Cup was/is a plaster over the wound. Suddenly there was a feeling of overt joy around the place. And despite finding the black, red and yellow of the German flags hanging from cars and windows all over town to be the aesthetic equivalent of being cattle-prodded in the ribs, I’ve enjoyed seeing people being surprised and happy with their team’s performance.

I have to accept, though, that my Berlin is over. My Berlin is one where someone cutting me up on their bike makes me really angry; a Berlin where holding a door open for someone with a bicycle illicits a look of disgust not a smile or a thank you; and a Berlin where someone will be watering the plants on their balcony just as I’m walking underneath. These things happen in every town, but Berlin has ground me down too far, and these things linger like the taste of beer and cigarettes from the night before. I need to get out as soon as I can. And once my work schedule reveals a gap, that’s what I’ll do.

Written by Craig

June 29th, 2006 at 12:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

46 Responses to 'Gotta go'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Gotta go'.

  1. Which begs the question…where to? Im sure you’ve come up with candidates.
    Remember youll never see the Reds in the US ;)


    29 Jun 06 at 12:46

  2. Anonymous

    29 Jun 06 at 13:15

  3. berlin has always been a bitch of a city.

    folks there make fun of everything and everyone, like calling the now demolished “palast der republik”, the most prestigious building of the former gdr, rather disrespectful “erich’s lamp shop” (referring to the 1001 lamps in the foyer), or these days the german chancellery “the chancellor’s washing machine”. such attitude can be refreshing, but i guess annoying on a day-to-day basis, for also treating one another in such disrespectful manner.

    kleiner freund

    29 Jun 06 at 13:47

  4. It sounds like the inside needs to get fixed more than the outside. Remember you’re taking yourself with you wherever you go and once the varnish of novelty has worn off you’ll be back with the same old you…
    Just a thought.


    29 Jun 06 at 13:49

  5. As a former Berliner growing happier to have left the city behind with each passing day, I can assure you that there’s a great deal of sense to your impulse. Although there is “cool” to be found in Berlin, on a daily grind level, it’s just not a good place to be. I tested the theory and it works.

    Happy to have left the misery behind,

    P.S. – Top alternate destinations: Anywhere the people strike you as genuinely friendly and good hearted, cause nothing else matters much.


    29 Jun 06 at 14:42

  6. I picture you in Mexico. I can’t explain why.


    29 Jun 06 at 15:09

  7. Speaking as someone who has lived in several different cities — move! There is no reason to stay in a place that makes you unhappy. There are so many alternatives.

    The only caution I’d give (and this probably won’t be a problem with you, but I’ve seen it happen a lot) is not to idealize “the one” perfect spot. Everyplace has problems. It’s just a matter of finding a location where the pros outweigh the cons (for you).

    And now a shameless plug: may I recommend the U.S.? We need more creative, artistic types, and we’re very accepting of foreigners–um, from Europe. I can provide the inside scoop on both coasts and 3 “flyover” states.


    29 Jun 06 at 15:20

  8. It’s the same everywhere – you just grow in and out of things as you get older. Go with your gut feeling!


    29 Jun 06 at 16:38

  9. Dear Craig!

    as long as you stay with us, you can go anywhere that pleases you…

    It (your blog) felt a bit like you would be moving soon for a while now – mabye make a list of things that you look for (rather than the list of things you hate about Berlin) and post it – even if it’s just to see how many people come up with “good advice”…




    29 Jun 06 at 18:15

  10. how very odd, i was thinking just the other day how odd is seems that you are an ‘Englishman in Berlin’ and that you didn’t seem to have a reason to be there particularly…

    I’d say go somewhere totally different. The Congo or something. Canada, Iceland, Tokyo…


    29 Jun 06 at 18:17

  11. Or Belgium.


    29 Jun 06 at 19:05

  12. watford


    29 Jun 06 at 21:38

  13. I’d like to try living in a foreign city. But the only person I know who’s done it (friend from university, lived in Paris) found it pretty hard too.

    I still want to live in New York though.


    29 Jun 06 at 22:54

  14. What about Hanni? Is she going to move with you?


    30 Jun 06 at 00:50

  15. Hallo hallo! I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I just want to say that we are gonna own Germany tomorrow/today. I love the German Nation, its history and the way of living, but tomorrow you get the boot!

    I’ll post again after the mach. See ya!



    30 Jun 06 at 04:28

  16. Just like to put in a plug for my own small country. New Zealanders are some of the friendliest people in the world, I reckon. And it’s beautiful. And it’s not yet in the Pictorial atlas….


    30 Jun 06 at 06:17

  17. Being half-German, half-Argentinian, I still totally disagree with Gabriel.
    Germany will win today.

    Yet Buenos Aires might be an interesting option for you, Craig. How’s your Spanish? ;)


    30 Jun 06 at 09:54

  18. Ever been to Cologne? If you’re not fed up with Germany altogether, why not come here for a change? People are generally quite relaxed, open, warm and friendly, it doesn’t get as cold in winter as it does in Berlin and we have some cool things too. Admittedly, our pavements aren’t exactly wide.


    30 Jun 06 at 10:12

  19. Thank you all.

    Lee: I’m not 100% sure yet, but NY or Brighton are the likeliest candidate cities for the 2006 Official Evacuation. But then, everyone expected Paris to get the Olympics, so you never know.

    Anon: Never been to Swansea,

    Kleiner Freund: I love the Palast der Republik, it’s so sad that it’s going going gone.

    Anon: You’re probably right.

    Anon: Glad to hear leaving Berlin was a good thing for you.

    Alex: I loved Mexico when I was there, but I was a big scaredy cat pussy in Mexico City. Scared of getting robbed. And the thin air and pollution made me feel ill.

    Kelly: The US is incredibly tempting, just getting a visa isn’t as easy if you’re freelance.

    Alex: Yeh, I’ve been thinking about it for quite a while now. Just need to get out of a funk and get on with it.

    Paperlily: Congo… there’s a thought…

    b7b: If I stayed in continental Europe, Belgium would be top of the list.

    Anon: Never been to Watford. Can’t say I ever will.

    Paul: Yes, it can be hard, but it’s worth it. I’m very glad I’ve lived in Berlin, I’ve just been here too long.

    Anon: No. That’s very old news you missed out on there.

    Gabriel: I hope that Argentina win too. It’s time for the German flag waving to come to an end. And Argentina are so much better at football.

    Anon: Probably a bit too far for me, New Zealand. It’ll get added to the Atlas one day. At the moment, I’m preparing lots of Atlas stuff in the hope that it might one day be a book – a real atlas! That explains why I’ve not updated the website version for a while.

    Patrick: Vader was Luke’s father, but he didn’t turn to the dark side… Use the force to support Argentina!

    Ulli: I’ve spent about 40 minutes in Köln, waiting for a train. Nice cathedral.

    Thanks again, everyone.


    30 Jun 06 at 11:17

  20. I think the idea of listing what you’d need is a good one – but could you keep it serious!

    Magic Door

    30 Jun 06 at 11:39

  21. I don’t quite understand what you mean.


    30 Jun 06 at 11:43

  22. Craig,
    Brighton – yes. New York – definitely. If you can get a Visa. I’d also hugely recommend San Francisco – it’s not merely full of Village People, honest.
    Hope things perk up for you wherever you go. and when things get you down, remember all the great things you’ve done – particularly ‘A Bench’.
    Cheers – Ian.

    Ian Mac

    30 Jun 06 at 11:46

  23. I’m tempted to say: Gosh, a whinging Brit in Germany, whodathunkit?

    But I think the real issue is: yer head is just readying you for a change.

    The Big A

    30 Jun 06 at 12:23

  24. Momus

    30 Jun 06 at 12:36

  25. ^^ Fucking Momus. I said HI to the man as he came out of the Spaetkauf in my building last week and he just acted as though the eyepatch was clouding his hearing.

    The Big A

    30 Jun 06 at 12:43

  26. Nick: I agree with a lot of what you wrote. My head knows Berlin is great and loves loads of things about the city. My heart’s just not in it any more.
    There will be a lot of things I’ll miss about Berlin when I go, and I’m certainly glad I’ve lived here. Everything I wrote is about how I exist in Berlin, not Berlin itself, really.


    30 Jun 06 at 12:56

  27. Chicago is way cheaper than NYC, and tops in many other ways, too.


    30 Jun 06 at 14:53

  28. You said, “I will go to another land, I will go to another sea.
    Another city will be found, better than this.
    Every effort of mine is condemned by fate;
    and my heart is — like a corpse — buried.
    How long in this wasteland will my mind remain.
    Wherever I turn my eyes, wherever I may look
    I see the black ruins of my life here,
    where I spent so many years, and ruined and wasted.”

    New lands you will not find, you will not find other seas.
    The city will follow you. You will roam the same
    streets. And you will age in the same neighborhoods;
    in these same houses you will grow gray.
    Always you will arrive in this city. To another land — do not hope —
    there is no ship for you, there is no road.
    As you have ruined your life here
    in this little corner, you have destroyed it in the whole world.

    Constantine P. Cavafy (1910)


    30 Jun 06 at 15:18

  29. i love brighton, but i do fear that too many tools have decamped there in recent years. it has too much of a ‘scene’ now – it feels forced.

    how about hastings? or even whitstable?

    probably not margate.


    30 Jun 06 at 15:24

  30. The appeal of Brighton is the friends that live there more than anything.


    30 Jun 06 at 15:26

  31. Although driving is a nightmare. Brighton is the only place to drive that fills me with total fear. There and Soho, infact. But equally once you’re out of brighton the driving is blissful.


    30 Jun 06 at 15:46

  32. Hastings?
    I hear it’s “up-and-coming”
    Doesn’t look it to me.

    Ian Mac

    30 Jun 06 at 17:26

  33. new york is the best! while it can be expensive, it’s only expensive if you don’t go to the right places. There are a ton of free shows in the summer–like the beach boys–and a ton of museums. plus you’d be able to go to a ton of yankee games.


    30 Jun 06 at 18:50

  34. new york craig! sounds like brighton is a ‘retirement’ kind of place. am i right? i’m sorry to hear that you are unhappy. but it is exciting to move to a new place!!


    30 Jun 06 at 18:56

  35. I highly recommend any quieter place just in reach of New York, preferrably somewhere North of.
    Along I-95. Like Norwalk for instance.


    30 Jun 06 at 20:05

  36. Yep, I adore New York. All the benefits outweigh the cost.
    Yuko, Brighton is lovely. It’s like the best bits of London by the seaside.


    30 Jun 06 at 20:16

  37. Yeah, what about Hanni?


    30 Jun 06 at 23:39

  38. If you’re ‘anonymous’, then I don’t know who you are; thus it’s none of your business.


    30 Jun 06 at 23:55

  39. wanna be my roomate?

    miss p


    1 Jul 06 at 01:38

  40. Awww, we lost :( We dominated great part of the 120 minutes, i dont know why the Germans got exausted after that, being famous for his stamina and we had still enough endurance for another 30 minutes.

    Well, must say, another black day in Argie football history. At least I hope Brazilians will not get another cup, i’d hate to stand them if the do (i have lot of Braz contact at work, sadly).

    We are going to be pissed off for the rest of the world cup at least. It is so unfair to draw a match and lose in the penalties when we played so well. I can not say we played bad, and that’s the worst thing about it. Perhaps our Mister was a little afraid of losing. Crap.

    I did not like the attitude of the Argie and German players (with that german no 8 doing with his had like “yack yack” to Sorín, our captain). I believe europeans are still jealous of south american quality with the ball, and even winning they mock on us :(

    Good luck with Italia, beat them! they are here because a gift and against a so weak rival like Ukraine, they dont deserve to be tob 4! Sadly, i believe this match exausted the German team a lot and they will pay for it.

    Well, siamo fuore, un giorno tristisimo. :(




    1 Jul 06 at 04:37

  41. Crap, and July 9 is my birthday. I believe i’ll get that LCD for present, because i wont have the World Cup :(



    1 Jul 06 at 04:39

  42. Stockholm, surely?

    Matt Sephton

    1 Jul 06 at 12:47

  43. I can testify that Whitstable is where it is at. Loads of art going on, a nice beach with NO amusement arcades and a normal amount of yoof getting pissed and shagging in the weather shelters. I would say it is up three pegs from Brighton. I’ve never regretted leaving London to move back to where I was born. There’s a lot to be said about the holiday atmosphere of a seaside town.



    1 Jul 06 at 22:49

  44. Craig, Honey, I was going to say that you should come to Seattle, which is lovely right now, but I see that everyone else has provide equally appealing alternatives; if nothing else you have sympathetic friends in many places.


    2 Jul 06 at 07:14

  45. Wow, I hate to hear you’re feeling like this, but I spent a month in Berlin and I hated it to its core. I enjoyed being “in” Berlin, discovering the city, but I absolutely hated the people (not as individuals but the vibe that they send out as a group is draining). I thought I’d have an easier go since I speak a little German, but it was just unpleasant. Folks in Vienna were so much nicer (and that’s saying a lot because the Viennese aren’t known for being warm and friendly). I was so happy arriving in Berlin and making way through Berlin, but when I left Berlin en route to Brussels, I was simply ecstatic! I’d never been so happy to leave a place! I agree that life is too short if you don’t like it there move.

    Devise a plan and move on. I left San Francisco after grad school. I loved it there, but I felt I needed to live abroad. I’ve been in the same country for awhile but in Seoul for just over a year. However, I’d be out of here in a heartbeat if it were causing me major angst. In fact, things are pleasant, but I’m setting up a way out…probably the UK is next for me. I hope you find a better fit in another city.


    2 Jul 06 at 08:51

  46. Brighton’s the place to be. Good luck wherever you end up. :)

    Simon John Parkin

    3 Jul 06 at 18:14

Leave a Reply