2022 - A Year of Change

Bierpinsel, Berlin

After an uneventful start, apart from the now sadly traditional strike for better working conditions, the year 2022 turned out to be full of change. I stumbled across a job advert for a position at the Charité University Hospital in Berlin. Berlin has been on our list of places to move to for a very long time. I applied, was offered the job and we decided to move to Berlin. The next few months we spent resigning from our jobs, leaving school and preparing our move. Our stuff is in storage and the flat was successfully sold. Although we did worry quite a bit about the news of ever increasing unaffordability of flats and rising interest rates. We are very sad to have to leave our flat. The view was fantastic, the neighbours lovely and the location suited us very much. I could easily walk to work. I wish the new owners as much happiness as we found in that flat. Then, the day to leave Edinburgh came. I am very sad to leave our friends and family and all my wonderful colleagues in Scotland. However, I am not unhappy about leaving UK politics and Brexit behind and being able to look at it from afar.

We arrived in Berlin towards the end of the summer. It was hot, the city felt huge and everything was new. I quickly settled into work. The German bureaucracy turned out to be much more of a problem. I understand the need for paperwork and that having to start from scratch and filling out all the forms that we had dealt with one at a time over the years in Scotland is a massive task. However, we were not prepared for waiting times of at least three months for any kind of appointment. The administration of Berlin seems to be hopelessly overworked and understaffed. I am still waiting for my tax number to get sorted. The other two are also dealing with their bureaucratic issues: Rowan is in limbo because her appointment was cancelled due to a power cut; the next one is in May. Max is waiting to get his Nat 5 recognised. He was too late to apply for school at the usual time (by April) and we could not find a space for him in one of the international schools because he has got the wrong combination of foreign languages. We eventually found a space for him in a scheme that prepares young people for work. He is very much enjoying the hands-on metal work and copes with the very early starts. He will apply to attend a technical school in the new year. Felix has started his nurse training in South Germany. He is also waiting to get his Highers recognised but there is less pressure as they only need it by the time he finishes his course.

Otherwise we very much enjoy life in Berlin. I enjoy taking the S and U Bahn. I pass the Westhafen on most work days and love watching the industrial activity there. There is plenty of stuff to do. It is not far to go for walks in the Grunewald. After having been stuck in Edinburgh for a few years due to the pandemic, it is nice to be able to take a train to visit my parents in South Germany.

We shook up our lives in 2022. Hopefully our various bureaucratic issues will be settled soon and we can start re-establishing our lives in Berlin. I am looking forward to exploring the city. The spring will come soon and I am sure there will be opportunities for mini beastie safaris.

I am wishing you all the best for 2023.