So I’ve spent the past month and a half in Berlin. It’s been an outstanding and rewarding experience. I highly recommend Berlin for anyone looking to have a wild time for cheaper than some of the other major cities of Europe.
Berlin as a whole offers so much for anyone looking to cut loose and experience what happens when a whole mess of artists, musicians, filmmakers, vagrants, techie’s, writers, and communists take over a metropolitan city.
Tomorrow I head to Prague for five days. I’ve managed to connect with some people out there through contacts I’ve made in Berlin. Super excited to get back on the move, however after Prague I head back to Berlin for about a week to get my freelance artist visa for Germany so that I can work in Berlin and also can stay in the Schengen area of Europe for more than the three month tourist visa allots.
I now have a place to stay in Berlin whenever I need, be it permanent, or just when I’m in Berlin for work. I feel so international guys!
This last week has been spent stressing over my visa paperwork, hence the lack of blogging. It’s a hell of a process, fortunately I have someone that is helping me with it out here. I complain about how much stuff I need to make this German visa happen, but in truth the process for people to live and work in the United States is a million times more difficult. From what I understand they put European citizen’s lives under a microscope. Which doesn’t sound too nice.
About eight years ago I had taken off after I had graduated from Collage and tried to make a life for myself in London, however just a few months prior to me leaving, the US Government in all their wisdom decided that our country should no longer allow British Citizens to come live and work in the United States, so due to that action taken, the United Kingdom cancelled their work visa that they supplied for Americans wanting to live and work in the UK. So I have been shut out once before, so I am hoping this go around with Germany will bare fruit…fingers crossed.
I went to the SWAG Jam where I had been the special guest in April one last time this past Tuesday. It was a really awakening experience. I’ve come to know so many people in this city and that night reflected as such. Everyone I ran into replied, “You’re still here!” When I told them that I am planning to move to Berlin, many offered to help translate or go with me to get my visa if need be. It’s this way of thinking that has really impressed me so far with Europe. People seem a lot more helpful. They are more invested in others than we are back home.
Too often living back in the States have I felt that we have devolved into a culture of cutthroats and selfish beings. We don’t look out for each other anymore back home. The social climate back in the US is one of “If I don’t get it, then they shouldn’t either!”, “No one is going to help you, because no one helped me”, it’s counter productive. I’ve found that ultimately collaboration and inclusion is going to help you more in the long run than just taking and taking at every turn.
I’ve also noticed that when I talk to people back home and tell them about how things work out here and the different little idiosyncrasies that make them different from us, the reply is often kind of dismissive or simply as my brother would reply brusquely, “that’s weird”.
But it isn’t in reality. In reality they have been doing what they do for longer than we have in many respects. They have been where we are and know where we are going. Because they know their history.
I hate to bring up Trump when I’m writing about Berlin, but he has been a topic of conversation out here. German’s generally simply respond “Have you guys not learned from what we did?” The answer to that is evidently, “NO”. We pretend that he is any different than Hitler, but he isn’t, they are both using the same devices to divide and conquer.
Also I grew up thinking that everyone wishes they were American or that they lived in America. That my brothers and sisters is a MASSIVE lie. They don’t hate us or anything like that, they love our music and entertainment, but that is were it stops. Most have little desire to ever live in America. Many have and moved back because they didn’t like it.
They also don’t seem as defensive as we are. I bring up Nazi’ and Hitler and no one gets defensive and tries to justify it or even explain it away, of course there are still Nazi sympathizers in Germany, but obviously they weren’t the types of people I spent any time talking to. They still have their rallies and demonstrations, but are mostly laughed at and beaten back at every turn.
Europeans seem to look at Americans as this group of youngsters that haven’t learned from their mistakes yet. I’ve been asked if when we are in school if slavery is talked about in length and taught about how terrible it is, and honestly, I can’t really remember us having intense discussions about slavery and the civil war in school. The teachers talk about it of course, but it isn’t beaten into us the severity of what our ancestors had done to people. Most American’s below the age of forty don’t know what the trail of tears are, or what Nat Turner did. Whereas in Germany students have very intense schooling on the vile nature of WW2 and what they had done and how bad it was. I think if we had more time in school spent on such things, we would be better off in the long run. It’s a lack of education that has us behaving the way we are behaving back home.
You meet someone who is a teacher in the US and often you just feel bad for the students they are responsible for. Many teach in the America simply because they don’t know what they want to do with their lives, others it’s a stop gap before they head to something better. How smart can the kids be, if the teachers and their parents are idiots?
We have a lot to learn as a people this experience has taught me. The idea that grab everything you can for yourself and don’t worry about those around you, is dangerous and I can see it corroding not only my home, but I see it happening to myself. I can see that selfishness in my actions. I see it in the actions of everyone I grew up with, it’s becoming a part of us. Parents preach being a good person and treating others as you would want to be treated, but they don’t practice it themselves. So their kid never takes them seriously.
We’re obsessed with being number one. Anything that isn’t the best is discarded. We don’t try and build on our short comings, we go and get surgery so that we don’t have to work for anything.
I’ve really enjoyed the lack of heavily applied make up out here. Back home not all, but many women, spend far too much time putting on a mask before they leave the house. Perfection is the goal. And this absurd idea seeps into every aspect of our lives and attitudes. We cry foul when we see people protest or even riot, because that isn’t the “appropriate” way to behave. Yet we don’t look at the situation before we open our big fat mouths and think about how we behave and how we would act under similar circumstances. We use terms like UnAmerican or Anti-American, yet we don’t stop and think about the fact that using those terms because of someones beliefs or actions, we are being more UnAmerican than those that we criticize.
A friend of my father said that, Germany is what America was supposed to be, and I am slightly inclined to agree with that. They have more freedom than us that is for certain. It isn’t even a comparison. By law you have to have health insurance in Germany. They get far more time off than we do from work. Don’t get me wrong, they have plenty of assholes and idiots in this country probably the same percentage that we have, however they understand this and put laws in place so that those people can’t take as much advantage of others as we can back home.
Overall I could NEVER live outside of the US forever. I could definitely do a couple of years though so as to travel and see the rest of the world (which is my plan at this point). But in the end I love my home too much to not want to go back. However most Americans I’ve talked to who live here have no plans on ever going back and many are adamant that they will never live in the US again. Particularly Black Americans. They seem to be having a much better go of things out hear as opposed to back home. Which I can completely understand. Many back home think that things are equal and that racism is dead, but in truth those people are stupid. I’m sorry if you are reading this and disagree, but you are wrong. So I can’t blame them for leaving.
I’ve had people back home tell me that I should stick more to keeping this blog a travel blog and maybe not get too serious about things on here…but that just isn’t going to work. Being out here makes me think of my home and my culture and what I love more than ever. Seeing things run differently forces the thinker to scrutinize and draw comparisons to their own culture. It’s a big part of why I came here. In short I’m still searching for answers in life. I don’t think I’ll ever get those answers, but I’m enjoying trying to find them.
Jeru, one of the greats. I got to chat with the man for a bit, really cool dude. He’s a regular at the SWAG JAM at Badehaus. Dude just jumped up on stage and started flowing.