Warning! The following is a humorous text about the tragicomic experiences I had while looking for a room in Berlin. If you’re room-hunting and were expecting to find tips and resources, you might wanna check out this Facebook Group, where people publish new room offers every day
Let’s say it out loud: finding a room in Berlin is a bitch, especially if you’re a foreigner and your german is Scheisse. If you obsessively refresh WG-gesucht‘s home page every fifteen seconds and you’re haunted by words like Genossenschaftsanteil o Parkmöglichkeiten, then you know what I’m talking about.
I wrote three case studies to report my nightmarish experience, in the hope i can be useful or at least take some drama off the whole looking-for-a-room-process.
1) Horror Vacui
Vera and Katia welcome me in their huge, cool, ultra-furnished flat in Adalbertstrasse with a (stereo)typical cold german kindness. After some small talk in the kitchen along with the most typical interview-food (peanuts and gummy bears, never a surprise) we move to the room that could become mine. Once they open the door a mix of fear and disgust shows up in my face. Not only the room is smaller than Guantanamo cells and completely unfurnished, but the white walls are decorated with random schizophrenic stripes of color. It looks like one of the paintings from Ruby the elephant, from her post-modern period. The two hostesses turn to me asking for a first impression, and my mind goes completely blank. I stay silent like i did when the Analysis professor asked me to multiply matrixes (who am i? Jesus?). I stay silent, and I blow the interview.
The first golden rule when you’re looking for a room, therefore, is always being prepared to give a positive feedback about said room, no matter how terrible the first impression is. Of course this requires time, but with some practice you’ll learn how to hold on to the most insignificant details and still look convincing. And if you’re really, really out of ideas, you can always rely on one of the most classic but useless comments: “I like high ceilings!”. Even if you’re one-meter-and-a-smurf tall, therefore genetically suitable to live even in the seven dwarfs’ house, go with the high-ceilings-feedback and you won’t regret it.
listening to beach house’s music is like moving through a sunny forest of sounds. You don’t really know what to expect, but it’s all so poetic and delicate that you can’t possibly be scared of getting lost in it.
bowerbirds – tuck the darkness in
This Bowerbirds’ song carries a nostalgic flavour and brings back memories from gazillions of years ago. Sweet.
(1) Batman They have a whole freaking region called BATMAN, whose capital is a city with the same name! Mind. Blowing. Do you have a Batman, a Spider Man or a Green Lantern in your country? I don’t think so.
When he told me “think of a card”, clubs popped up in my brain. Spades looked too violent, in that moment, and hearts too cheesy. Diamonds seemed fine but maybe pretentious. I answered like I was answering those questions at a job interview and the theater was an office and the audience was human resources and I really needed that job. So clubs. And number ten just seemed a full, perfect, round number of clubs to hold in your hand. “Now close your eyes”, he said, “and focus on the card you chose”. I didn’t want to fail him, and tried to focus on that card with all of my will, although his voice distracted me and pushed my mind to places where it didn’t want to be. “Can you please remove your left shoe now?”. Why didn’t he ask me to remove my bra, instead? He could put my problems in some magic cabinet and make them disappear. The weight in excess, the blabbering, the annoying relatives, the loneliness. Abracadabra: all gone. I opened my eyes and took off my left shoe, inside of which was lying that ten of clubs i was obsessing about. Surprise, audience moaning, huge applause. “Thank you, you can go back in the audience and keep the card, if you wish”.
I solemnly swear, in front of both the readers of this blog, that I won’t step in Privat Club again ’till the temperature decreases of at least 15 grades. It’s a tricky mechanism, that this club in Berlin puts in action; since it’s very small you can’t afford to get there too late if you don’t wanna see the show from the cloakroom, but at the same time being underground and without air conditioning the risk of melting and dying down there shouldn’t be underestimated.