My first year in Berlin in 10 songs (part 1)

1. the war on drugsCome to the city

I grew up in a small, quiet village and I know the advantages of living in the countryside; I actually come to miss it, every now and then. But at the same time I’ve always known that my place had to be in a dimension where ridiculous, dangerous, unexpected things happen, where stories clash into each other and possibilities are so wide that you can’t even start to imagine them.
The city is definitely my place, and whenever I listen to this song by the War on drugs I immediately flash back to my first months in Berlin. There’s a vibrant, sleepless, alive mood attached to this song and that’s the same mood I got when I used to walk through the streets of Mitte by myself, right after work.

Take me back to the one I love. It’s not far, it’s on the way. I’ve been ramblin’

2. fiona appleFast as you can

I was in a dark place when I came here. I was trying not to think about it, and maybe I was not so conscious of it, but those were the very first times I got to meet and experience my own rage. Being lied to and cheated on was hard, but that was actually just the ignition to a fuel I had been accumulating inside of me for years. Being picked on at school, discriminated in my neighborhood, isolated, all of these things were time bombs waiting for the right moment to explode.
Listening to this song made me relive that explosion and getting in contact with a violent, cruel, merciless side of me that I certainly didn’t know before and had big problems to manage.

I let the Beast in too soon, I don’t know how to live without my hand on his throat

3. st. vincentCheerleader

For me, this song is about claiming independence, and independence was definitely one of the key elements of my first year in Berlin. It’s not about living by myself or being far away from home as much as being able to deconstruct some limitating, dangerous paths that my mind was educated to follow.
There were so many persons, habits and beliefs keeping me down and keeping me from being myself and starting to question them was an hard but necessary thing that needed to be done. I had to take a step back and ask myself if everything I was told and taught was worth supporting, and sometimes the answer was a big, solid “no”.

But I-I-I-I-I don’t wanna be a cheerleader no more, I-I-I-I-I don’t wanna be your cheerleader no more

4. hey rosetta!I’ve been asleep for a long long time

I wouldn’t say I was wasting my time in Italy, but something definitely changed in the way I use my time and energies since I moved. I’m more eager to learn, start things, take chances and get challenged by life. Somehow I found the strength to turn remote dreams into actual plans and to live life in a more proactive way.

I shut my eyes for a moment’s rest cause I get so tired. But what things transpired while my body slept?

5. norah jonesBack to Manhattan
This is a song about infidelity, but it’s also a song about dualism. It’s about being attracted by two different worlds and not being able to choose between them. I think every expat knows this feeling way too well. When you come to have two places in the world that you can call home, you end up never being home and always feeling incomplete. There’s Italy and there’s Germany, and even though I had to make a choice my heart never actually did.

I should go back to Manhattan. It’s just a train right away. I know nothing about leaving, but I know I should do it today.