Berlin, where the streets speak a thousand languages and multiculturalism is the blueprint of every
I found myself at Juan Santamaría airport in Costa Rica on June 6th, 2018. For the many who had already experienced the sensation of flying, everything appeared to be normal. For me, however, it was not the same feeling.
It was my first flight and quite a journey this would be, where I was going to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
The ocean I sure love, but it was still my first plane trip. And once on the plane everything just went dark. I was filled with mixed feelings now that I was leaving my country and heading towards the unknown that I had only seen on TV.
Later, after hours of travelling, we landed in Frankfurt where we soon boarded the flight to Berlin. The same feeling about flying came back to me but this time I was way happier about it. But I was obviously a bit tired because of the experience of having travelled for the past 12 hours.
Once I was in Berlin, I began my first steps in a city that was so gigantic and full of things to do.
In these first three months I had endless experiences, ups and downs, moments of insecurity in this country that was totally different to the one that I was used to in the twenty-five years of my life. It has been a very positive experience as I have been able to live in different parts of Berlin and gotten to know very friendly people, just like I have come across people on my journey who were not so friendly.
The first weeks I lived with an amazing family - the Batkes. They are incredible, and they welcomed me into their home in such an amazing way. Having been part of this family made me understand how some things work here in Germany. From simple things such as how to use the dish washer to how to access health care.
Everything has been like a new world to me. Every situation, every moment is new to me. I enjoy it and try to learn as much as possible. On occasions, the big city engulfs me, and the nights become long and tiresome. The mornings are a bit more tedious and the trains are full of emotions for a new day. They really are full in the mornings. I think in winter a train journey with that many people will be very pleasant especially as we’ll be a bit warmer, even if very close to each other. This would not bother me, but it is still something that is very rare here in Germany.
Later I moved to Neukölln, which is a place in Berlin that is very busy. It is there where I noticed that the streets speak a thousand languages. You can hear an endless amount of languages as you walk down the street. Simply put, the streets have so much life in that part of Berlin that I was astonished.
There is a lot of movement there and the neighbours told me that there are gangs around that sell drugs and do other things that are not so good.
Now I live in Wedding, a district that is thirty minutes away from the office. It is a nice place. What I like about it is that I share the apartment with a guy from Iraq and three other German guys. I think I will have a good time with them and I will learn a lot. More and more experiences continue to be added to my life and I will take advantage of every opportunity to grow as a person.
For now, life goes on here in Berlin with volunteering in the office of VISIONEERS e.V. where I’m trying to do the best I can while adjusting, which is not very easy for a young person that lived in a very small town in the Costa Rican Central Pacific and that wasn't used to what a city like Berlin really is.
It is going very well with the young refugees. Although I can’t communicate well in German, we understand each other because of the affection that we show each other, as well as the simplicity and humility I communicate. And this is how I was able to establish more profound relationships. For that part, I’m very happy to know that in one way or another I was able to give something, knowing that my situation is a bit like the one of the refugees, as many of them are in Germany without their relatives and live alone in this concrete jungle that I call Berlin.
I am continuing to adapt to everyday life in a city where art and culture seem to be forever in love, where the streets speak a thousand languages, and where every smile is worth a lot. A smile here can change the day and transform the atmosphere. It can even cause chaos for being all so uncommon in a context of respect, love, and understanding for one another.
I thank the people who read this quarterly report and I urge them to also be part of this change. The world is full of ambitious people who act like it doesn't matter what happens to other people because what seems to be important is only their own life without giving anything back. Let's be another piece of the puzzle in a world with an aim to be more multicoloured; be it in very unusual ways where every single piece is important in piecing together a better planet.