August 3, 2016

On moving across the Atlantic...

About six weeks ago, my partner and I decided to move to Berlin.  This was after I had spent a month there and felt reasonably confident that Berlin is:

1. A city I wanted to live in for several years
2. filled with genuine people that were kind and interesting
3. A city with sufficient job opportunities for both tech project management and urban agriculture research
4. and has favorable immigration policies for Americans 

The confluence of all those things, along with the availability of their "Job Seeker" visa and a relatively low cost of living made Berlin the right city for us.

It might sound like an exaggeration, but moving to another country feels like a full time job. This includes mountains of paperwork for the appropriate visas, apartment hunting from afar, bank account and wire transfer acrobatics and, most importantly, downsizing an entire apartment's worth of possessions into two suitcases.  Funny enough, my project management skills have come in handy and I've turned to trello to manage the dozens of tasks required to relocate and get settled. 

I'm now in the homestretch with less than one month left to go before I move. It has been great to not work while orchestrating this move but it also leaves a lot of time to worry about things beyond my control.

So here's what I've learned so far...

1. Germans love paperwork but if you come prepared and are incredibly organized, the process is quick and relatively painless.
2. Friends and family are amazing and I am grateful for their support at home and from Berlin. 
3. I personally need to step back from this whole process every once and a while because otherwise it would feel overwhelming and impossible.
4. Despite everything, I have yet to regret this decision.