There are basically two types of expats in Berlin: Those who came planning to stay for a certain amount of time (be it three weeks or a couple of years) and end up staying forever and those who do two years Berlin. Doing two years Berlin doesn't necessarily mean you stay exactly two years (though this would be the maximum). It just means Berlin is simply a way station of coolness where you can buy a straw hat and hang out in Mauer Park or cultivate some dreds and strum a guitar on Admiralsbrücke until you go back to where ever it is you come from where you can forever brag at parties that you once lived in Berlin.
Us old time expats can sometimes get a little bit grumpy about the two year Berlin expats. They rarely ever learn more than a little street German and don't really get involved in the culture here (I may complain a lot about German culture, but at least I know what I'm complaining about ;) ). In Berlin you can definitely live in a cultural glass bubble, where nothing you experience really affects you or changes your world view, something that seems all-too-typical with these two-year-ers. Still, we shouldn't be too hard on them. After all, Berlin is pretty damn cool, something I was reminded of last night when I took a little bike ride through Gräfe Kiez and SO36.
It was great to see people on the streets and along the canal, enjoying the warm evening of what had been a very hot and humid day.
I also liked the vibe at Manouche, a French creperie on Grimmstrasse. Cool, arty folks and a great jazz band playing on the street (I read a review online where an American complained that the service had been surly and ridiculously slow, something which is all too common in Berlin. When he complained the waitress said "Can't you see we only have two stoves?!?" He asked for a glass of wine on the house to make up for waiting so absurdly long and she basically laughed in his face. No my friends, in Berlin the customer is most certainly not king!)
To finish off the evening I had a burger and fries at the Turkish run Kreuzburger on Oranienstrasse. Seeing the guy below in a Deutschland t-shirt reminded me of what is starting today: The World Cup! Fussball fieber!!! I am not really a soccer fan, but the World Cup really is fun as it is country against country. I watched a ton of games last time and was really rooting for France. Plus, it makes me feel nostalgic because Miss Mia was a WM baby (Welt Meisterschaft in German, or is it written together? This can be confusing sometimes...), conceived sometime after the Finale. WM 4-ever. Go Germany!