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On Berlin’s Cultural Diversity

If I was asked to describe Berlin in terms of weather, I would need only one word. Bipolar. After nine months in steady warmth and sunshine day in, day out, I am back to Europe where the weather changes almost within hours. The day may start clear with a blue sky and sunshine only to turn grey and cold a few hours later.

But even on days like these, I can still find things that make me smile. Yesterday was such a day.If there is something that I really like about Berlin, then it is the cultural diversity that one can find all over the place. Not only because of the tourists but also due to the nations that live here.

I have seen such a lovely example yesterday and it inspired me to write again.I went to an Asian nail studio  just like every month. I really don’t mind having to wait until it’s my turn in these places.

I can just sit down, observe the people a bit and listen to the music that comes out of the speakers so loud, I can almost feel the vibration of the sound waves. Usually the music is some Asian pop which sounds very interesting if you ask me.

It was the same yesterday, until I heard some familiar melody. After several Asian pop songs there came a Russian children’s song. However, it was some sort of club version of it (in Russian language). I never knew that Russian children’s songs can be tuned in a way that would make them suitable for clubbing and I was even more surprised to hear Russian music in an Asian (I am pretty sure the girls in there are Thai) nail studio.

That cultural fusion surprised me so much in such a positive way, I couldn’t stop grinning like an idiot and I couldn’t even explain to the ladies why I did because I wasn’t sure whether they could understand me if I did.

So that incident reminded me of how many different cultures one can find in Berlin, which I find pretty amazing.I used to live in a district that could be mistaken for Turkey sometimes.

There I heard Turkish being spoken everywhere, there was a Turkish bank, hairdressers for women where the windows were covered by curtains so the women could take off their hijabs, and men stood at their “helal”  fruit and vegetable stands, as market criers with a heavy Turkish accent.

Now that I have spent some time in Saudi Arabia, I also sometimes think to recognize Saudi women in town, especially now that I know what an abaya is and can tell Arabic apart from Turkish. I have been back for about two weeks and have already spotted 6 Saudi women.

On the contrary there are also parts of town that look so much like my home in Eastern Europe. I always enjoy going to a Russian grocery store, through the streets full of Soviet Russian architecture, and buy some of the products that I grew up with, while listening to people speak Russian to each other.

I also enjoy being on the train and see tourists come in with their backpacks and cameras, discussing where to go next in fluent Spanish or Portuguese.No matter how  grey and cold days here can be, all the different languages, customs and cultures always bring back some color into our lives and this is what I really love about this place. 🙂

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