Arrive in spring but expect nothing of the weather. Live in the nicest area possible—somewhere super trendy like Mitte or Prenzlauer Berg —because rent will only cost you 200 Euros a month anyway. Your room will be the size of a whole New York loft; your apartment will take up the whole floor of a building. If you want to live alone, get an apartment somewhere like Wedding or Neukölln—the rent will be the same for the whole place as it is for one room in Mitte, and it still doesn’t take any more than half an hour to get anywhere else in Berlin on the subway.
Learn how to pronounce the names of all the boroughs and metro stations. Ease into the language, realize it’s not so difficult and find that reading menus and street signs comes quite naturally. Embrace your newfound love for the German language but also revel in the fact that you can have a lively conversation with a German person—you speaking English while they speak German—and walk away not knowing exactly what happened but that it was lovely anyway.
Go to Humana, the 4-storey thrift store, and buy a whole new summer wardrobe for under 20 Euros. Buy a furry hat if you see one—you’ll need it for winter. Start visiting galleries and feel relieved that there are no lines or crowds, but that the art is just as good as anything in New York. Go to the Turkish markets and buy 8 chicken breasts for 5 Euros. Buy Turkish tea and fresh vegetables. Start feeling incredibly sane and relaxed.
Start partying as it gets warmer. Get to the club at 3am and don’t leave until midday the following day. Wonder how you’ll ever keep up with this sort of party lifestyle. Go to Berghain at least once. Get a bar job in an illegal club and start going to underground parties where the walls sweat and people like Dan Deacon play for free. Start to genuinely love electro music.
Now that it’s summer spend your weekends in the park. Go to the flea markets at Mauerpark. On your way get a coffee at Bonanza Coffee Heroes; when you get to the market get a freshly squeezed orange juice for 1 Euro. Meet your friends on the grass when the sun is high in the sky and start drinking beers. Have a picnic. When you’re a little bit tipsy chug an extra beer for good faith and do Bearpit karaoke in front of hundreds of people.
Be upset when summer ends abruptly. Start having dinner parties and drinking lots of red wine. Read lots of books and watch lots of movies. When you go outside, wear absolutely everything you own. Refuse to leave the house during December and January; leave the house anyway. Realize that despite the paralyzing cold, Berlin is absolutely beautiful in the snow, in its way. Go to the Christmas markets and drink gluhwein.
Be overwhelmed by the history. Walk everywhere or get a bike and ride. Drink in the street. When you finish your drink put the empty can/bottle under the trashcan so the homeless can cash it in. Live cheaply. Live calmly. Live like you always dreamed you would.