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[0:09] So welcome. Hello, How am I pronouncing your name? Right?
[0:12] Hello, Asta. Our first. Am I pronouncing your name right, Asta? Really, Asta.
[0:16] Yes, better than most people here. Yeah, it's Asta.
[0:18] It's faster. So I tell people it's like pasta. Ah that's a nice way of saying it.
[0:20] So I tell people it's like pasta, but just remove the p Astha So nice to have you, you sent us an email in which he said.
[0:24] That's that's easy. Pasta. Aster. So nice to have you. You sent us an email in which you said I am lonely, I'm summarizing here, I'm summarizing.
[0:27] Astha So nice to have you, you sent us an email in which he said.
[0:34] Oh my God, that sounds bleak, but yeah, pretty much that's what happened.
[0:35] I'm summarizing.
But yeah, pretty much. That's what happened. Why not bring you on and let's talk about it.
[0:41] And then we thought why not bring you on and let's talk about it, let's talk about it, let's find some friends.
[0:41] And then we thought,
let's talk about it, Let's find you some friends.
[0:48] Yeah. So tell us what um what inspired you to reach out to us and like what is like your story?
[0:49] So tell us what, what inspired you to reach out to us and like what is your story?
Sure. So I am really new to Berlin I moved,
about four months ago with my husband and it kind of happened randomly, like there was no plan to move to Berlin In fact, we weren't even thinking of moving anywhere in europe, you know, we always wanted to move out of India,
because we had spent pretty much our entire lives there,
and we wanted to, you know have new adventures and things like that, but um we, we weren't sure where we wanted to go and then the pandemic happened, so we had no plans at all.
And then um my husband was working with the a german team, so he got fascinated by the idea of moving to a place like Germany, he's also uh,
uh he loves french, so he was also, you know romanticizing the idea of maybe moving to France.
So he just started looking at openings on linkedin,
and he started applying and I was like that's,
I mean okay, whatever that that's not how it works, but.
[2:01] Where in India Where are you Based?
[2:02] So uh we were both working in Hyderabad but we are from different cities, like I'm from near New Delhi, uh he's from Bangalore, so north and south.
Um but yeah, so he applied to this uh startup, Berlin based startup and they reached out to him and one thing led to another, I mean he,
interviewed with them and it went really well and they sent us a job offer,
and we were like, what, what's happening?
Like this is so weird, like do people actually just hire people like that?
And I think post pandemic, this is happening quite a lot.
[2:42] Can I ask what his qualifications are? Because we talked about how it's it can be extremely challenging to find a job, but also depending on your job, you know, it might be easy.
[2:42] Can I ask what his qualifications are? Because we talked about how it's, it can be extremely challenging to find a job, but also depending on your job, you know, it might be easy.
Yeah, so he's a technical writer, so it's like a specialized skill,
like you need to be a really good writer, but you also need to understand the tech world work with developers, so it's more on the tech side, which is why there was like a shortage of skills like that. Yeah, exactly.
[3:07] Yeah, he has a niche type of thing he's doing. So they sent us uh job offer and then um we applied for the Visa and they were helping us with Visa and the relocation surreal.
[3:11] Um so they sent us uh the job offer and then um,
we applied for the visa and they were helping us with the visa and the relocation and it was also surreal,
because in my head, I was like, what's happening with Yeah, and then when we got the Visa, it was like.
[3:25] What is happening I'm being moved to a different continent.
[3:26] What happened? Everyone is moving here.
[3:33] Oh God, it's really happening, like this little piece of paper is like kind of,
changing our lives and then suddenly, you know, like if you imagine like a stop motion montage of just like our furniture getting packed up and us just leaving the house and saying goodbye to our families and just getting on a plane to come to Berlin.
And all of this happened within three months.
So it was so sudden and then when we landed in Berlin we were like, how did this background change for us so drastically?
[4:05] Had you ever visited Berlin before, because jay at least had been here on like one week trip and fell in love with the city.
You just moved here, sold all your stuff, I suppose, and just moved your entire lives here without ever having visited the city.
[4:17] Yeah, yeah, so we hadn't ever visited Germany,
we had visited other countries in europe, like we had been to um we had been to Prague Belgium Amsterdam paris all that.
So I I knew what europe is like, so I was excited and it's such a different world.
I mean when we landed here, I mean for the first two weeks I was like a delirious puppy, just like, oh my God, look at that and like.
[4:50] That's how I felt in India by the way, so yeah, totally, it's a different world, yeah.
[4:53] Oh yes, you visited India, so you know how different it is, Right.
[4:55] So you know how different?
[4:59] Yeah, so when we moved here it was just two weeks of just pure adrenaline, excitement, anxiety, everything mixed together and it was such a heady concoction because.
[4:59] So when we moved here, it was just two weeks of just pure adrenaline anxiety, everything mixed together. Such a heavy concoction.
[5:12] We had no idea what was happening, like things were happening, we were looking at apartments and meeting people and doing a bunch of paperwork.
[5:12] We had no idea what was happening like things were happening. Uh we were looking at apartments and meeting people and doing a bunch of paperwork.
[5:22] And that's that's the story, pretty much.
[5:25] What happened after those two weeks?
[5:27] Yeah, that's the interesting bit. Um,
[5:31] so I guess something that I didn't consider when moving countries was just a range of emotions I was going to feel,
because in the beginning it was just excitement and like, oh my God, it's going to be an adventure, we get to travel, it'll be amazing, we'll meet all kinds of people and we always wanted that in our lives.
Um and in the beginning when we were busy doing things, there was no time to think or feel anything, things were just happening, but I think around the one month mark is when.
[6:00] Things took a turn.
[6:02] Yeah, I mean I was just sitting and I remember I was just had this urge to cry, but I wasn't really sad, I was feeling contradictory emotions, like I was so happy and grateful that I got this chance.
But I was also kind of mourning what I had lost and I never felt that enough.
I didn't think that, oh my God, I was leaving my country, my friends were going to be aware, my language, my food, all those things that make that I've known and loved my entire life.
We're just going to go away from me.
So I think that's when I let myself feel the grief and I talked to other friends who have also moved countries and it's a concept, it's called Migratory Grief which is basically the loss of,
life as you know it.
[6:56] Yeah, I I experienced that. I think as time goes on to this type of like especially when you start comparing things and how they're different here versus how somewhat easy it was, maybe back at home and whatnot.
Um I get these moments yeah, kind of like that where it's just like you're very grateful, you're very appreciative of everything, but also it's also like,
it's different and it's unique and sometimes it's not really what you expected to be and if you're anything like me, I start somewhat debating if it was always the right choice for me to do what I did, you know?
[7:34] Yeah, I mean there are so many things that I didn't consider,
um like language barrier and like you, I was also told everyone speaks english here and then I had these really difficult conversations with people when I was using google translate to literally like understand what was happening,
um language barrier, I didn't realize how much stress and anxiety that would cause me because I'm a social person, but I'm so uncomfortable interacting with people because I know,
I should make that effort and I do, I say what like whatever I know of german I go and use it on people, but it's an effort, right?
So some some days I haven't gone out of my house because I just didn't want to interact.
I didn't have the strength, what's the difference between Migratory Grief and culture.
[8:20] Yeah, 100%. The difference between Migratory Grief and culture.
[8:21] I do the same thing and I don't have Migratory Grief What's the difference between Migratory Grief and culture shock?
[8:29] Um culture shock is when you um have interactions or you see things and you're like wow, I had not expected things to be this way.
[8:31] Shock is when you um action, you see things like, wow that I had seems to be this way. Uh my Migratory Grief is um very tangible loss.
[8:39] Uh Migratory Grief Migratory Grief is um,
the very tangible loss that you begin to feel,
that I'm not, I don't have access to the people I had,
and little things like I started missing ordinary things like,
the type of spice that I don't get here and I never gave two ships about that spice before, but,
just the fact that I don't have it here or like if I'm listening to a song that I I know I grew up with and then I feel like oh I don't have that shared context here anymore.
[9:14] So many times so many times. Yeah, no, I get that.
[9:17] You make a joke and no one gets it really for you too, because for India I get it because like that country is all about the spices.
[9:18] Yes. Yes. The references like the spices is a big thing, such a big thing, but yes.
Oh my gosh, yes, No, I, I'm from the South, I'm from the south,
we we season um but there's so many things that like, I've missed or like, don't get, like, for example, techno,
for me, like I'm learning to,
like enjoy or learn techno, but it's not my style, you know, it's, we don't have that in America and like, I feel that lost so much because I can't, like, I have a good music taste.
I know I do, but I can't like, thank you.
[10:01] You do I've listened to your radio station, is that still available?
[10:04] Um Yes, we haven't been episode in a few months. It's been a rough time, y'all, but it'll be coming back soon. You guys stay tuned.
Um But like, I have, like, I like my music taste, but it's here.
Like, I don't find people who relate to that music tastes a lot. So I feel that loss of like, people that can relate to people that really understand the specific struggles that I'm going to, stuff like that.
I mean the simple fact sometimes of just like the way that like, I wake up on my morning routine or whatnot is completely lost because it's a different place, you know?
Um like, I can't even get Disney plus here,
not my Disney plus, like, yes, but like there's obstacles you have to take to that, you know, I can't, like I can't.
[10:42] You can use a VPN What do you mean my Disney Plus What show is missing on the german Disney Plus that you need?
[10:54] You technically can't log into Disney Plus as like, it's not like it's not like netflix where you log in anywhere, you have to like have like a VPN or whatnot.
Um and I don't have HBO max as well, that was actually a loss for me.
Um and then hulu, I can't get hulu as well, that doesn't work with VPN,
so it's no, those are like small things, but like,
like I I do feel that type of loss and then I would say culture shock is some of the stories that I've had where I'm like, wow, I can't believe like racism, for example, something that I still deal with here, you know, and that's a big culture shock for me.
Um So I definitely get that, I definitely get that.
Um So one of the things that you said that you um challenge one of your biggest challenges with was the idea of like, loneliness or what not, Can you tell us a bit more about that.
[11:40] Um yeah, so I feel like I'm someone who is prone to feeling lonely in general.
Um, but I didn't realize what it would feel like when I move countries and then deal with like a completely blank canvas, right?
Like I have to start over and um, it with your old friends, like in India, first of all, it's a different time zone and secondly I've lost that shared context with them.
So when I have to tell them about something, I have to explain everything and it's exhausting and I'm like, it's fine and there's so much to talk about you, you lose that closeness with your old friends.
[12:17] Yes. Yes. Yes, it's fine and there's so much to talk about, you lose that closeness. Yes.
[12:28] And then when you, you meet new people here, it's a lot of work because you have to.
[12:28] And then when you meet new people here, it's a lot of work.
[12:35] Tell them everything about your life and it's slow and you're also overwhelmed and taking care of so many things.
[12:35] Tell them everything about your life. It's low, they're also overwhelmed and taking things, but you don't Mhm.
[12:43] So you don't have these, you don't have a set of close friends that you're talking to. Um.
[12:48] 100%. Oh my gosh, if I have to explain some of my story one more time, I'm just gonna start giving out cards, you want to know where I'm from or whatnot, But you made a great point.
I was just talking to my friends back at home yesterday and I'll explain them some of my challenges here and it was literally me having to go, okay, so basically this is how it is here, because you have to lay out the lay of the land,
You have to give them the context of that, and then you have to like then tell them the stories where they understand it's a lot of work and then vice versa with people here, you have to lay out your lay of the land, get them context or whatnot.
It's a lot of effort and sometimes it can be very exhausting.
[13:27] And then the most frustrating part let me know if you if you agree.
I when I was an exchange student in the US for one year and then I came back I experienced kind of reverse culture shock where for one thing I just was a little brainwashed and thought everything was better there than it is here.
Like it took a while for me to gain this intercultural competency and just to see these things are different and like you know there's good like it takes it takes time. I was 17 obviously.
But the the thing that is maybe related is people asking so how was it?
And then not really wanting to hear about it like they just want to hear.
Yeah it was good like it was fine. I was in san Francisco whatever and they're like okay cool.
Yeah and like not being able to relate at all with the deep deep profound experiences that I had made and not really wanting to hear about those.
Like that was really not frustrating but like a little disappointing almost. Yeah where you have this really profound experience and people don't really care that much and can't really relate.
[14:33] Yeah, exactly. And you know, even if you try to tell people what you're going through, they can't understand because it's not their lived experience and it's it's difficult, you know.
[14:46] It's very difficult and like one of the things that's been very much of a challenge for me is like I talked to my parents about all the,
things that I'm going through here and most of their response is always oh you can just come back and that I know I can come back, but it's something much deeper that like,
no, the answer is not to come back, I just want you guys to listen understand that I'm going through obstacles right now, you know?
Um and that's like another challenge thing is like.
[15:13] I want to talk to my old friends and my family who know me well, but they can't help me problem solve in a way where they don't know anything about this situation and there's so much of a gap and then vice versa here.
People here can't help me problem solve because they don't know my experiences or the situation I'm going to as well.
So in a lot of ways you do feel lonely and one of things I was thinking about was like,
there's a lot of different types of loneliness, you know, you have the social loneliness, but also you have like for me, I which we're gonna talk about in a future episode, but I've encountered at least three racist experiences,
already um in the city,
and that's a certain type of loneliness because I have no a lot of people to relate to in those senses, another loneliness is trying to find a house or find a place to live, you know?
Yes, everyone's struggling that with that, but you still feel alone in going through those things.
Um, another loneliness getting like comfortable with the city and your own perspective, you know, something that no one else is going to be able to understand.
So I realized that there's so many nuances to loneliness that you don't realize until you're actually here and you're actually in this, and it's so ironic because Berlin of all places, such a big city, it's a huge city, you know?
[16:32] But those are the places where you're most likely to be alone, right?
[16:32] Yeah, 100 per.
[16:35] Like if you were to live in a village, like,
you would probably ask to be lonely at some point, you know, I mean not all of those things like not having people who can relate with you would be true there,
as well, but in a big city you can very much just literally be alone like and not talk even if you do leave the house, like not talk to or really talk to people for days on end.
And I think you see it like in the big cities, there's just many people who are very lonely and it's kind of sad.
[17:09] Yeah, I mean if you talk about villages or small towns, the sense of community is stronger.
Everyone knows everyone, you do things together in big cities, everyone's too busy or walking too fast or just they don't seem as approachable I guess.
And what you said about nuances is so true because here, first of all, I have that um,
I have the same problem and I try to talk to my family of friends and I tell them, you know, these are the negative emotions that I'm feeling, they'll say something like, but you're in Berlin why are you complaining?
And I'm like, I'm not, I'm I'm happy, I'm so full of joy for being in Berlin, but it's more complicated than that. You know, there are also like all these other emotions that I'm feeling.
And then you start asking more existential questions like,
I'm thinking who am I now in, you know, bigger context like who are my people, what's home and then you look different, You are different.
So you feel like how do people perceive me? Do they like me?
Like do they think I'm I could be one of them. Can I be one of them?
And that sense of individuality that you had in your country?
You kind of lose it because again, you're trying to fit in because you want to belong so badly.
[18:29] Mhm. Yeah, and I those existential crisis things comes up a lot because yeah, I am like I'm not the same person.
I was whenever I was in a texas, but also I don't really know who I am now here, you know, because you're also meeting so many different people and you kind of go into this type of survival mode, you know?
Because you you want to adapt to as many people as you can.
Like my I was out with one of my friends yesterday and then we ran into like a guy like you we're both gay and like you know, I have like a certain way I act with him and then the other guy started talking to us and he was straight.
So my friend called me out for subconsciously acting more straight around this person.
Um because like I'm trying to like yes, yes, yes.
[19:15] Context switching.
[19:17] Um I'm trying to like like like subconsciously just tried to adapt the type of person.
So in that sense then like I'm like by myself, I'm like who really was I in that sense of things, you know?
Because like I I am both of those types of things, you know? Like like I can it's not even that I was acting more straight, it's just the way my mannerisms so with that kind of change.
So you get very confused about yourself here, you know?
Um and it's like I want to be comfortable with that confusion and not knowing, you know, like what's all going on, but then also I want to figure it out as well.
Um But it sometimes takes time, but then always, I don't know if you figure it out.
I think about this too, but like it's like how much time should I take to figure it out? How much time is okay to feel lonely in the city? How much time is the right amount of time, you know?
[20:10] Yeah, that's one thing that I've been telling myself um be patient slow down.
It's all right not to have uh you know, strong bonds for a while. That happens through nurturing and giving time and energy to relationships.
And it's only been four months.
[20:30] And honestly like I I mean I am a little bit special, I mean I am special but I'm also a little special in the sense that I probably,
really enjoy being alone more than most people and I very vividly remember living in the US living in Switzerland, living in Poland the first 6 to 8 months of those experiences.
I was also very alone and lonely and I enjoyed it so much. I just remember like really loving this, like I was surrounded by people but I didn't have any strong connections just like what you're describing and I really enjoyed it.
But the other thing that I've learned from my own experiences and so many people moving to Berlin and even Germans moving to Berlin,
I have this feeling of I'm just lonely here in the beginning and the problem always takes care of itself.
Like I'm sure will like address some things, some specific things that you can do obviously to you know make the process go faster.
But I think even if you don't try at all you can't really help but after maybe a year have kind of a circle of friends that you have a connection with.
[21:45] That's very true. But then though I was also add to the whole going back to those different types of loneliness though that only saw like for me I know that like I'll figure things out socially, right?
[21:46] But then though, I would also add to the whole going back to the different types of loneliness that only saw like for me, I know that like I'll figure things out right.
[21:56] But how do you deal with the other parts of the loneliness things, you know like being like for me I'm the only black american from texas that I know, you know, that's.
[21:58] Like being like for me I'm the only black american texas That will change in 30 years when Germany is much more diverse than it's now.
[22:10] Diverse and I mean you guys are helping making Berlin more diverse, but it's it's so true, like it's still if you compared to new york city or even London it's just a very white.
[22:11] I mean it's I mean you guys are helping making Berlin more diverse.
But it's it's so true, like it's still if you compared to New York City or even London, it's just a very white city.
[22:26] I was not expecting this because I have been to places like Singapore and Dubai where you literally like see every type of color person, everything.
[22:29] Four and divide 15,
[22:35] And here sometimes I've gone to places where I haven't seen.
[22:39] Thing. Yeah. Yeah, like you Yeah.
[22:40] A non white person and it kind of makes you feel a bit uncomfortable because you feel like you want to see people who look different.
[22:50] Yeah. Oh no, all the time I tell my friends all the time like I'm like people are staring at me, People literally are and I've watched people, I can count how many like how long they stare at me.
[22:51] And do you ever, can I ask, Have you ever felt like someone was staring at you all the time?
It's crazy. Yeah, That doesn't bother me because.
[23:04] That doesn't bother me because we stared, too.
[23:06] Yeah uh huh In general, like it's a thing for Germans to stare, it's the stereotype that's true.
[23:09] I mean, Germans stare in general, like it's a thing for Germans to stare. It's a stereotype that's true.
But I've heard from many black people that like, they get stared at as if they were like, like what's happening? It's.
[23:15] But I've heard from many black people that like they get stared at as if they were like what's happening, I just I'm just I'm tweaking the narrative, I'm just saying that because I'm so beautiful.
Yes, but like like I think um going back to this idea of like loneliness Yeah, I think it does work itself out, but it,
it doesn't, I'll just be honest, it doesn't make the now easier to go through, you know like there's still so many times where I miss, I feel like,
I feel like just lost, you know, I feel,
in this limbo period and then in these moments the reason why I don't like these moments because that idea of do I go back home starts to speak louder and louder you know at the most vulnerable times, that's when it's like,
do I stay and hold on to it and how long do I stay and hold onto it?
How long do I try to see how things go before you know like I end up calling it quits and stuff like that.
[24:18] Yeah, I hear you. I mean, I hope you don't Yeah.
[24:19] No I'm not, it's a challenge for me at this point now like like I I just want to beat the game.
[24:25] Yeah, exactly. Yes. When people tell you it's going to get better. This too shall pass.
[24:28] Thank you, it's going to get better.
[24:33] It doesn't help you if you're in the depths of feeling despair and loneliness, it doesn't help at that point you want someone to come sit with you and be like, I know, I understand. Yeah.
[24:33] Help you. Yes doesn't,
Yeah. Yes yeah.
[24:46] Yes, and so what's your day to day now as Because you haven't told us, do you have a job here already like?
Astha'S Job In Berlin
[24:47] And so what's your day to day now?
Because you haven't told us you have a job here?
Yes. So Oh after my husband got a job, I quit my job and I started looking for jobs as well and I didn't know there were so many startups in Berlin,
and so I'm in marketing, I'm a content marketing manager.
So when I started looking for jobs on linkedin I saw that many of them wanted German speakers, but about like 30, people were open to the idea of having a native English speaker.
So I applied to all of them and I heard back from quite a few of them actually.
It was amazing. I thought it was going to take me months to find something, but I got a job before we moved to Berlin So it was just like I was.
[25:39] You Too, man, You guys have figured it out.
[25:42] Ironically the job part was the easy part.
It's everything else that was like the like terrifying the life part, you know? Like typically it's the job that is always the obstacle.
But in this city, in this case it was like, like that, you know?
Um So yeah, so like do you work from home or you like, you go into the office or whatnot?
[26:04] Yes, so it's a remote first job. So I work from home, I also have the option to go and work from office.
[26:06] Gotcha? Okay,
options go and work from? Mhm.
[26:12] So I prefer working from home because I get distracted really easily so I can focus better at home.
[26:14] Because I get distracted.
[26:19] But I go to office for all the parties to meet people.
[26:19] When I go to a Yeah, of course.
[26:24] Uh Yeah so it's been really good. I mean that that whole flexible lifestyle is really working out for me.
[26:28] Lifestyle. Mhm. That's really good.
[26:31] That's really good. And have you like I know you say like some people like coming up like have you picked up on any potential like friendships or whatnot that you do see. That can become deeper whatnot.
[26:32] And have you like, I know you say like some people like have come and gone, but like have you picked up on any potential like friendships or whatnot that you, you do see that can become like deeper whatnot through time.
[26:46] But it's hard to predict right now where these friendships are going because they're all still very surface level right now.
[26:46] Ah hard to predict right now where the for sure,
[26:56] It's not like I've bared my soul to anyone yet more with expats because when I moved here I joined.
[26:59] And are they with other expats or are they with Germans?
[27:09] These international groups.
So there's a facebook group called Girl Gone International which is a women only thing.
But it's super fun. There are so many people, they're just planning picnics and um parties and you know so many events keep happening within that group.
So that was one and then there's another one called International Friends in Berlin on facebook.
So really cool bunch of people. And uh that's that's been good.
I found more international people in those groups because they're meant for expats.
[27:46] Yeah, I haven't done that yet actually.
[27:47] I mean there's so many groups like that on facebook. I'm sure also meet up.
I've also used these groups when I was new in the city.
There's also like new in Berlin or like these kind of new in groups and,
I mean obviously it's like a really easy way to meet people without also feeling awkward because everybody knows nobody, nobody knows anybody.
Um but it doesn't mean that you're going to become friends with those people, right? And the problem is that Germans so often have their circle of friends often from like their school days or kindergarten days.
Like even yeah, some of my best friends are from the time that I went to school and then university.
That's also where you may meet a lot of friends and then from a job that I had for many years, but these days I don't like, I don't feel the need to find new friends.
So, and I think most people who've grown up here don't, and so they would never go to these groups and then the people who go to those groups are obviously also coming and going and going back and,
I think it's just harder, you know, than if you just, I think if you come here to study, it's probably a lot easier.
[29:09] Yes, that's what I've always thought about. I'm like if I was a student here, because it's like the one thing that I realized that makes it easier to make friends is if you have a neutral thing that you guys have to do routinely.
[29:23] Right? That and there's a really great article or blog post from. Wait, but why do you guys know that blog?
Yeah, he's really good and um he has a thing about how friendships happen.
Uh and he has like a whole theory about it.
And um one of his theories is that you need a lot of time,
that you're spending without any goals or kind of expiry date, so like going to the movies and then going home or having dinner and then going home.
Like those things are great when you're already already friends, but they are not enough to form a friendship.
What you need to form a friendship is just extended periods of time where you just hang out essentially, you're just in the same place by necessity because of school or because you're studying together or work and you're not really doing anything.
That's a good basis for a friendship.
[30:20] That's so true when you're doing the mundane things like errands or chores together, or getting bored together and seeing your highs and lows.
[30:27] Yeah I mean that's what friendship is.
I mean at a certain point friendship it just becomes yours chilling with each other and stuff and that's all we all want. I think it's just people just to chill with and be comfortable with and like that's why like I get it when people aren't open for friendships here.
I get it because I want at some point you do find your click and you're comfortable with your click, you know?
Um It's just really hard like especially if you're just in that new new space of things of doing that and stuff.
That's why some of those groups are really cool because like they will they do have some routine type of things or whatnot.
And if you go to them constantly then you'll maybe see the same black people or what not and that makes it easier you know to form friendships as well.
[31:13] And you can, I think, I mean you're both extroverted, am I right?
So I think as extroverted people, you can take the initiative and then take it one step further because the problem with these meetups as they happen and then you talk and maybe there's someone that you, that you think, hey, this, this is,
somewhat interesting, but then nothing ever happens.
And like if you say like, hey, next weekend we're going to play beach volleyball and we're inviting these three other people, like someone needs to take the initiative and make the friendship forming happen, you know?
[31:45] Exactly, and that's one thing that I like, I realized a lot and like I am always that person and sometimes it gets exhausting being in that person,
but it's necessary you know, and like if,
if you want to really make friends here then you, you might be the one who is always putting in the effort now there is one, there is a certain point where you're doing it way too much, that person not reciprocating,
then you, you shouldn't stop, but like definitely in the beginnings um,
it's just, it's it's a good idea, like at least for me, I would like to say at least I tried,
you know, and I think like and it does help sometimes and I'll reach out to people like hey,
we haven't spoken forever, how you doing, you know, and those are good because also people just get busy, people get distracted from other things, you know, Berlin is a lot, so if you want to keep these um,
friendships up, there's a lot of self accountability that you have to put into place.
[32:43] Yeah, Yeah, that's what I'm struggling with right now.
Like there are so many people I've met once because we went out for dinner or we had a picnic and it was lovely and we had a great time, but,
no one is like reaching out to each other and we're not,
like its effort and um, some a lot of times I'm just too tired or sometimes you're not in the mood and it just doesn't happen.
[33:11] Exactly, yeah, for sure.
[33:11] So it's not organic. That's the problem.
[33:14] For sure. And that's one of the things where sometimes you have to wait for the organic, you know, it's it's like throwing a whole much of like,
sticky paper to the wall and just seeing what sticks, you know, um which is a lot of work to do, but eventually it does like happen.
[33:31] And about the kind of hanging out without any agenda.
Like I did this for my birthday this year where I took some of my best friends and we just went to Leipzig for a weekend with no plants, nothing like no dinner, like nothing. We just had an Airbnb and we just hung out.
We, we did go to one like escape room game, which was also really a really good friendship experience to do that together.
But that's what that was like the only thing that we had like planned and scheduled and like just hanging out and then playing board games at night and being hungover the next morning was literally the best time I had with my friends.
And so I think this stuff can be done even earlier.
You know, like once you have those three people where you're like this, these are,
interesting people don't schedule the next dinner or the next movie night or the next, just say, hey, how about we take a weekend trip to the city and you book accommodation and nothing else and you just literally hang out.
I think that's, that's my new theory that that's the best way to find friends.
[34:35] Yes, I agree. And there's also one thing that I always love to do for new friends on sunday, sunday is a great day to hang out with new friends. It's a very chill day, very neutral day.
Most people aren't really that busy on Sundays. I always say Mauer Park, Mauer Park is a really great neutral grounds to go to on a sunday.
Um, because there's a lot going on there.
You have the flea market, you have performers, you have music, you have a huge park and you can sit and do nothing.
We also can sit and do nothing and also be distracted, you know, so it's not like there's too much pressure to talk to each other or to put in so much effort or whatnot. You can literally sit there and just listen to music and be okay.
Um, and I think if you're able to find things like that to do, those are really good.
Also they're free opportunities as well because eating out, going to clubs that adds up really quickly.
Um, you can't do, you can't do that all the time as well.
[35:36] Yeah, I love Mauer Park, it's just the Wiebe and that's a good point because before coming to Berlin I did a road trip with two of my closest friends and the agenda was to just have no agenda.
We were just sitting by the beach, reading or meditating or not talking and,
conversations would just start uh like out of nowhere and we would be having this like really profound exchange of ideas and personal stories and I was like, wow, like if you just give it that time, if you let it spread out,
over a three day period, it can be magical.
And if I had met them just for a movie or lunch, it wouldn't, it would have been really just like exchange of updates and that's.
[36:18] Yes, but do you ever like, get to a point where like, like this whole idea of no effort thing is great, right?
But at least for me, I'm an over thinker, like, I never know when I need to put in more effort and when I need to not put more effort, you know?
And like, I don't know if there's like a right or wrong to that, but let's say for example, we were just talking about how, you know, putting an effort to get a group together or reach out and whatnot, but then also the putting in no effort to plan something and letting things happen naturally.
What do you do? Which one do you choose? How do you know which one is the best at what, what certain time or whatnot?
[36:54] So I'm trying to find the balance between the two,
because I realized that when I moved here, I wanted to do too much at the same time, I was just constantly in a state of fomo like, oh that's this is happening, and that is happening, and my friends are doing this and,
it was a lot and I realized that I was not taking care of my mental health,
and I was kind of slipping into depression and I had no idea why, and I realized later, that's because I had just packed my life up and I was just doing things instead of just being still and feeling things.
So I don't make the effort if I truly,
don't feel like from the inside, sometimes you're just feeling lazy and a little bit low, but you know that if you do something, if you go somewhere you'll feel better,
in those cases, I push myself a little bit and I'm like, you know what, Today, I'm just going out, I'll ask some people, let's see if they join me, but sometimes if I feel anxiety or if I feel like,
no, I I don't think I should push myself today, I don't,
so I'm not feeling um this constant need to be around people as much as I did in the first two months.
[38:12] Mhm. Gotcha. What about people who aren't extroverted at all and are maybe literally scared to go to one?
Using Apps To Meet People
[38:14] What about people who aren't extroverted at all and are maybe literally scared to go to one of those meetups because then you have to introduce yourself and talk to people.
I don't I don't have the answer I'm asking you guys.
[38:27] What can we do for the introverts out there? Um There is a tricky question because I mean like it really does depend on your comfortable itty levels. Um.
[38:31] Um I mean there are like apps now like,
Bumble best friend or whatever, like dating apps, but for friendships, I don't know, didn't you write about that?
Did you try that out? Okay. So what what was the experience?
[38:49] I actually love the experience because uh it's like dating but the intention is really clear that you're just you're just looking for people to hang out with and you can really personalize your profile and add like fun little bits about yourself.
[38:58] And you can really personalize their profile and add like fun little bit.
[39:03] So I wrote like a really funny introduction and uh I can just tell you about it. Like I wrote about how um I'm into like I'm into serial killers.
[39:03] You're like really funny, can we, can we read it? Can you show it to us?
[39:16] Like I I love true crime, I consume it in every format and then things like they asked, are you an early bird or a night, a night owl?
And I said I'm an evening pigeon because like I love evenings, it's my favorite time and just things like that so people can really uh people will reach out to you if they resonate with those things.
And I I connected with some really cool people.
Like I love my bumble BFF experience. Um and it was like just easy because over there people are looking for the same thing like they are in the mood.
They are like highly intentional about meeting people and then when you meet them they'll tell you man, it's so hard to, it's so hard making friends and in fact with my bumble BFF connections.
[40:07] I had more honest and real conversations than with like these group meetups lonely.
[40:12] Because it's one on one, right? And you're both desperate, this sounds like a bumble ad we're not sponsored by bumble.
But yeah, it makes sense to me, and that, I think it would work much better for introverts, right? Because it's just you kind of get to know each other a little bit before you even meet, and then when you meet, it's just one other person to deal with.
[40:19] But yeah, it makes sense to me and that I think it would work much better for introverts, right?
You kind of get to know each other a little bit before you even need.
Yeah and in group situations sometimes you don't like certain people like they're loud.
[40:34] Like, right, there's always the annoying, loud person who is like, we're trying to have a conversation here, get out.
[40:38] Like they just talk 90% of the time and they are like saying all these racist things without even realizing it.
[40:51] There's always that person, are they american?
[40:56] Yeah, I think yeah apps are definitely, I would say that if you're like oh maybe on the intros um introvert type of side.
I mean facebook groups can be good for that as well if you are able, you know, to converse behind the screen and then maybe find pick out the people that you do want.
I think they're like this city, like I hate to say it, but you got to make effort whether you are not, whether you're introvert or not, you know, like isn't Berlin is not for everybody.
We I just put that out there, but it is a city that you do have to put out the effort no matter what, you know and I mean it can be very daunting, very scary and sometimes it won't always work.
[41:41] But like I always mention, I always say it's like there's not a reason to give up, it's not a reason to think that you're not gonna find your clicker, you're not gonna find your tribe, Not everybody is for you.
And to be fair, you don't want everybody to be for you. You want to find people that you relate to.
You want to find people that you vibe with a lot and that's going to, it does take time.
You know, it does take patience and it does take vulnerability but also relaxing and also knowing that it's not you, it's not your fault and it's not something that you could be doing differently.
I have that problem a lot myself talk. It's really bad when I get lonely.
Um and I find that I'm blaming myself, I'm like why can't I find these types of people?
Why am I struggling this way? Why is this so hard? Why is this happening to me? Why is everything happening to me?
[42:29] You know? And I think it's very important to remind yourself,
that, like it's not you, it's not subjecting that,
you're doing wrong, it's just it's a challenging situation, you know, I'm not gonna say it's bad or not, but it's a challenge, you know, and challenges or challenges for a reason.
You know, if they weren't challenges, they would be very easy and Berlin is not easy.
[42:56] But I remember in one of your episodes, you said that you just walk up to people and you strike conversations with them Yeah.
[42:59] I do. Yes,
but I think if we're talking but still though, like that's still a lot of surface level and that there's still a difference though of having those conversations and then becoming friends, you know, I can talk to strangers like that.
That's never the hard part for me. It is the friendship building. That's always the hard part for me.
[43:20] What do you think um are the downsides and upsides of having moved here as a couple in terms of finding?
Life In Berlin As A Couple
[43:32] Um I'm super happy. I moved here with a partner,
because it gives you so much strength to just know that there is this one person,
and you know, we've cried together some days we've just been so exhausted and tired and we've just hugged each other like we depend on each other a lot emotionally and in every single way and he, he has his own journey.
I have my own, I mean we are having different experiences in terms of like what the movie is doing to us emotionally and spiritually, but we are there for each other.
So for me it's a huge um,
uh it's comfortable to be with someone because if I had moved alone, I would have been a lot more like I would have been lonely and in both shape.
[44:22] Yes, Yeah, that's really nice. Do you guys like have you guys found any other couples who are like in that same position or whatnot?
[44:26] You guys like, have you guys found any other couples in that same position?
Um we, one of my college friends is is here as well with her husband and I know her from college.
So having them uh just you know, for us, they are always there for us because we just call them and we have that shared context again.
So that's also been really nice. Um but we are very different people.
He's introverted and I feel like I'm the one who constantly needs this,
outlet and this need to express and connect and bond and he's just like I'm good, you can go and do your social stuff and he's more into tech and like for him,
a good day would be like setting up his computer or like getting a new sound system.
So he's like on ebay, like client client side client side.
[45:23] I do to say I'm like Ebay, finish it for me.
[45:26] Yes. So he's there like looking at deals and you know, that's, that's him. So I don't push him and I don't expect him to do all these social activities with me.
But sometimes we do, sometimes we do go and meet people and it's, it's nice.
[45:44] It can also be a risk, obviously, right, Because if you have that person who's just always there, I mean you sound like you have the drive to go out and find friends.
[45:44] It can also be a risk obviously, right? Because if you have that person who's just always there, I mean you sound like you have the drive to go out and find friends, but I think in many couples there's this risk to.
[45:53] But I think in many couples there's this risk to, you know, I don't need to go out and find friends because I have someone at home who I can connect with and that's enough.
[45:57] Yeah, I know people like that, but I feel like we both have our own individual personalities and our own interests.
[46:08] Individual hospitality,
own interests like his trains and.
[46:12] Like he's into trains and airplanes. So he went to um, yes. And he also went to the Airbus museum in Hamburg and I was like, goodbye.
[46:17] Technicians museum.
[46:24] I'm like, so not interested in that. I might go for a spoken word,
a test and he just get bored out of his mind, you know, so we do do those things and we also, when we came here, we didn't want to be in a state of comfort all the time.
Like I haven't joined any indian groups because if you join an indian group, people tend to talk about the same things, eat the same things and just, I mean you could have done that in India.
You know, if you moved here, I want to be around people who are nothing like me.
I want to be with people who tell me things that I don't even know.
So we we we make sure that we we do that like we are always open to like new things and new people.
[47:09] Have you gone to any indian restaurants in Berlin And can you recommend one?
Because my experience having gone to India is that indian restaurants in Germany are nothing like restaurants in India.
Like it's I mean they have to change it to a degree because every indian restaurant I went to in India I told them no spices at all like nothing, don't put anything in there.
[47:32] I didn't You were gonna say That?
[47:35] Because what you then get is what you get in Germany. If you say yeah you can make it pretty spicy for me, I'll be fine.
[47:42] Yeah. Yeah for me it's not so much about the spice. Even. I don't like food that is too spicy but it's about the flavor, The right flavor. I think here what you get is the very european version of indian food.
It's like white indian food right? So they use like one masala like spice which is like a mix of everything and it doesn't taste like authentic indian food.
But I did go to one restaurant, it's called yummy Kitchen.
It had really good South Indian food um And there's one more called a mama which is a sri Lankan food but sri Lanka and India share a lot of cuisines.
So we ended up having some really good food and the waiter came and he was asking us like do you like the food? And I just went yes, I freaked him out because he was like wow that was an intense reaction.
[48:39] I have to add those to my list then, but um my next question for you is do you find that like, so you said that you don't like necessarily want to always like um,
Friends From The Same Culture
[48:53] click with like maybe like your people you've gotten from home with or what not.
But do you find that if you need people that there are people that you can rely on or whatnot?
[49:03] Yes, so this is another really interesting experience that I had.
So I knew I was very clear in my head that I wasn't going to just hang out with indian people, but I didn't realize that,
um if I hang out with the right kind of indian people,
it would be such a soothing and comforting experience,
because it's not so much about like, are you indian on indian, it's just like your soul should connect with that person, it's like hanging out with a human being that,
that's like minded, but if you add the extra layer of like, oh they're also from India and they know so much about life there.
So I met someone like a friend of a friend who's indian and she's married a german guy and they're living together here.
[49:54] It was so amazing to meet her because I realized I hadn't talked about indian politics in so long and I feel a lot,
about politics and social issues and I can't talk to anyone here because no context, right?
So we talked about like, just culture, social issues and I,
I felt like this is also important, like,
it's amazing to meet new people, but at the same time you are going to be um you're going to have your roots somewhere and the how you grow up and how you who you are um,
it's important to meet people who have that kind of background and shared stories.
So I love that experience and I realized now I'm open to anyone who's who I can vibe with.
[50:47] Yes, I'm the same exact way. But do you ever like feel though that like sometimes like, like not everybody that you come like, that you guys come from the same country with is your friend?
[50:52] Sometimes, like, like not everybody that you come like that you guys come from the same country with is your friend like me. Not every american. I.
[50:59] Like me? Not every american I relate to. Not every Texan in Berlin do I relate to?
[51:04] Know there are so many Indians, I just find absolutely annoying and I would just stay like 20 ft away from them because I know how they think and how they are.
So it's true. Like I would, it's just about like looking at people and realizing that okay, they like you or they they're nice or not.
[51:27] It's not about like finding an indian person and then you're automatically friends. It's just that if you find someone you could be friends with and you have this shared cultural background, then it's like finally I can talk to someone about this, right?
[51:30] Finding an indian person and then you're automatically friends.
It's just that if you find someone you can be friends with and you have this shared cultural background then it's like finally I can talk to someone.
Yes. Yeah, exactly.
[51:43] It's like a double whammy.
[51:45] As to where can people befriend you on the Internet? You have a podcast during the pandemic?
Astha'S Podcast And Social
[51:46] Where can people find you on the internet?
Oh yes I do. I started a podcast during the pandemic because I was lonely again.
[51:56] Don't be so I thought I would talk into a microphone.
[51:58] I thought I would talk into a microphone. Yeah, exactly. I mean I also called my friends and we had conversations um it's called words and not much else.
You can find it anywhere. Spotify Apple and I also, you can find me on instagram which is asked Prakash which is my name, A S D H A P R A K A S H and yeah, that's that's it.
[52:24] Well, thank you so much for reaching out to us and for being on our podcast, I mean like it was really I love your Energy Yeah.
[52:24] Well thank you so much for reaching out to us for being on our podcast.
Yeah, yeah, thank you so much for calling me.
[52:31] And being vulnerable, like it's really good to hear these realistic stories and not just the same three tips on how to find friends.
[52:41] I'm so excited because I have you both have been a part of my journey from the very beginning.
I started listening to this podcast when I was still in India.
So I've I've like experienced your move to Berlin so it's amazing. And yeah, thanks for calling me.