September 3, 2019

Ordered Chaos in Berlin

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Berlin is a chaotic mix of people, art, food, music, culture and ideas. When you first set foot in the city, it's overwhelming. It seems like no one takes a second to stop and breathe, so by default you can’t either.

Berlin street art

Berlin street art

My first day in Berlin was hectic. I didn’t know the language, didn’t know anyone and didn’t know where I was going. I grew up in a small suburb of Chicago. There, the stores closed by sundown, the police typically only passed out speeding tickets or busted underage drinking, and I was only ever around people that looked like me. Simply put, I lived in a bubble. Unfortunately for me, this bubble got boring very quickly.

I’m someone who loves to keep moving. As I was planning my summer, I knew I wanted to be somewhere I would enjoy. A place where I’d have the opportunity to experience something new, something outside the bubble: something like Berlin. The city which I'd best describe as ordered chaos.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

Berlin’s history has shaped its personality. During the Cold War, the city was occupied by other nations and it absorbed all those cultures. Today, if you walk the streets of Berlin you’ll hear German, English, French, even Chinese and numerous other languages all while passing some of the best international restaurants and street vendors.

Berlin graffiti

Berlin graffiti

 While The Wall was up, countless people felt oppressed in their daily lives, so they turned to the streets for a chance at freedom of expression. The Berlin Wall became a canvas for West Berliners and gave people the opportunity to speak their mind without consequence. Today, the city has become the canvas. Berlin is covered in graffiti from buildings and trains to rocks and trees.

Ella Needler in Berlin

Ella Needler, iX Berlin 2019

At a glance, all the different cultures and graffiti causes Berlin to look jumbled, like there is no order. But people keep moving. Keep living their best lives, unphased by the chaotic nature. I realized that’s what makes Berlin ordered; everyone moves with the chaos.

After the first day I acclimated the mix of cultures and accepted the fast pace nature. I quickly felt at home in the city that welcomes everyone and everything. I came to love the street markets in Mauerpark, the British comedy shows on the Spree river, the Vietnamese food in Kreuzberg, the little shops in Hackescher Markt and the graffiti all around. The ordered chaos of Berlin was exactly what I wanted for my summer, and thanks to iXperience I was able to experience something new and unexpected.

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