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I traded the sun of South of France for the snow in Berlin a long time ago. I came here with no real expectation but the simple joy of being able to experience a new adventure. We somehow always associate adventure with fun, wacky people and sun.

After years now that I am here with my husband, I can definitely say it was more a challenge than an adventure. Matter-of-factly, the fun has been too sporadic because of routine, people have been busy and the sun has signed an exclusive contract with the southern hemisphere.

Immersing into the German culture has been incredibly easy so far. The reason is, we rarely are with Germans. Our entourage is international and includes for the most part Americans, some Brazilians and French people.

The city of Berlin is at the epicenter of all attention in Europe. For years that I have been here, I see the number of tourists increase every season. I love the large places, the parks, and the very character of each district. When I think of Berlin, I think home.

This blog is intended to share my experience with the challenge of leaving the comfort zone. You also took a plane with vague ideas of your future, and now you are scared you might have taken the wrong choice. Worry not, this is just the beginning of a journey that will lead you to the best destination of all times. It takes courage to change our habits. At the beginning, we arrogantly expect people to change for us. It is with time only that we realize we have more to gain to change ourselves to the new.

But there is more than that. Every time you take the chance to discover something new, you take the risk it might alter you in some way. This is what Berlin brought me so far: a new community I can rely on, a potpourri of friends from different cultures and an unexpected personal growth.

A Philosophy professor of mine once mentioned in a class : “It is always about balancing, what you gain somewhere, you will lose it somewhere else.” This is exactly what happens with life, when you dare quitting the quiet rocking-chair. You might in fact lose your tranquility, but what you will earn will help you go forward and not stay on spot for the rest of your life.

Life is a master that teaches us every single day the theory classes so that we will be able to pass all the practical exams in the future.

As my Grandfather used to say: “Did you learn something new today”?

8 Comments

Thank you for your page Nathalie and for sharing your thoughts.
I understand very well you as I also left my “comfort zone” once for France, and finally it appeared to be the best decision of my life. It is very hard to change yourself but this is necessary and inevitable in order to be able to live in a new reality. Sometime you do not even notice how this change happens. The understanding comes to you when you come back to visit again your ‘old comfort zone’ and meet old friends, and you see how much you are different now and that you no longer belong to your old place. You feel sorry and happy at the same time. Strange felling. Sometimes I had a feeling that it was not in this life, like I had been reincarnated again. But I feel happy now and I think this is a real luck to experience 2 lives in one..

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Thank you so much Elena for these wonderful thoughts! I exactly know what you mean. At the beginning when I tried to be in both worlds: my comfort-zone and my new life, it did not work at all. I was hurt and felt I had to choose one side only. I always expect great things to come, but maybe, as every girl on earth, I’m not patient enough and I’m sad when things don’t happen right away. Now I managed to use the best of the past to build a great future.

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Hi Nathalie! A mutual friend – Ulrike – has told me so much about you and that we ought to meet up someday. I hope that will happen, but until then, I’m enjoying your blog! Keep writing 🙂

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