Young BerlinersName: Josh Devins

Age: 31

Hometown: Vancouver

Location: Berlin, Germany

Job: Software engineer, Nokia Corp. 

I moved here because my wife is German-
Canadian and we had 
always talked about 

coming to live in Europe after we got married.

The best thing about being here is living in Europe, where in the time it takes to drive from Vancouver to the Okanagan, you can be halfway from Berlin to Paris. Thankfully, we get six weeks of vacation as well.

The biggest challenge has been the language, although having a German-speaking wife is pretty handy. But it’s the little things that get to you, like not being able to read the mail from the bank or gas company.

The biggest misconception I had was how homesick I would be. I thought it would be hard being away from Vancouver, which I love so much, but Berlin has been so great for us that it hasn’t really bothered me much. 

The scariest thing that’s happened was probably having a baby in Berlin. It’s hard enough becoming a parent, but doing so in a different city, country, culture and away from family is pretty tough. Skype is our best friend.

The biggest difference working here is the working culture and attitudes. Working at a large company, we have a lot of other European cultures like Polish, Finnish, German (of course), British, etc. It’s a huge melting pot, and there are times when one culture doesn’t get along so well with another.

The people are pretty great. We heard a lot of horror stories that people in Berlin are the grumpiest in all of Germany, but so far we just haven’t experienced that very much. I think it helps that we live in a young neighbourhood and our friends are generally from other parts of Germany or the world.

What B.C. could learn from Berlin is that bigger isn’t always better when it comes to shopping. Germany is much more geared toward people in dense city centres, so there’s no Superstore or Costco. Here stores are smaller but there’s also more variety. There are probably three or four grocery stores within walking distance from our flat.