If I had to describe this first month in Berlin in a word, I’d probably call it the “hunt”. Everybody tells you Berlin is full of flats to rent and finding one is going to be easypeasy. Well, at least from our experience, they couldn’t be telling you a greater lie. Sure, there are many many flats in Berlin and maybe if we were German and had jobs here things would have been much much easier, unfortunately that was not the case. We can’t whine a lot about this (although, to be honest, we do) because we’ve only been living in one place until now, one of those fully-equipped-just-bring-your-clothes-and-you-can-live-in-holiday-apartments and maybe, just maybe, our next place is going to be “the one”. Having heard people move flats something like 5 times in 6 months before settling down in Berlin, we’re probably quite lucky (James and Zoë share their subletting experience in this hilarious Dummkopf’s Guide to Subletting). I don’t want to jinx it so I’m not getting into too much detail for now because we’re only signing the contract tomorrow, but I have a pretty good feeling about this. In hindsight, we were basically willing to go and live anywhere, I mean we said “yes” to a place with an enormous coal stove for heating for goodness sake – thankfully one of the other 15 people that were interested got it and we will have a coal-free winter. Yeah. We eventually said “no” a couple of times too, which wasn’t easy when our back-up plan was basically to move to another – expensive and anonymous – holiday apartment for another month or so. But, when we least expected, we finally found a match on Friday – we said “yes” and they said “yes, do you prefer wood floors or carpet?” and it would seem that a smaller than expected but charming and empty flat in Charlottenburg with brand new wood (linoleum, I would imagine, but hoping for a surprise) floors is going to be the place we’ll be calling home for the foreseeable future. Although this will officially be our third home together (well, actually fifth if you count this holiday-month and those six months I crashed in Davide’s shared flat in Padova four years ago), it really feels like our first real apartment. Maybe because we have to furnish it, or maybe because we’re in Berlin and everything seems new and exciting, but this time it really feels like a big deal. So, plans for this week are: signing the rental contract, officially registering in Berlin, opening a German bank account, cleaning up the “new” place and becoming proud owners of a (new) mattress and a (probably second-hand) fridge. It would seem we’re a step closer to being able to say “ich bin ein Berliner” or, in our case, “wir sind Berliner”. Just cross your fingers for the hardwood planks.