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Berlin: The 21st most liveable city…?

When the fabulous Agy of Green Issues wrote about the world’s most liveable cities  I was pleasantly surprised to see Berlin on the list…even more surprising? It was ranked 21 out 50! The best part? She wanted to know exactly what made these cities so “liveable” and I got to write about Berlin!

and so…

without further ado…

here’s my groovy Berlin liveability interview with Agy

German wheels? yes please!

After years of complaining about stinky, packed trains, rental car prices & having taxi companies rob us blind we finally decided it was time to invest in a car of our own…a frustrating adventure that finally ended with the purchase of this bit of fabulicious family functionality:

Here’s the least painless way to get your own…

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Canadian to German Driving License in just 4 steps?

Unbelievably in a country as chock full of bureaucratic BS as Germany it really did only take 4 relatively simple steps to exchange my Canadian driver’s license for a German Führerschein

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Finding a Home in (Berlin) Germany

So, you’ve found love, a new job or for some strange reason think this dirty, unfriendly, xenophobic city is just fantastisch. Whatever the reason, you’ve moved to Berlin & now need a place to call home. Since relocating here in 2008 I have moved twice, once to a bigger apartment & the second time to escape a threatening asshat neighbour.

Update: I’ve now moved for a third (& hopefully last) time!

Finding a property is quite easy. Here’s a few good sites to start with:

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Knocked Up in Germany

Congratulations! You have successfully procreated! It’s a time of excitement, fear & joy! If  you live in Germany it’s also a time of paperwork, confusion, desperately looking for a doctor you can get along with (or at least tolerate),  peeing into cups, having your blood drained & scans…lots of scans! The German health service is fantastic…it’s the people working for it who can make it or break for you, especially during hormonal pregnancy time! Continue reading

How to (not) get married in Germany

Speaking from experience, (as a non-EU citizen) trying to get married to a German in Germany is as impossible as it is frustrating. The mountains of completely unnecessary paperwork; running from this office to that office; getting all of the certified documents within a specific time frame; trying to get a Ledigkeitsbescheinigung – a certified letter  from a government office in your home country confirming  your single status – something that the German authorities insist on having BUT does not actually exist outside of Germany, (the Canadian embassy now offers a “Certificate in lieu of non-impediment to marriage certificate for German registrar” for a fee) the list is as confusing as it is endless. This video made by the talented &  clever Andrew Bossum (aka rewboss) illustrates all of the insanity perfectly (although rewboss is an EU citizen & had to jump through a few less hoops than those of us without EU passports)

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Self Employment Visa – or – how to become legal in Germany

This is how I (a Canadian) received my first 1 year freelancer/self employment visa – Freiberufliche Tätigkeit, how I extended it for 2 more years & then got the insanely easy unlimited spouse/marriage visa I have now .

The Self Employment visa is the least complicated to get if you are an architect, artist, language teacher or have profession that can be easily proven to work on a freelance basis (ie: graphic design, catering, hairstylist, etc…) .

If you do not speak a passable level of German you MUST take along someone who does. Seriously, governmental offices do not make a habit of employing English speakers, you are in Germany after all.

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