All The Same, All Different

by jonnywhitlam

Living in Berlin

I visited Canada recently. One of the places I was fortunate enough to visit was Toronto. Toronto is a fascinating place for all of its own reasons, and it should really go without saying that it’s spectacularly different to Berlin. I feel a bit stupid even writing the previous sentence, but sometimes things like this need pointing out.

One year ago I’d only just moved to Berlin. I didn’t have enough money to go back to England for Christmas. Everything around me was fantastically new and exciting. Even in as short a time as 365 days Berlin has kind of become ‘the norm’ to me. I even experienced a certain degree of culture shock in Canada. People were actually nice and polite to one another! Being North America it seemed like more people chose to drive. Everyone. Everywhere. Toronto has a definitive ‘city centre’, Berlin doesn’t have one of those! Outside of the centre things seemed quiet, there weren’t nearly as many pedestrians in Toronto as I’m used to seeing in Berlin.

Immigrant communities seemed far more varied and likely to keep to themselves, for example – Greek Town, Little Korea, Little Italy. It’s a cool place. Hopefully these two photos go some way to show you both the similarities and differences between these two places. They’re just shop fronts, and they weren’t taken with the intention of being contrasted, to highlight likenesses or otherwise, but as I took the above photo in Berlin today it reminded of the one below and this idea just popped up out of nowhere. There’s got to be a lesson in there I think; don’t take your culture for granted. Which seems weird coming from a Brit with a reluctant love for German culture. Life is strange.

Visiting Toronto