Drawn by the creative spirit of the city, Serita Braxton decided to relocate to Berlin in 2016 to focus on her career as a writer. While preparing for her move from the States, she noticed a great void of information on what to actually expect when starting a life in the city. After months of trial and error trying to navigate the visa process, new social norms, and confusing dating culture she wanted a way to sharing her experiences to help fellow newcomers and current Berlinerins.
Now celebrating the second year of sharing stories, tips, and local guides, she has achieved her goal of helping and connecting with the Berlin community through social media and networking events. Along with the professional experience she’s gained while in Berlin, building the blog has inspired Serita to turn her favorite topic, dating, into a heartfelt and entertaining book. Learn more about the creator of Berlinerin Blog and find out what’s next for her.
What inspired you to create Berlinerin Blog?
When I moved to Berlin in 2016 I had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I wanted to live here and was determined to make it work. But before moving I scoured the internet for advice and tips on how to start a life in Berlin as painlessly as possible. But everything was either outdated or in German, with undecipherable translations. On top of that, none of that information was written by or for women.
After moving, I saw an opportunity to create a source for women to get information that’s easy to read and based on real life experiences. At first, I brainstormed the site with two former colleagues who both dropped out after our first meeting. Then I told someone else about the abandoned idea and she pledged to create it with me. A couple of months later she also dropped out.
But the purpose of the site was still really important to me so I did my best to create content and spread the word by myself. Even when I didn’t have enough time to dedicate to new blogs, each month I’ve always showcased a different woman doing incredible things in Berlin. These features are really important to me because our stories are important. I want to inspire those with big dreams that building their own path is possible.
It wasn’t always easy and I’ve definitely been neglectful but I’m so blown away when I meet someone for the first time and they say, “Oh! I know that blog.” Even if just one woman found it helpful then I’m happy.
All it takes is asking, “Are you okay?” to keep a bad situation from getting worse or even just to make someone feel seen.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
“You’re not a tree.” This is the most recent gem one of my friends told me. What she meant by that is that we are not destined to stay in a situation that’s not working for us. We’re free to move to a new city for a better life, we can be empowered to leave our unfulfilling job, and we don’t have to stay in a relationship if it’s no longer working.
It’s not to say that taking risks or making these decisions will be easy. But nothing in life is permanent and I do believe even detours lead us to the path we’re meant to be on.
Who inspires you the most?
I can’t pick just one person. I’ve met so many incredible and inspiring women while living in Berlin. To name just a few, Margherita of Women Writing Berlin Lab who does frequent showcases and writing sessions, Petra who now runs her own company giving singing lessons in Zurich, and my friend and illustrator Melissa who runs her own online shop. They’ve all inspired me to chase what I’m passionate about.
But I’ve met so many lovely artists, writers, and entrepreneurs. They’ve all come here from another city with a fierce determination to have their voices heard and leave their mark on the world. They have an idea and build it from scratch, mainly powered by other people in their communities. It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished without a ton of money or resources when people work together.
What is one thing you love about Berlin and what is something you would change?
One thing I love about Berlin is that there’s a place for everyone, no matter what they’re into. It’s a great place to explore the depths of experiences that may be taboo or scandalous where you come from without fear of judgement.
I would change whatever it is that keeps people from standing up for others. I’ve seen women harassed, I’ve been harassed and assaulted, or I’ve seen people sick or struggling – but so many people walk by with blinders on. There seems to be this general consensus that, “its not happening to me, so it’s not my problem.”
I once saw a man sitting on the side of the road, sort of uncomfortably close to traffic. So I walked over and asked him if he was okay. He looked at me and said, “Thank you. I’m just waiting for my girlfriend but it’s really rare to have someone come check on you here. I’m always going to remember you for that.” All it takes is asking, “Are you okay?” to keep a bad situation from getting worse or even just to make someone feel seen.
Where is your favorite place to visit in Berlin?
Essentially I never want to leave my Kiez of Friedrichshain. Seriously, even Mitte is too far and it’s a 10 minute train ride away. I can tell you all of the good bars (mainly non-smoking), yummy restaurants, and clubs worth going to in the area.
But if I have to choose just one place it would be Santa Cantina on Simon-Dach-Strasse. They have great margaritas, taco Tuesday specials (although their regular menu is better), and the staff is (usually) pretty cool. I’ve had many great memories and laughs with friends there. I’ve celebrated my birthday and other milestones there. And I’ve had more margs there than I can count.
What events or projects are you excited about in the next year?
It’s been a lovely ride, but my time in Berlin has come to an end. This city has helped me grow into the person I needed to become at this time in my life and has given me the creative freedom to invest in my writing. But it’s time for me to open the next chapter, with warmer weather.
Even though I won’t be publishing content on the site, I still hope to give readers a good laugh. I’m happy to share that I’ve released my second self-published book, Recovering Loveaholic. It’s inspired by my time in Berlin as a I like to call it: being chronically single. The dates that I went on and the way I was treated like I was disposable made me think, “How can one person have such terrible luck in love?”
But then I started to hear the exact same stories from other women. Everywhere I turned, women were dumbfounded about why they kept getting ghosted, pissed off that they dedicated two or three months with a guy only for him to finally figure out he wasn’t ready for anything serious, and they were saddened by the fact that in a city with so many people they couldn’t find a mate that would appreciate them.
So I turned all of that heartbreak and disappointment into a story that highlights how dire dating can be but how much better we feel when we share our stories – and learn to laugh about them. You can’t control how or when you find the person you’re meant to be with but until you do, this book will definitely take your mind off of it.
For those uncomfortable with supporting Amazon, Recovering Loveaholic is also available on Google Play, Apple Books, Barnes and Noble, and more!