Evelyn Marsters Finds Home in Berlin Four Years On
“What has collapsed the barbed edges of my [Berlin] experience and allowed me to feel like I have a community and live in a place where I can not just survive – but actually thrive?” Impolitikal deputy editor New Zealander Evelyn Marsters asks after four years living in the German capital.
“Has Berlin affected me so deeply that I might not be able to live anywhere else? Have I become too weird to live in Auckland? Could my next move possibly be, to not move?
“Time is the most significant factor in shifting from a state of heartache to rootedness,” Marsters writes. “There’s been an internalised and emotional shift over these last four years as well.
“Psychologically, I’ve learnt ways to soothe the claustrophobia of an intense urban environment and I’ve stopped fighting the desire to imagine what our life would look like had we stayed in New Zealand.
“As life in Berlin becomes the new normal for me I’ve had to rethink how I conceptualise the ideas of citizenship, identity, residency, and ‘home’. I’ve begun to think about how I can continue to embrace my citizenship with New Zealand, assert my Cook Islands identity, thrive as a resident of Berlin, and create a new global sense of ‘home’. These threads are weaving together to form the foundation of my new way of life.
“I believe I am an active New Zealand political citizen through my work and writing. And while my Cook Islands identity is tenuous at the best of times, I am using this time in Europe to advocate for Pacific issues and to acquire knowledge that can contribute to the new political futures of the Pacific region. I recognise now that to be resident in Berlin takes guts, and I need to continue to step outside my comfort zone and keep building my own village.
“Home is a conversation where I feel safe to share my thoughts, opinions, and anxieties.”
Marsters has a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Auckland. Her focus is global health and migration.
Original article by Evelyn Marsters, Impolitikal, September 12, 2017.