Berlin: Grit City

Growing up with such an incredibly hard-working mother as a role model, the concept that success isn’t given, it’s earned was instilled in me at a very young age. From my days as a competitive dancer on the Dynamic Allstars Dance Team (you read dat right!) to making this Eurotrip a reality, my drive and relentless determination to achieve my goals has always been something I take pride in.

One of my favorite Will Smith quotes, and yes I have multiple favorites, is: “The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there's two things: You're getting off first, or I'm going to die. It's really that simple, right?” For me, it is that simple. You either hustle or you hand over your dream to someone who will.

Kites flying at Tempelhofer Feld

Kites flying at Tempelhofer Feld

Posted up at the Brandenburg Gate

Posted up at the Brandenburg Gate

Recently, though, it’s been difficult to get this fiery passion inside of me going. I’ve been spending way too much time dwelling on things I can’t change and being envious of those who have achieved goals similar to mine, rather than putting in the work that it’s going to take to get me there! Smh.

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

U-Bahn stop at Tierpark

U-Bahn stop at Tierpark

Up until right now it’s been difficult for me to pinpoint why I fell so hard for Berlin. There are SO many reasons I love the city, but what I love the most is that it embodies this grit and determination more than any of the places that I’ve visited. It’s a city full of creators, innovators, artists, musicians and overall hustlers striving to achieve whatever it is their hearts desire.

Tape art exhibit at Neurotitan

Tape art exhibit at Neurotitan

From learning about Berlin’s thought-provoking street art from Dave, one of the Alternative Berlin Tour’s passionate tour guides, to the incredibly wise and talented Ghanaian chef we met at the YAAM who, you could clearly tell by tasting his food, was very passionate about his craft as well.

Dancing street art girls by SOBR

Dancing street art girls by SOBR

Cosmonaut Mural by Victor Ash

Cosmonaut Mural by Victor Ash

This ingenious passion was incredibly inspirational and seemed to be a growing trend amongst the Berliners I met during my time there.

Lucy and I with one of the amazing friends we made in Berlin, Caro.

Lucy and I with one of the amazing friends we made in Berlin, Caro.

The city is a constant reminder that regardless of your past or where you’re from, we’re all capable of accomplishing what we set our minds to, if we’re willing to put in the work. Or in the words of Angela Duckworth (author of Grit), “greatness is doable.”

Fraternal Kiss by Dmitri Vrubel at the East Side Gallery

Fraternal Kiss by Dmitri Vrubel at the East Side Gallery

So thanks for the wake up call, Berlin. I needed it.

With Love,

Misako