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Won't You Be My Nachbar?


So I screwed up and ordered some random stuff from Amazon and then left town for a few days. I figured the packages were small enough to fit into my mailbox but apparently the postman thought otherwise and instead of receiving my stuff I received a couple of notes letting me know that they missed me. Woops.

When I saw the notices instead of my packages I was frustrated because that meant that I would then have to figure out how to navigate how to get my packages, maybe visit the post office and show my ID or something annoying like in the US. Just another foreign process in a foreign language. Doable and exciting, but these little seemingly simple things can be frustrating in other countries and/or foreign languages sometimes. But, as I gave the notices a closer look, I saw that they were just letting me know they had left my packages with one of the other residents in the building, a neighbor, or Nachbar in German. How cool! If you're not home, the postman just leaves your stuff with your neighbor and documents it on the delivery slip so you can get it from them when you're back in the building. Genius! Maybe this is commonplace in Europe and the US is just late to the game. Or maybe we're just too into our privacy or something in the USA. Or maybe we just suck at getting to know our neighbors. But the fact that here, in a huge city like Berlin, someone else in your building, probably a stranger, can take your package for you and will just hang on to it until you pick it up is pretty spectacular and awesome to me. I just popped over to one neighbor and she had my package and was very nice. Easy! The other person wasn't home but I'll give them a try later I guess. I know I'm an easily impressed American over here but how cool! I'm so happy to be your neighbor in Berlin!