From Cow Town to Currywurst: A Small-Town Okie in the Big, Bold Berlin

Johannes Becht
3 min readMar 24, 2024

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Berlin, Germany. Image created with AI.

Ah, the age-old tale of a country bumpkin from the heart of Oklahoma finding himself smack dab in the middle of Berlin, Germany. Let me tell you, folks, it’s like swapping your pickup truck for a BMW and trading in your cowboy hat for a fedora faster than you can say “yeehaw.”

Although, hold on a second. I never had a pickup truck to begin with, and I’m not even from Oklahoma. I am from Germany originally, but I spent the last four years horse riding and shooting guns, or something along those lines. Actually, I got my degree there.

Now, picture this: a well-traveled dude like me spending four years in a town where the tallest building is the grain silo, where the closest thing to global cuisine is a Tex-Mex-Taco-Bell type joint that serves “exotic” dishes like jalapeño poppers. That lad, my friends, is me. And here I am, from the South of Germany (and the USA?), thrust into the whirlwind of Berlin deep in the East — where the skyline is dominated by towering structures, the streets buzz with languages from every corner of the globe, and the food… oh, the glorious food.

Oh, and a BMW would be useless here. There’s no parking.

But let’s start with the basics — the folks “back home” are as friendly as a golden retriever at a family picnic. You walk down the street, and you’re bound to bump into someone you know. In Berlin? Well, you might as well be invisible. It’s a city where anonymity reigns supreme, and personal space is as sacred as grandma’s apple pie or for my “folks back home,” the Second Amendment.

Speaking of pies, let’s talk about cuisine. In Oklahoma, it’s all about hearty portions of meat and potatoes — the kind of grub that sticks to your ribs and keeps you warm during those chilly winter nights. But Berlin? Berlin is a culinary melting pot, a veritable feast for the senses. From bratwurst to falafel, schnitzel to sushi, you name it, Berlin’s got it. And don’t even get me started on the currywurst — it’s a thing of beauty, a symphony of spices that’ll have your taste buds dancing the polka.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room — the nightlife. In Oklahoma, your idea of a wild night out might involve line dancing at the local honky-tonk or knocking back a few cold ones at the neighborhood bar. But in Berlin? Well, let’s just say the party never stops. From underground (techno) clubs hidden beneath graffiti-covered alleyways to rooftop bars with panoramic views of the city, Berlin’s nightlife scene is legendary. And don’t even get me started on the techno music — it’s like being transported to another dimension, a pulsating kaleidoscope of sound and light that’ll leave you wondering if you’ve stumbled into a rave or a spaceship.

Of course, with great nightlife comes great responsibility — namely, the dreaded hangover. In Oklahoma, you might nurse your hangover with a greasy breakfast burrito and a tall glass of sweet tea (with ice). But in Berlin? Hangover cures are practically an art form. From hearty bowls of pho to bracing shots of Fernet-Branca, Berliners have a remedy for every ailment — including the morning-after blues. (FYI, ice cubes for drinks are almost non-existent here)

But for all its differences, there’s something undeniably charming about both Oklahoma and Berlin. In Oklahoma, it’s the sense of community, the warmth of a small town where everyone knows your name. In Berlin, it’s the sense of possibility, the thrill of living in a city where anything can happen — and usually does.

So, here I am — a former four-year small-town Okie navigating the neon-lit streets of Berlin, stumbling upon new adventures around every corner. It’s a far cry from the wide-open plains of Oklahoma, but hey, variety is the spice of life, right? And if there’s one thing I’ve learned on this wild ride, it’s this: whether you’re tippin’ your hat in Oklahoma or raising a stein in Berlin, life is one heck of a grand adventure. So buckle up, my friends, and enjoy the ride — wherever it may take you. Cheers!

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Johannes Becht
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Journalist & Copywriter with work experience in Germany & U.S. Currently living in Berlin. I'm also a filmmaker/actor and more. www.johannesbecht.com/journalist