For some unclear reason, I was deeply marked by a French xenophobic slogan. "La France, tu l'aimes ou tu la quittes", "You love France or you leave it". Which was never addressed to me, a white guy, born in France of French citizenship. However, I really dislike how France is and evolves, racism, far right, etc... And in a sens, I'm convinced that it's easier for me to leave it for a cooler place than to change it. Actually, it was easier for me to find job abroad, it seems French companies are not interested in my resume, so it's even more tempting to leave if this lead to an interesting and well-paying job. More recently, I realized that if I don't like what France becomes, it may be better to try to change it - even if I don't know how - and to do it while in the country.
Let's go back to Berlin. I was hired by Amazon Web Service (AWS) in June 2021 in Berlin. In the same time, I know I had friends who protested against Amazon new campus in Berlin. One of the main argument being that it causes gentrification. I kind of like a slogan I saw:
Better dirty neighbors than your dirty money! Mother Fucker! Køpi platz lives forever
Indeed, as a junior developer I was paid by Amazon more than many senior developers in local companies. I could easily afford and obtain a three room apartment in the center of the town and live there very comfortably. Have a home office, a bedroom, and a living room, using one of those as guest room when I want to invite someone. A big kitchen with everything to cook comfortably, a bathtub and a shower... Taking it would mean that a family of three have one less opportunity to find a place where they could have a room for their children.
Obviously, I could move to a WG - a shared apartment. I have seen friends living in WG on the fourth floor without elevator in a old building. I must admit that I don't feel this is what I want either. I guess it would improve my legs fitness, and help meet people (the flatmate and their acquaintances). Sadly, I didn't meet as many people as I hoped living in Berlin, as I was waiting for the vaccine.
The solution is obvious, instead of 3 rooms or a WG, I could just take a cool flat, still with a fully furnished kitchen, a big shower, and live comfortably in a single room. But leaving less flats for the students who just want to come study in Berlin.
It's quite easy to think about those people since I constantly see on Facebook housing groups people having a hard time to find a place to live, and stating that their budget is only a fifth of mine. Furthermore, when I visited those new apartments that seemed confortable, the rental agent often told me that the building is great to network; they have plenty of Amazon, Tesla... employee who arrived in Berlin recently and moved there. With remote work, it's easy to miss the size of Amazon in Berlin. But I realized the impact this had on Berlin when, even for apartment far away from the (future) tower, my employer is mentioned by the agent. This also increases my feeling that I did not want to be a part of this Berlin change. If I love Berlin as it is, being a part of its change means that I may enjoy it a few years at most, even from an egoist perspective it makes little sens.
One anecdote without importance: I actually got a rental contract for an apartment at Wallstraße (literally Wall Street), which was a little bit too much on the nose for someone already having the thoughts I wrote above.
I'm coming back to Paris. Obviously, the same remarks could probably apply to Paris. But I guess the other difference is that I don't find Paris cool and I don't see it as much as Berlin as something to protect.