Though I don’t remember the exact date; it is a good 10 years ago that I left Germany. What started as an Erasmus year in Grenoble, brought me back to Berlin almost 4 years later. Only to leave again after the best world cup summer ever to go to South Africa.
From there to Belgium and now? Now, Brazil after five long though full and fulfilling years in Brussels.
When being asked if I don’t miss living in Germany; my answer is no. I sometimes miss my family but not much more. I love to visit Germany and I still feel very much German, especially when it comes to football, but already the few months I spent in Berlin in 2006 felt like a step back.
Living abroad, may it be France, Belgium, Brazil or Trinidad & Tobago, is never easy. It’s often complicated, sometimes tiring and occasionally annoying. Not being able to communicate, not knowing where to go when you have a problem, not being aware of different social systems all make it challenging. And still, this exactly what I like.
To me, life feels richer, fuller. I know that this is just me. Other people think differently, have different values. I remember when being all new and naive at university, not even 19 years old; I met a French student, fluent in German, studying Japanese and preparing her next big trip. And I thought: Wow, this is what I want too.
Looking back at the last 10 years, it is kind of what I got. Do I enjoy it? Yes, very much so. Was it easy to get there? Hell no!
So, what do we learn from this? Not much, sorry. Try to do what feels right to you; correct it when it feels wrong. Not exactly rocket science but worth remembering sometimes.