My partner and I moved to Munich in late January, leaving Brooklyn after seven years of city life and decades more of living in the New York (the state). Life over the last few months has largely consisted of going through the steps of rebuilding life. Finding and moving into a new home, searching for and settling into new jobs, etc. The things anyone goes through when they move to a new place, but with a sprinkle of visa hassles and language woes.
The strangest part for me thus far has been accepting that I left New York behind. I’m no longer a New Yorker. It’s the city I always dreamed about as a kid. It’s a place that I really built my identity around (likely to an unhealthy degree). It’s the insane asylum where I thought I’d die because, honestly, where else would I go?
There was always the joke of people moving to New York from middle America, living in one of four neighborhoods for 2-3 years, then getting burnt out and leaving, writing a blog post on their way out about how dirty the city is and how relieved they are to leave their tiny overpriced apartment behind.
I guess now I’m one of them, blog post and all.
It’s hard to deny it: our quality of life has substantially increased in basically every way since moving to Munich. The streets are clean, the bike lanes are plentiful and protected, the trains and public transit work well enough to feel a first class citizen of society without owning a car, our home is substantially larger and nicer for a fraction of the price, the access to nature is unlike anything I’ve ever had before. I want to say the politics are better, but honestly I just don’t speak enough German yet to understand them and, well, ignorance is bliss.
Of course, the difficulty is knowing my friends and family are all back in New York. Eight-and-a-half hours by plane. All the freaks and weirdos and music and culture and comedy and sailing and restaurants; all that stuff I loved is still back in that romantic rat-infested dump from whence I came. I imagine this will wear off with time, but it’s a constant droning feeling at this stage of the life transition. A feeling that I constantly wonder if will lure me back to the motherland one day.
It’s easy to get ahead of myself though. My brain has a tendancy to worry about a distant future that it has no business involving itself with. I’m very happy with this new life we’re building here. Germany has been a generous and welcoming host to us thus far. Life is comfortable and pleasant. Learning a new culture, language, lifestyle, and land is a challenge that should keep me happily occupied for the foreseeable future. Things are good.