For the lack of being understanding or encouraging in most humans, there are only a hand-full of people in my life who actually know about my plans of leaving Germany. And I have had them ever since I visited Brittany in 2014. I came back several times, and I always had the same thoughts. Driving by the beautiful houses, the houses often filled with kitsch, not well maintained, and ruined by the omnipresent cheap electrical heaters.
Being in these houses, always just for not long enough, I would find myself fantasizing about how I would decorate them, restore them, honor their historic design or redo the floors, rip out all the ugly vinyl, sand the nice old wood that I would find below and to make it mine, to have my soul take possession of the place and own it.
Falling out of love with Germany and wanting to emigrate
This has been my carousel of thoughts for long. And it is not just in Brittany. It is the same in Corsica. It is the same when I visit a café. While having my not perfect cappuccino, I think about how I would do it. I think about the coffee machine I’d buy, and where I would get it at a third of the price. I think about all the tiny beautiful thrifted hipster things I would put on the walls.
Boy, I would dwell in that hipster sh_t, trust me, I’d make it my life’s mission to make it cheap and artsy at the same time. So much that every Berlin douchebag with a camera would get a big fat interior boner from just looking inside the window.
Yep. That’s me. That is how I think. I know, it is a bit arrogant. But I also know that I can 100% pull that off. All it takes is will and taste. I almost rented a coffee place once. Even made a whole business plan on paper. Then we moved and I had other things to do. Then came the pandemic. I also realize every other month that I actually like lasers and data science and that my profession is well-paid and does not suck. Probably more than most people have and reason to be grateful.
However, a small house somewhere else is my dream, and so is a café when I retire. I will have it. I know I will. Just not now. I do however want to speed up the process of leaving Germany.
Getting to know Sweden and making more concrete plans
2020 has taught me many things, and one of them was that I am not happy here and that I feel disconnected to the German people. The whole mentality of rule-loving in-advance obedience, I find it revolting. I can’t see myself living in a country where people call the police on a few kids sitting on a park bench or my kid riding her bike on a hill, having that hill blocked in addition to the playground that already was forbidden to us. I don’t care for late apologies. I care about what people did to other people without even hesitating here.
Maybe not everything is perfect somewhere else. But it’s not littered with memories like this place. It is not full of mental baggage and reminders of what was going on.
When I visited Sweden in 2020, I had the immediate impression of nice people minding their own business. I felt at ease. Also the nature was pretty f_cking awesome. They have more lakes than inhabitants. How can you not find that amazing? I love lakes. Makes for pretty pictures.
And no, I am not saying that in any ironic way. I totally f_cking want my life to look like other people’s life on Instagram. I want that, but for real. And I know I can do it. You know how I know? My life actually looks like it does on Instagram, and I think it’s pretty decent. I know that’s braggy, but I love taking photos and I love looking at them. I adore waking up and having a wooden floor.
Moreover, my perspective is not just the one of a tourist. I was working quite a bit while there. I was just working on my own projects. And when it comes to my work in programming, data science or physics, that really doesn’t change much with crossing borders, I believe…
So when I imagine my life abroad I can see what it could look like, be like and feel like. This is like a weird little superpower, but it is also a curse. Because, psychologically, the moment you can imagine your dream too well, you lose your edge. You need to be in a bad place to want to be in a good one. If your place is not bad but just average annoying, you won’t drag yourself out of the mud by yourself. You will do what’s convenient.
Like me. I live in a nice apartment in an okay and safe part of a big city with access to a lot of good things and people. I don’t have any pressure to leave this place. Yet I am not happy here and I am convinced that it is not just me, it’s this city.
Munich is a very conservative city. Sure, the few cool younger people that don’t drive SUVs, they are always a bit protective of this place. They say stuff like »The Asian food is amazing though« or »Just come with us to this bar…«. And sure, there are all these pricy but nice things you can do here. Yet I know it is not fulfilling.
I have lived in cities my entire life. I have craved the city life with its drinks, drugs and dark alleys. I adored being up late, getting destructively productive after midnight. I enjoyed it very much to be me, a student of physics, a person who worked three jobs at once, who learned two new languages and moved five times and chased love and chased weird dangerous hobbies. I liked doing all that and I liked doing it in Germany.
But I am kind of done. Maybe I just need a break. But I find that even long vacations don’t help anymore. I find that whatever nice new job I do, it is not as fulfilling as it felt when I was young and dumb and thought that money buys me things that make me happy. It does, sure, but it doesn’t do enough of that when put into proportion. The proportion of robbing me of time to myself, time with my kid and time in nature.
In an idealistic scenario, I would to leave this place, work part-time, be a creator, do all that crazy stuff I thought I could do but didn’t because I settled, and then dwell in the awesomeness of it for the rest of my life. But if that doesn’t work out, well it’s also fine if I just do some programming for the rest of my life. It’s also fine to work full-time. I actually like programming and data science, as long as it’s versatile. I don’t care so much about what I do in the end, as long as it is in a nice team and they have a coffee machine. I like working with others, I like working alone. I don’t care what it is. As long as I am getting my 🍑 out of here.