It’s been a year since this picture was taken. Wow, time…flying…those type of cliches. But I want to tell the story behind it: about how I realized it was time to leave Munich.
Last summer I was living in Munich, Germany and in job/life limbo while I tried to figure out what I was doing with myself. After weeks of fruitless applications and interviews, I got a weekend away and went north to visit my friend Anne-Sophie in her university town of Marburg. We hung out, took pictures, and ate mediocre Spanish food–more details about those two days can be found here. Anna-Sophie snapped this picture right before I got on my train back to Frankfurt.
I spent that train ride feeling better than I had in a long time. See, that summer was very HARD for me, mentally, emotionally and all that. And then, on that train? It was as though all the tiredness and blehness, the depressed moods and self-doubting questions of “What the hell am I DOING?!” had been wiped away, magically, by Marburg’s fairy-tale creatures.
Or rather, by hanging out with Anne-Sophie and basking in her awesomeness. Yeah, okay I’m being a little hyperbolic here. But only a little.
I spent that train ride elated and smiling because for the first time in weeks I felt like myself again.
Because Anne-Sophie is smart, talented, and motivated and when I hang out I want to be better than I am.
Because we talked about our dreams for adventure–traveling the entirety of the South American continent with backpacks and nothing else, WWOOFing and Couchsurfing through Brazil, going to Asia for a year or more to simultaneously work, teach and dance around, having fantastic breathtaking adventures, and being wild, crazy, and living life the best way we can.
And through all that, I…remembered who I was, for lack of a better phrase. I remembered that I want to see the entire world, not just western Europe. That I want to get my Master’s, but I also want to live in the rainforests and/or go play around in Australia.
While we nerded out over a university department that looks like Hogwarts–and dreamily planned our next adventures–I realized why I was so frustrated with my Munich job hunt. For me, a job is either an opportunity for me to change the world (fine, a tiny corner of it), OR it’s a way to earn enough money to buy my next plane ticket. The jobs I was hunting in Munich did neither.
I’d come to Munich to give my relationship with German Boy a chance. But I wasn’t happy in Munich. And fundamentally, I didn’t WANT to be in Munich. I wanted to:
get a Master’s in TESOL,
work in Asia or the Middle East,
backpack South America,
join the Peace Corps,
change the world in my homeland, the USA!
I wanted a million things, but not one of them included building a life in Munich, Germany.
So, what now Jeannette, I thought as the train pulled in to Frankfurt Station What now? Well, anything I want!
Three weeks later, I bought my plane ticket home to Portland. Yeah, it did take me three weeks to solidify my decision. But as I look back on that summer, I realize that I made my choice on the train out of Marburg.
Now, I love this picture because it’s gorgeous. Among her many talents, Anne-Sophie is an excellent photographer. 🙂
But it also reminds me that my wanderlust is an integral part of me. Also, that it’s okay to give up when something’s making me unhappy.