It’s not been too long since I moved back to the Netherlands from Munich. I spent three years there, living, working, making friends and trying to get the best out of my time there – to realize in the end, that it’s never gonna feel like home. However, like every city I lived in, I learned a lot from my time there. Here are my five life lessons from Munich!
1. Understanding Bavarian. Oachkatzlschwoaf, Boatzn and more – to be honest, I did not really use many of them except for the obligatory Servus. But after not understanding my colleagues talking to me in Bavarian (although it is some kind of German, which I speak fluently) for a while, I got pretty good over the years to at least pick up the main subject of the conversation.
2. A dirndl is not just a dirndl. When I went to get my first one in the store after some months in Munich (obviously for Oktoberfest) I had no clue what I was in for. There were so many different choices, and apparently there are as many ways to do it wrong. Luckily, a friend helped me out and made sure, that I got the right one.
3. Being honest about what I want in life. After trying to fit in in the beginning, I realized at some point that there is only one person who can figure out what I want from life, and that’s me. After years of working next to my studies, I had my first real job in Munich, and quit pretty quickly because it was just not my cup of tea. That was a really good decision. And although I realized later on that this was not the path I wanted to continue to go down, I learned a lot from that second job. It’s not always the most important to hang in there and push through, but to really ask yourself what you want. Although this might be pretty frustrating from time to time.
4. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. When I first arrived in Munich, I did not really enjoy myself and the time there – because I was busy finishing the apartment, getting settled and more. I was only working forward to finally being done. And let’s face it, often that doesn’t happen. I could have enjoyed myself so much more if I had known this from the start. Just living in the moment, shrug at things from time to time and just deal with it later on.
5. Home is where the heart is. I thought I would feel at home almost everywhere, and I expected Munich to be one of those places. But even after three years, that feeling never became true and I was really looking forward to the next step: Going back to the Netherlands. I still think, you need to give every place an honest chance, but when even after a longer time, you do not feel right at home, you probably never will. And then it’s most important to just be honest to yourself and think of a solution.