About one year ago, I quit my job in Munich and started packing the first things in our apartment, not knowing what exactly was going to come. I knew I was moving to The Hague, but with three months notice, it wasn’t possible to find a new job before quitting the old one, especially not when still living in another country and moving to a place where a notice of one month is the standard. But although I was very insecure about quitting my job without having a new one in the pipeline and the fact that I was, again, moving to a city where I had never lived before, hoping I would feel better there, I knew it was the right decision from the start. Because after all, the main feeling about finally taking this step was not insecurity, it was relieve.
Oh oh, The Hague
The plan of moving to The Hague wasn’t at all different from the one moving to Munich. About three and a half years ago, my husband and I came back from living in the US. We knew we wanted to go back to Europe again, but had an entire map of possibilities before us. As we had been in Munich for a weekend a few years prior and very much liked the city back then, we decided it might be a good step to move there. My husband got a job before we actually came back from the US, which was great and turned the vague idea of living in Munich into a plan. A few weeks later, living in some shitty Airbnb, me still looking for a job and not enjoying the German autumn weather at all, I already had my doubts. I had expected it to be difficult: The rent were way higher than expected (saying that, keep in ming that we both worked in luxury real estate in NYC and were still shocked about the overprizedness in Munich), I had trouble finding a job at first, as officially, I had never worked full-time before and just graduated, and obviously every employer was looking for somebody with a few years of experience. I hated it. I got to know people and I hated it a bit less. We got an apartment, and the situation improved significantly. I kept telling myself that I just needed to give it a chance. I tried. And after two and a half years in Munich I realized: This is never gonna work. Munich is great, but it’s just not for me.
The same could have happened in The Hague. Honestly, although I have been here more often as a kid (in Munich too, btw), I had no idea if we would like it. I had problems finding a job at first, applying to everything that might be interesting for me from Munich, having to fly over for job interviews every now and then. Maybe it was my conviction that I would love The Hague, maybe it was the fact that we knew people right from the start or that it finally feels like coming back home after some years abroad, but: luckily, it wasn’t Munich all over again. It feels like home, like a place where I could actually stay for longer than just a few years. In those first months here, I realized how off I felt for the past years. With myself, with the situation, with the place I lived. It just didn’t fit, but it took me quite some time to figure that out. The relieve that I felt right after I quit my job was the first sign, but the change in moods, motivation and activeness is the confirmation. For the first time since first moving abroad about 9 years ago, I finally feel like I came home. And that feels really good.
Moving abroad – would I do it again?
Although most people see me as German as I was born in Germany, I just wanna get something straight before answering this question: I am Dutch. I got a Dutch passport, I think (mostly) in Dutch and even when still living in Munich, I read the Dutch news. To me, moving to Munich was the move abroad while moving to The Hague was moving back home.
With Munich not turning out as I expected and me not feeling good there, you might expect that I’d rather say no. It wasn’t the only country I didn’t like as much living in, after all. But: Yes, if I was in the same situation again, I would make the same decision and move abroad again before finally moving back home. I would very much enjoy choosing another city, maybe even another country where I had never been before, maybe even way farer away from home than Munich. I would always make that choice again, because living abroad has taught me so much about myself and I just loved exploring all those countries and cities and get to know people and cultures. In the current situation? No, not really. I still have plenty of opportunity to travel, and for now, that seems to be fine. Having a home base feels good, after all. But never say never!