Deutschland, ich komme!

I have made the decision to return to the place of my upbringing after I graduate from Oregon State University.  Approximately one month from now I will be walking at my commencement ceremony and two short days later I will be boarding an airplane to embrace my new home in Munich, Germany.

This is going to be a rather interesting adventure for me.  Although I grew up in the Munich area, I left there when I was only 12 years old and in the past 11 years that I have spent in the US, I have, for all intents and purposes, become very americanized.  I have visited Munich many times since moving to the US, but it has only been as a tourist.  I have spent the last 5 years or so brushing up my German skills and will be receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in German (language and culture/history/literature) this June.  I won’t be going through the culture shock experienced by most expatriates, however this is indeed going to be a major change in my life.

I have done a lot of soul-searching throughout my time in College.  If nothing else, I have learned a lot about myself.  In studying German, I have learned a great deal about the English language.  In studying German culture I have learned a great deal about the American culture.  It’s funny how that happens.  In drinking American beer, I have learned to really appreciate German beer. 😉

When looking back over the last 6 years since graduating high school, my first thought is that I didn’t really learn anything at University.  It is just a huge bureaucratic mess that tries to shuffle as many students through it as possible so they can take our money.  I definitely didn’t end up where I started out.  I have changed my major more times than some people change their clothes in a week.  I have changed my views on life many times and my interests have changed significantly from when I first started.  So looking back and realizing that I spent an enormous amount of money on a degree that probably won’t relate much to my chosen career path at first is a little disheartening.  But taking a step back from this initial thought, I realize that I wouldn’t go back to change any part of it, given the chance.  I have learned a great deal about Business, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Liberal Arts.  But mainly, I have learned about myself.  I now know what I don’t want to do with my life.  I’m still not sure what I do want to do, but I know where I want to start out.  That is the first big step.  It took me 6 years to figure that out, but along the way I have met some amazing people.  In the last few years I have made friendships that will probably last a lifetime.  I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

So in the last month that I am here, I have really taken some time to think about life in America.  The things I will miss, the things I won’t.  Of course people say the grass is always greener on the other side.  I look forward to moving to Germany and somewhere deep down I think that everything will be perfect and I won’t ever look back.  Well these were my thoughts 11 years ago, when I decided to move to America with my mother in the first place.  At first everything was great and fun.  A new culture to get used to, new people, new school.  But I started missing things about Germany.  Things that were more important than Root Beer or Dr. Pepper (hope I can find that stuff in Germany).  At this point in my life, my friends hear me raving about the great food/beer/cities in Germany, but really that stuff isn’t worth moving to another country for.  And I would hate to try to convince someone that they should move to Germany because they have better beer.  Everyone has to do what is going to make them happy.  As a third-culture kid, I can only say that home is where the heart is.  I find myself disgruntled with American laws and politics frequently (will devote a separate blog post for that), but I think at this point in my life, my main reasons for leaving are family, friends, and career opportunity.  Food, Beer and Fun are a close second.  I think this will be a great opportunity for me to really reconnect with my father, see my brother frequently and hopefully be a part of my little sister’s life.  She is 7 now and I have only spent very little time with her in her short life.  Some of my best friends that I have made in college have somehow found their way over to Europe.  In fact, all my friends are leaving Corvallis this summer, so I won’t be missing anything here (other than my mom, of course).  So I’ll be leaving all that is familiar behind here, but I think my heart is in Munich right now.  I will be closer to some of my family, I will be closer to most of my friends, I will be enjoying a brand new life German-style.  I have re-established contact to some of my friends from grade school in Munich.  It will be interesting to see what these people are like now, if we still have anything in common.  Yes, it will be a great adventure indeed.

So for now I am trying to make the most of my final month in Corvallis.  I will be spending a lot of time with some close friends here, and my mother, and I will be taking a small trip to visit my grandmother before I go.  Aside from that, most of my time will be spent preparing for a move across the ocean.  I can only take the bare minimum with me, so selling stuff and giving stuff away and asking my mom to store some stuff for me has been a little sad.  But I am excited for what might await me in the new city.  I am mostly bummed that my toaster oven won’t be coming along with me.

That is all for now.  Goodbye, Corvallis!  Germany, here I come!

15 Comments

Jean PierreMay 16th, 2007 at 09:13

I was very pleased to meet you. You’re a very lovely person.

I wish you all the best for your trip to Munich. I won’t be living so far away when I return to Germany (about 120 kilometers) so we will definitely be able to meet again on the other side of the ocean.

If I can provide you with any help just give me a call. I am sure I can organize some Dr. Pepper for you when I’m back in Germany — you know I have my secret sources :-p

jabbaMay 16th, 2007 at 09:24

Thank you, Jean Pierre! It has been a pleasure for me too. I am definitely looking forward to seeing you in Germany.

PeterMay 16th, 2007 at 12:43

My dear Jabba, your words are true and direct. Never look back in regret. We have much in store for us for this next month… but I promise you, that it will not end after this next month. Not after this next year, or the next. But the year after that. That is when our friendship contract is up. If you wish to renew at that time, we will discuss possibilities. :)

Yes, I know, this is public confirmation that I am an avid reader of your blag. I hope you’re happy. “Here’s to not being gay!”

EvensonMay 16th, 2007 at 13:06

Your post made me smile. Hell, your post made Germany smile…and that’s not an easy thing to do.

jabbaMay 16th, 2007 at 13:11

Thank you guys for being such good friends to me.

@Peter: We’ll definitely need to look into some of the re-leasing options and/or buyout policies.

@Evenson: You’re just awesome.

FredMay 18th, 2007 at 11:56

Made me smile too (well yeah, he mentioned “Germany” already)!

I wish you good luck with all the stuff you still have to figure out before your move and I hope to see you very soon after you’re here.

And if you ever need somebody to bitch about the major German annoyances with that you’ll surely come across over here, make sure to give me a call so we can have a beer together. In public (imagine!).

TrabbaMay 20th, 2007 at 21:31

JABBA!! I can’t wait for you to get over here.. I had a great time in Munich this weekend and am looking forward for another excuse to come and re-discover the town without being quite so high.. 😛

Also, you’ll make friends quick here, I know it and you already know people in Prag, which is like going to Seattle…

I even met German Fred last week and his parents. Can you believe he’s not known as ‘German’ Fred here? Weird.

Anywho I can’t fucking wait for you to get here!! (I know I shouldn’t swear, but anything else couldn’t do it justice.)

Your little sis freut sich too!! Looks like dad already found you a job and an appartment, so the last thing you need to do is shit in a cup twice (three times if they lose the shit like they did for me… I still can’t believe they lost my shit..) and cough a couple times for your visa.. We’ll be sittin’ in the Augustiner Keller drinkin a Maß in no time..

TrabbaMay 20th, 2007 at 21:34

Did I say I was high? I meant I lived on the fourth floor, or something. 😛

FredMay 21st, 2007 at 00:11

You needed to shit in a cup for a visa? Now I don’t wonder anymore why people think Germans are weird.

EvensonMay 21st, 2007 at 04:14

Just to be on the safe side, I’ve started shitting in cups for just about anything over here. No wonder the lady at Deutsche Bahn gave me a weird look.

KarenMay 21st, 2007 at 14:28

I’m going to miss you!

KarenMay 21st, 2007 at 20:18

I hope to visit though!

FredMay 21st, 2007 at 23:03

You better visit, or else…!

KarenMay 28th, 2007 at 19:39

Oh I will visit… I’m thinking of moving there because I don’t think that I can stay away from Justin. He is just so awesome! :)

Jean PierreMay 28th, 2007 at 20:04

Karen, you would love it.

As there are more and more German parents who think it might be a good idea (I think it is!) to raise their children bilingual I’m sure you’ll find a job e.g. at a German kindergarden.

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