This blog post doesn’t come from a bitter or lonely place but it is nevertheless something I am confronted with on some occasions and it is an observation worth noting and elaborating on a bit so here it goes.
I can’t help but to think about how much of an outsider I am in literally most situations and aspects of life. I never had a group of friends. I never found the thing I’m passionate about and pursued it with like-minded people. I haven’t had epic teenage or student years. I never just belonged. The last time I remember that I did was when I’d go horseback riding during the holidays when I was little, a time that I cherished so much I’d cry my eyes out every time I had to go home.
There were periods in my life where I really got along with my coworkers and felt like I was part of the work and the company and felt and appreciated etc. There was also a time where I was part of a group but that was through association with my ex-boyfriend. But overall, whether I get introduced to friends of friends or whether it’s at a show (which is a thing I do for enjoyment, so I’m choosing to be there so consequently should feel comfortable but sometimes just don’t), I’m never the person that knows everyone. I sometimes know others that seem to know everyone.
I had a chat with my flatmate (she’s Portuguese but I think really identifies as Portugese even though she has been in London for longer than I have been) and we got to talking about how for me I don’t feel like making big changes to my life at the moment because I have moved around so much and it is exhausting to start over again and again. I have been here for two years now and it is only since a year or so that I’ve started to really feel at home here. This is partially because everyone in London is a foreigner, which is why I feel really at ease here- Brexit or not. It is so normal for people here to have curious backgrounds and to hear many different languages within one day whereas in Germany it is- largely speaking- pretty straight forward. I gave my flatmate the example of sitting on the subway in Hamburg, and you can feel the German-ness. Everyone is comfortable being German, no one will doubt or question my German-ness, and I guess this is where my discomfort with it lies, because more than anything I identify as European.
Sometimes I fear that I’ll be an outsider forever, which in a way isn’t an unjustified concern. If I moved back to Germany now, I would have missed several years of living and working there and doing things that normal people my age do that don’t move countries. I can’t keep up with slang, not to mention youth language (yes, I am getting to that age), and to this day I don’t have many close German friends. My German vocabulary is limited, possibly due to the fact that I haven’t studied a university course in German, I have completely lost the plot on German politics and I’ve never had a German boyfriend. This all may sound trivial but it just decreases the extent to which I identify as German and can relate to other people that do.
Maybe Berlin retains its current status as a city that attracts people from all over the world (and doesn’t get more expensive but this is very likely to be wishful thinking). In that case I might return to my roots eventually. It would be a nice combination of both, the insanely high German quality of life that I have learned to really appreciate while living abroad, and an international vibe. And maybe I’ll learn to be German again at some point in my life too.