Bloom where you’re planted – or replant yourself

Post in: Englisch

A colleague just returned from a conference on another continent. As usual, she had amazing experiences with new sights, cuisine, and culture, and she loved having been. 

And as usual, she said how glad she was to come home, because “it’s so nice here.”

I love feeling that way, too. 

My entire childhood, my family lived in a swampy, hot, sub-tropic climate from which we would escape at every opportunity. I am talking about you, Northwest Houston.

We went north, to the mountains: to clear skies, dry air, and babbling creeks or windy deserts. 

We returned from trips feeling increasingly demoralized as the streetscape became more and more familiar. 

I vividly recall the feelings of being caged in, stuck, limited, and the self-pitying that ensued to return to everyday life in such a (for me) difficult climate and alienating culture. 

The feeling was compounded by the fact that no one in the family was precisely thrilled at the 100% humidity and car-centered built environment.

Some suffered more than others. My mother grew up in beautiful Connecticut and she suffered enormously from the lack of four seasons and the brutal heat that meant almost all of her favorite flowers and plants had no chance.

As I became an adult and started to move around, I loved the feeling of being able to choose where to live. 

Of course I was limited by where I could support myself, but there are usually jobs available in different kinds of locations, to which one can choose to apply (Pro-tip: if you apply, you increase the chances of actually getting the job!) or choose not to apply, and thus (another pro-tip) not end up in a place that does not feel right. 

I made my experiences landing in picture-postcard-pretty places with strange and unwelcoming atmospheres, and also in places where I could have happily stayed for the rest of my life (hi there, Ithaca, Grüß Gott, Bamberg!).

And now I am in the greater Frankfurt, Germany, region, and I feel exactly the way my colleague feels. 

This is my home.  I love it here. 

I love the climate, with four seasons, all of which are mild. The weather is largely unmarked by tornadoes, hurricanes, gale-force winds, blizzards, droughts, and floods. That’s not to be taken for granted! (Looking at you again, Houston).

I love the cultural diversity of a city where, by 2017, more than half of the residents are not German.

The sense of possibility is found here with the long history of citizen’s donations for civic causes and the spirit of survival, resurrection, and rebuilding permeates a city and the university after the devastation of the Third Reich and World War II.   We take care here to move forward into the future with the lessons of the past. 

Frankfurt is not the most beautiful city in Germany or Europe, nor is it particularly sexy. No friends say to me, “I hate you that you get to live there” the way they say it to my friends on the Côte d’Azur. 

Home is, to me, about much more than attractive postcard motifs and sunny skies. 

It’s the entire package of where I can live my best self, live my values in resonance with my surroundings, and find like-minded people who are open to learning.  

The way our geographic location and home environment supports our personal development and self-expression is unique for everyone. What is a beloved place for you? And what makes it beloved to you?

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