Not everyday is like this. Of course, there are long, rainy winter days that are full of melancholy and that feeling of being stuck in time. There are frustrating encounters with grumpy neighbors or shopkeepers who just seem out to look for things to criticize, days when everything just feels like it is always the same. And then of course my own failings with the language, or my inability to accept that "this is just the way things are done here" can lead to strong feelings of frustration and self-criticism. And there are the days when I feel isolated, and alone.
The thing is, I remember dealing with those same small discontents in DC, or Denver, or Singapore, or any of the other places I lived. But I don't really remember the bliss. I don't remember having such strong moments of being present and grateful and just knowing that I am in the right place. Maybe I did have moments as such, I can't remember, but I do remember them here in Munich, and they have been a regular part of my life for the last 5 years.
And I think it's because I am really in love with this city.
It's hard to describe why. There are the obvious things- the "outdoor" life, the beer gardens, the Isar, the parks, the bicycles, the hidden courtyards and passages between the buildings, the peaceful beauty of the buildings lit up at night... but by most accounts, Munich is not the greatest city in the world. On a tour of Europe, Munich is unlikely to stick out as the place you most remember. It's not as beautiful and romantic as Prague, it doesn't have the gritty edge of Berlin, or the centuries of crumbling history like Athens or Rome. To some, it's not even much of a city... they call it just a big village.
And yet, I miss this city and feel a little ache of homesickness when I am away. It's a surprising thing to have found a place I can love this much. I think at one point in my life I believed that I was destined to always have a wandering heart, that Alaska had stolen it away forever, and no new place could lay claim to that heart. And so I was always moving on to the next place and the next adventure, searching for excitement and I don't know what. Now don't get me wrong, I still love traveling and chasing down adventures, but I think I will always come back to Munich. It's good to be able to say, "ich bin daheim."