Quick background: When I was at Luther oh-so-long ago, I spent a semester living with a [wonderful] host family in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia.
The program gave us a four-day weekend this time around, with the intention that we could use the time to go to our host cities in order to get things in order for our arrival in a few weeks. I, however, had no real reason to go to Munich, so where did I go instead? Münster, naturlich!
With my friend Emma in tow, I left Marburg for Münster on Friday morning, eager to re-visit the city I’d loved two years ago. We found Münster much as I left it, and reuniting with my host family was every bit as exciting as I had hoped. We’ve kept up on Facebook and through Skype since I was there, but it was so great to actually be in Münster and to drink coffee and eat pfannkuchen with them.
In somewhat of an effort to be introspective, I dug out my journal from when I last lived in Münster on the train ride Friday morning. Some gems:
“Got lost, good thing I was using a huge cathedral as my landmark.”[on navigating Münster]
“Tried to explain the concept of tailgating to the Germans today–pretty sure they think we’re nuts.” [after meeting a friend’s host parents]
“My feet hurt. There is too much to see in this city…now for the rest of the Neues Museum” [On Berlin]
“Sven, Sven, Sven, und Kirschen!” [On Hamburg…context unremembered]
So, the profound thoughts on life in Germany as recorded by 20-year old Rachel were not going to help gain any sort of perspective on what Münster meant to me and how living in northern Germany has prepared me to live in Bavaria.
Münster will always be the place that feels a little like an uncertain home. When I lived there, I didn’t speak German very well, I really had no idea of how to live in a city, had a semi-obsessive attitude about school, and saw going to Germany as the best way to ensure that I would have the type of life I wanted when I grew up.
And now? Though life in a city is now second nature, my German is still far from perfect, my workaholic nature is as omnipresent as ever, and let’s be real, there’s no “best way” to ensure that your life will work out. Nonetheless, did Münster change me? Yes, definitely, but not in the ways I really thought were important at the time nor in ways that I’m finding easy to articulate here.