I am back in Pittsburgh and at the moment I am sitting on the couch in my awesome, little house in Lawrenceville and the giant TV is switched on NHL Network.
I am tired, but I am trying to sort out my thoughts and feelings and give you some insights into the first two days before I am falling behind too much with travel blogging.
This time I am traveling alone and when you settle down after a long day without the chance to talk through the events of the day with somebody sharing your perspective it is a different travel experience and the reflections are more intensely focussing on your own feelings.
Reflecting these last three days (including the travel day) as well as the 4 trips to Pittsburgh before I came to a pretty drastic result: I realized that I will never feel 100% at home again - at home in the sense of the ONE place you know that you belong to. It is more than time to abandon this concept of life - very likely for good.
My feelings when I arrive here in Pittsburgh are weird. On one hand I am of course very excited. It is vacation time, lots of fun is planned, a beautiful, beautiful city is waiting and some of the most fantastic people I know. This is more than enough reason to be super happy and excited.
On the other hand arriving and being here is despite the happy anticipation the most normal thing ever because this city is so so so familiar now. I go from place to place and nothing feels new or strange or exotic although I am 4,300 miles away from the place where my regular daily life happens.
Being here is like a parallel universe and it is as real, as familiar, as normal as the life in Munich. It is a bit of a scizophrenic feeling like I am two people with two different lifes.
Of course many people here in Pittsburgh as well as 'at home' in Germany keep asking, when I move here for good. And yes .... sure I have thought about it. Not once, not twice, but a million times and I am doing it right here again. It is a very tempting thought, but it is not that easy. As much as I have trouble to deal with the fact that I have to leave Pittsburgh again, as much trouble I have to imagine how to leave Europe behind. Munich, no problem. Germany, maybe. But Europe? Not so much. I HATE alone the idea of being so far away from my family - my sister and most importantly my nieces. I have also trouble to imagine living in the US social and political system. Finally as somebody who travels around Europe so much enjoying the amazing cultural diversity that can be experienced within roughly two hours flight I cannot really picture myself living in just this one really big country here so far away from everything else.
This all means that I am trapped. I will be lacking something whatever I decide.
If I stay in Europe I will always miss Pittsburgh and my friends here. Every single day. A lot.
If I would move here, I KNOW I will miss Europe, my family and friends. Every single day. A lot.
I will never feel 100% at home anymore. I know it sounds sad and it indeed means that a bit of pain and sadness will always be with me, but it is in the end nothing to really fret about. It is just something to be aware of and something I need to accept for myself. The reward for the always slightly broken heart is that gained a 2nd home in the most beautiful city ever. I am a lucky person in the end, right?
It is like it is.
Thankfully I am blessed with wonderful people on both sides of the pond, who know me well and are willing to do their part in making friendship work even over long distances. A perfect example is my friend Anita who posted this on my Facebook wall just now knowing nothing about the fact that I had planned this blog post. She knows me obviouly in and out and quite hit the nail:
Words of wisdom. Time to embrace them.