How does your city feel at home?

How it feels to live in the wrong city

It is very difficult to put into words what distinguishes it: the feeling, the certainty of being permanently in the wrong city. A city, your city, not my city.

The discomfort is usually not due to anything specific. The streets in the center are okay, so is the food, the people are usually nice, the newly plastered house facades are sometimes more, sometimes less beautiful, like everywhere else, if you take a closer look. There are supermarkets with a sufficient selection of standardized vegetables and parking spaces, it is still a big city and it cannot be so different.


Months go by. After months two and three and four, you might think that it will come, that feeling of being at home that not only greets you quietly when you close the front door behind you and lock it twice. The feeling of getting up in the morning and wanting to explore the city. Exactly this one and no other right here, right now.

In the fifth month you are gracious. You just have to settle in, just meet the right people, somewhere. You just have to go out more, you shouldn't be in a queue, you could go to Silvia's birthday, who wrote so nicely the other day. You go there, month six, and on the way there you feel like a tourist on the bus who does not have the right change for the ticket and is later lost in the club. You are also constantly asked where you come from or why you are there, what you are doing. It is never a matter of course to be there or to stay there, unlike in your hometown, you need a concrete motivation that summarizes all strangers' own motivations in a compact way.


Month seven and you are already in the third season of the year strolling through the promenade, past Karstadt, past the chip shop, the best Italian restaurant in town. But nothing happens in the heart, in the stomach area. There is nothing to remind you of yourself at another time; It is as if you were uprooted and planted in the wrong place, with too little or too much soil falling over the edge of the pot onto the herringbone parquet floor, you are drowning in the vortex of the past, in the smartphone photos that were scrolling with displeasure late at night.

And when people tell you how beautiful the city is, which means nothing to you, which tends to cause you fear and discomfort, you no longer know what to answer without offending them, as you always do 'Cause you don't belong

Because you are honest and not enthusiastic about the view of the harbor, because you find it ugly and industrial - not charming. Because you can't do anything with Moin Moin, seagulls and Franzbrötchen and certainly not with the weather that rains down on your face even on good days. You are standing in the most beautiful places, right in front of it and you just want to leave, even now that you have long since quit your job and could revive, here, but it doesn't happen, it just doesn't happen.

It's like going on a date with your best friend and wanting to fall in love at all costs.

Time out

Month eight is intended for you to officially give up in a way that is recognizable to those around you, that you are away again - that you are finally moving. Because it didn't work out with you, because you had no idea what it would be like to be a stranger.

After ten months you quit the apartment and put the things in boxes and you always need three times more boxes than expected and you no longer know what to say to your friends you have made, except that it is the end, that one will probably, more or less certainly, lose sight of each other because friendship and love are not designed to be lived out at a distance. At least not for you.

Then you drive away after fourteen months and leave a piece of life behind you again, a life broken up into sections that already seems distant to you today.

So far that it is unlikely to have ever been there.