Oh, Hamburg, we have had such a bad start. I was homeless, unemployed and miserably longing for where I had come from when I arrived to you. After a half-year-struggle, I finally started to get on my feet again. Although things have not been great, I decided to grit my teeth and make this work. And eventually, it did.
Slowly, I learned how to love you. I began to follow the local media, the regional politics, I started caring and participating and whenever I had been in a different city, I came home thinking like a real Hamburger, “Thank God I live here and not there”. My eyes started looking mildly onto your ugly spots and after a year, I could bring myself to feel some kind of affection for the unsightly cranes in the harbor that real Hamburgers think are gorgeous.
When I biked by your waters, I marveled at your skyline, my heart opened up to the many little white sailboats just some minutes from my door. I began to feel privileged to live close to a beach, to reside in the nation’s center of attention (in Hamburg, we hanseatically, gracefully spurn Berlin). What I had first just told myself on an intellectual level, had finally reached heart, too: Hamburg is the German city you want to live in.
How much more melancholic it is now that our ways are to part again, for probably some years. Just when I thought I had found my place, I was called way out west – a call I have carefully contemplated and will heed.