Recently I’ve been asked quite often whether I were happy. Supposedly I was asked also especially in regards to being back after 1 year living with totally different mentalities and in different vegetative circumstances.
My response was always “yes”. Maybe I wasn’t really that happy in the first three to four weeks. But my satisfaction with life here grew more and more with the time.
Here are the top 5 things that make me feel good to be back:
- less traffic, good infrastructure
It doesn’t matter whether you are in Sao Paulo or in Los Angeles, you have to calculate a lot of “safety” time when you’re going somewhere. It happened quite often to me that calculating one hour to get somewhere wasn’t enough. Getting stuck in traffic for an unimaginable amount of time wasn’t an exception. Honestly, there is no difference between the traffic jams in Sao Paulo and Los Angeles. Even though L.A. is considered as a city of a 1st world country, the traffic can really drive you crazy MANY times.
At least L.A. has started with a metro system. Almost nobody knows about the 6 subway lines, though. When I was in Downtown this year in February I was able to avoid spending money on car rentals and use the subway to Hollywood. If you want to go to Venice Beach, though, it might be a problem: there’s no subway for that destination, only a 1hour busride. However, knowing that this city had been meant to become a city for car drivers and the development of a metro system had been delayed for such a long time because of that, it’s a worth the appreciation of making the metro system happen.
Sao Paulo’s metro rail is somehow very similar, only a bit more chaotic. If you don’t want to use the bus (because it’s almost impossible to understand the bus “schedule” as it actually doesn’t exist), having to walk to the subway for at least 20 minutes is common there. Not common for us who are used to the close subway stations in cities like Munich, London or Paris.
In the end you have to think of almost 2 hours of a journey no matter if by car or metro.
Being back in Munich makes me realize how much time this city saves me: wherever I go, whether I take the subway, the bus or the tram it always takes me an average of half an hour to get anywhere.
- no or much less crime
Not so much in L.A. as in Brazil I ALWAYS did some thinking on what I would take out with me or better leave at home in case of robbery. I even had a second fake wallet with little money and an expired credit card to give to the thief, just in case.
Besides that night in Rio when my bag was stolen while I was sitting in a restaurant with a lot of friends, and someone stealing my clothes from the laundry in L.A., nothing ever happened to me. Thank god! I’ve been never attacked and I never had to use the Krav Maga exercises I had learned in a workshop before leaving home.
Nonetheless, it was some kind of stress having that in mind all the time. Especially when hearing about it from everyone. I was asked to be more than careful, not go out alone at night, and to not put jewelry on me when I go out. That’s why I was really afraid at first and didn’t have the guts to do anything in the beginning. Getting used to it, I only put jewelry on when I knew that I would use a taxi and not walk at all. In my real wallet I kept copies of my passport and driver’s liscence.
- lower rents
Oh, everyone is complaining about “high” rents in Munich. They might even be right and I guess that I just have shifted perspectives. Needless to say how mountain high the rents are in Los Angeles and Sao Paulo, for those who have traveled know.
Good for me, because it makes me appreciate my little “rent” more (even though that shifted mind is slowly going back to the original shape).
- more space
Even though the two cities are so much larger than Munich, I have the feeling that I do perceive the space here much more. There’s much more air, much more room to move freely and comfortably. Not only in nature. The apartments you get for the rents in Munich are definitely bigger than in metropolitan cities. When I was in LA or SP visiting friends, I saw how little their space was for unfortunately big money. An example is a studio apartment in LA, which means it’s a one-room-apartment, having your bedroom, kitchen and living room all in one room, and it’s probably only around 30 square meters in total. Its rent is a monthly $ 1.700 high…
- my family close by, more friends, and more spontaneity
Even though I miss my friends on the other side of the world a lot, what I enjoy most about being back is the amount of familiar and trusted friends I have here in Munich. Being able to meet the one & another spontanously makes it so much easier. There’s no hassle with the traffic, neither with the distance & time, and not even with the money. Because of that it’s so much more fun, too! Apart from that they all make me feel like “home” as well.
I put “home” in quotation marks all the time because “home” isn’t necessarily a certain physical place, country or city. The people I love and who love me, who can’t get enough of spending time with me, are my home.
P.S.: There’s a sixth point that one is not aware of in everyday life… of course the working health and social system is worth to be mentioned, too. Because these systems are a disaster in the US as well as in Brazil. Living in such a well developed and politically “sane” (in comparison to the others of the other side of the earth, Germany is so innocent and harmless) country like Germany is real luxury.