Moving: out, in and on
This February is all about moving. After spending 6 months in Copenhagen for my internship, I have packed up and stacked up at my parents’ house in Esbjerg. Initially, the plan was to move back to Aarhus, where I would write my thesis and finish my master’s degree. But then something got in the way. Or rather someone.
It all began in Aarhus
Let’s flash backwards to 9 months ago, when I was still living in Aarhus. I had spent 4 wonderful years in that city and I loved every minute of it. There is something about this city that makes everyone, who ever lived here, speak about with an affection comparable to that of teenage-love. Maybe it’s because it’s the youngest city in Denmark. With its 50.000 students there are loads of events and activities around the city, tailored to our millennial mindset (did someone say board game café?). Whatever it is, there’s definitely a feeling in Aarhus that will stick with you. For me, the feeling was comfort and safety; I could literally bike 10 minutes in any direction and end up at a friend’s house.
The search for the perfect internship
And so, 9 months ago, I was looking for an internship as a part of my master’s program. And though I loved my comfortable life in my big, bright apartment with a balcony view, my feet were itching, and I was longing for adventure. So, I searched for possibilities abroad – preferably in a place I’d never been.
First, I was offered a position in South Africa, where I’d support a volunteer project with Y.M.C.A. The tasks included project management for engagement of youths and investigative journalism and storytelling, which are big passions of mine. I was definitely intrigued, but also a little concerned about how much I’d be able to learn. Sure, I’d be leading the team and probably gain some valuable leadership skills, but it also meant that I could only really learn from myself. Also, I’d have to pay for all work-related travel myself and that was a real downside.
The second proposal I got was from a project in Cambodia. The tasks would include establishing and maintaining relations with locals in Cambodia and collaborating with them on promotional material aimed to protect the rainforest. The project appealed to me, because of its sustainable nature and the possibility to make a real difference. I actually accepted this offer and promptly announced to my family that I’d be spending Christmas in SE Asia.
Then came a turn of events. I saw a posting for an internship in UN City in Copenhagen. Having already secured a position, I thought: why not? And so, I sent them an application letter, passionately explaining my desire to work with international partnerships and sustainable development. Two weeks later they offered me the position and I had to cancel my plans for Cambodia.
A change of plans – a change of heart
Come end July, I made my tearful goodbyes to my best friends and solemnly swore that the capital would not swallow me whole – “I will be back, I promise!” And then I packed my boxes in my dad’s car and drove to Copenhagen.
(Naturally, there’s a few missing links here. First, I had to find a place to live in CPH, which is incredibly difficult. But let’s talk about that some other time)
I immediately fell in love with working for the UN. The beautiful building, the diversity, the huge and diverse intern network. It felt like a right decision. Of course, there was a rough couple of weeks at first; coping with being alone in a new city and some terrifyingly bad Tinder-dates, but after that it was nothing but pure love.
In September, I fell in love again. This time, in the most wonderful man I’ve ever met. He was an intern as well. We met at the Friday bar and almost immediately, he ‘moved in’ with me. We biked to work together, shared our lunch and spent our coffee breaks together. After work we would bike home to my place and repeat every day for the next month. Unfortunately, his internship ended in mid-October and he went back to Munich to finish his studies. After a month of long-distance calls, I realized two things:
- I really – really – don’t like long-distance
- I really – really – like this man
So, what do I do? Do I move to Munich?
If this were a romantic comedy, a wise stranger would tell me to follow my heart.
As if your heart only ever wants one thing.
My heart could as well take me to Aarhus. Back to my wonderful apartment, my beloved city and most of all: my friends, who have truly become family to me.
Decisions: A matter of the heart?
Sometimes in life, our decisions are not black and white, but rather a spectrum of nuances that make it difficult to make the right choice. Do we follow our hearts or our heads? Or our guts? Or the, sometimes unsolicited, advice from our parents?
I argue that often there are no right decisions. There are just decisions and the consequences thereof. I could have gone to South Africa and had an amazing experience and satisfied my wanderlust. I could have gone to Cambodia and never met this guy, and I’m sure I would have been happy in some other way.
But I didn’t. And now my life presents me with new choices as a consequence of my previous ones. I must now choose between the comfortable, familiar home in Aarhus or the uncertain, new life in Southern Germany.
Boiling down hours upon hours of contemplation, pros and cons-lists and propaganda-like advice from my mother, one fact drowned out everything else: If I do not give this relationship an honest chance, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.
2 weeks from now I am moving to Munich.
And so here I am: In the middle of my many boxes and my broken promises of returning to Aarhus. And the thrill of anticipation flutters like butterflies in my stomach. I can’t wait for this new adventure to begin.
Until next time,