I had visited Regensburg once a couple of years earlier and found myself enchanted with its old-worldiness. One of the only German cities to survive WWII, it still boasts a largely intact medieval core. Now, granted, the earlier visit had been my first experience of a foreign country and maybe it was that that left me starstruck. In any case, I ended up deciding that I had to live there, so I took off with only a couple of weeks' planning, not knowing where I'd live or what I'd work at. That may not have been very smart.
Youthful spontaneity notwithstanding, things did turn out all right. I got a job with the Bavarian Police, shared apartments with three wonderful friends, lived in an 800 year old building while working in one that was 300-ish, kept four pet rats (not all at once!) then two cats, and got to travel around Europe a little bit.
Germany has a deep sense of permanence and establishment that can often out itself in lives that don't ever change. Low wages and high rents - never mind the idea of buying a house! - can trap people in the same places for ever and ever, amen. It was like a fog over the land.
Eventually, I just missed the sea too much. So I came home again.
With a heaping helping of improved German language and a kind of haunting from living amongst all the antiquity. <