When I was 3 years old, my parents and I moved to Shanghai. Back then, I did not realize that life in China would be completely different as life in Germany. With only 3 years of age, I adapted quickly to the new environment, found tons of new friends, and learned how to speak Chinese quickly. Life was so easy!
I lived in Shanghai for almost 7 years and went to both play school and primary school. During that time, my perspective changed and my horizon got broader. Suddenly, I regarded China as my home rather than Germany. Suddenly, traveling to South East Asia or Australia for vacation was a normal thing to do. In the 7 years of living in Shanghai, I traveled to more than 15 different countries.
Back in Germany, I never really felt like home. I could not identify myself with the other kids from high school because their life goals were so different than mine. Some kids never traveled and were not interested in exploring the world. Their perfect plan of life was to stay in Germany forever. Although that may fulfill them completely, it was never something I strove for.
I kind of missed the feeling of home. Where was home for me? Was it Germany or China? Did I really miss “home” or did I just miss going to new places and making new memories?
In the past years, I have been back to Shanghai many times and traveled to many countries in Europe. I moved to the United States for my Master’s studies. And even within the US, I moved to three different cities. It seems that this feeling of wanderlust is something I can’t ignore. I love going to new places, meeting new people, and learning about their culture and habits.
Being exposed to so many different influences and cultures, my perspective changed. I changed. I feel at home anywhere, yet I always have the feeling that home is nowhere. My dreams changed, my perspective of life changed, how I perceive people differently, and the things that are now important to me. Growing up in Shanghai was the starting point of my personal growth.
How do you guys feel about this topic? Do you have any experiences growing up in another country? How did it change and shape you? Let me know in the comments below!