Everywhere and nowhere

If I had known that I would stay almost 4 months here, I probably would have approached a few things differently. Coming from 3 weeks in Singapore, the expectation for 6 weeks living in Stuttgart was… well, non-existent. It also didn’t help that I could associate Stuttgart with only 2 things: 1 EUR beers from when we went here with our high school orchestra in 2001 and Stuttgart 21.

This led to something funny: I traveled 10’000km to a new city I had never lived in just to spend the first 4 weekends in cities I have been or even lived in before. Luckily I did take time to get to know the city and its people a little bit in the following weekends. I have to confess though that most people I know are either from abroad or from other cities in Germany. Not sure where all the Stuttgart people are hiding.

Here are a few things I have learned about Stuttgart:

  • While meeting someone new here, there is a 19.1% chance that this person works in either Daimler, Bosch or Porsche. Stuttgart has 597’000 inhabitants, and these 3 companies together employ 113’794 people in the Stuttgart area.
  • There is actually quite a lot of interesting events happening in Stuttgart. In the short time I have been here, Stuttgart hosted the official German national day celebrations, there was a “Stuttgartnacht” which offered entry into many cultural happenings in one evening (mainly theater and music), there was a long shopping night (which itself was of course not that interesting) accompanied by quite big fireworks, and it feels as if every weekend you hear about some special festivities in the surrounding towns like Esslingen or Tübingen. Oh yes I should really visit Tübingen.
  • Die Fantastischen Vier, Massive Töne, Freundeskreis, Cro all come from Stuttgart

I am losing the focus a little bit in this post, so back to what I would have done differently..

I would have made more effort to feel like home here. I would have made more effort to get to know people, not just going out for beers. I would have gone to find more “favorite places” in Stuttgart. I did find one, Cafe Galao, a very cool cafe which twice a week has very interesting live music! Well maybe there are just not too many cool places here, I might never find out. I would have spent less money. I would have bought a cooking plate so that I don’t eat microwaved food all the time. If I had known that I stay until end of December, I definitely would have brought warmer clothes! I would have done a lot of things differently.

But the thing is, I don’t mind. The side effect of changing places in such a crazy speed is that you learn to blend in quickly, find your way around new cities, new people easily, and this comes with a certain degree of detachment, maybe unfortunately, maybe necessary. The biggest sign for this detachment is that even now, with almost a whole month to go, I don’t have a strong motivation to do things differently compared to the last few months.

But there is one thing I probably should do: Buy some warm clothes.

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