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There are some days when I miss my home country fiercely. Day when I get called an ugly American at a bar just for talking a bit too loud, days when the best German I can muster is a whispered genau, days when I just want to share a good glass of California wine with my mother—these are the days when living in this foreign land breaks my heart.

Then there are days when I can’t imagine ever leaving this place I now call home. I can barely bare the perfection of the days when I sip coffee and eat cake at the sunlit table of a café built within ancient castle ruins. I cannot imagine leaving a place where I get to watch college kids pop champagne in a park at midday, while a father plays tag with his three towheaded children.

There are less poetic moments too, that tie my heart bit by bit to this new land. Medical bills that cost less than a pair of neon jeggings, and a crime rate so low it makes Sesame Street look like Detroit are just a few. Nevertheless, around the next corner, are the endless bureaucracy and harsh normalizing forces that make me long for the wild streets of America’s cities.

The truth is this—Utopia does not exist. Every place, every town, every city, every stretch of wide farmland or wild forest has its own flawed personality, just like every person who sets eyes upon it. We must let the places we live simultaneously expand and shatter our hearts if we are to experience them at all.

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