For starters: I am German. And I am very proud of it. If I could choose my origin or nationality there is no other country in this world I would rather be from than Germany. But let me explain…
I grew up on the countryside. As a child I played in the woods and built tree houses with my friends. We conquered islands in nearby lakes and searched for fresh-water shells on pebble-stone beaches. There were no buses so we all walked home from school and we loved it. On our one hour walk home we crossed streams and fed ducks, we snuck into cowsheds and jumped into haystacks. In winter we would bring our slays to go sledding. We started snowball fights that only ever ended when we arrived home. We rang bells and ran as fast as we could.
I really loved my life in the tiny village somewhere in Bavaria.
When I grew older we moved to the city where I met my first international friends: Russians, Turks, Italians, Albanians, Arabians, Croatians, Serbs. Some of my new friends didn’t speak German at all but I don’t remember us having difficulties communicating while playing with each other as kids.
I was very interested in their cultures and all the different countries they came from and how they had lived and why they had moved here. I soaked up the diversity I got to experience at school in town and already at a very young age I decided that I wanted to travel and see the world. They inspired me to learn more about different countries and cultures. Not all of my friends traditions was one for me too. Sometimes I did not agree with their rituals at all but from time to time I learnt to respect- and put up with them. Not all of them respected my culture and origin too but I guess that was all a part of the lesson I had to learn to get prepared for my life as a traveler.
Also I was fascinated by all the different languages they could speak and so I decided I wanted to learn a second language too. I signed up for Spanish classes and after I graduated from High School I moved to Spain in order to improve my speaking skills. Whenever I needed more money to travel, go snowboarding or buy stuff I applied for a job and worked until I had enough.
This was a shortcut through my protected childhood in Germany and where I drew my inspiration to travel from
My first year away from Germany, living in Spain was an amazing experience. For the first time in my life I was the one to be ‚exotic‘ and from a different country. I studied Spanish at a language school and did random jobs to pay for my classes. I loved it! My new Spanish friends were very welcoming and already knew a lot about my country. Later on that year the language school gave me the opportunity to attend Spanish classes in Costa Rica for a few months and so I flew over to central America.
Now this was really different from everything I had experienced before.
My parents had travelled all over Europe with me when I was a child. Turkey, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Hungary etc. But Costa Rica was really really different. There was jungle and nature everywhere. People seemed to be happy and everybody had so much fun playing at the beach and chilling. Careers and work didn’t seem to be something that mattered as much as it did in Europe. And I really liked the simplicity and light-heartedness of the Costa ricans.
After a year and a bit I came home. In Germany nothing had changed, but me. My point of view over a few things had changed…
Since that first year abroad, many more years of traveling, studying, living and working in foreign countries have followed. Today, nearly 8 years later I have a different understanding for a lot of things in life. I have lived in third-world countries of Central America and Indonesia as well as in western countries like Australia.
I am so thankful for everything I got to experience and learn in and from my homeland as well as the world. So that in this post I would like to let you know why I love Germany on the one hand and what I really hate about it on the other. This post is supposed to be a quick reminder of a few things we can be proud of. Because in these last couple of months back home in Germany I got the impression there are a lot of miserable people in Germany that complain a little too much about things that don’t actually matter.
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