Sunday, November 01, 2009

Reflections on Germany

So much has happened since we got back from Germany in July. Two family weddings, starting my second year of teaching, football season....I shouldn't be surprised that it's taken me this long to post all of my Germany pictures!  I have a few last reflections on our trip before I try to catch up on what's happenend since I've been trying to catch up on our trip  :)

  1. The Germans are as complex as us Americans. Why does this surprise me? But as someone who's always had a keen interest in sociology, it was interesting to me to see how the Holocaust has shaped the German identity. Yes, there is the occasional delusional individual who still espouses the Nazi belief system, but they are about as common in Germany as they are in America.  Before I went to Germany, I read about the different "types" of Germans I would encounter.  Young people who seem almost apologetic about being German, afraid of showing too much German pride. Older Saxons who speak almost wistfully of the Old Communist days. Middle-agers who are almost TOO aggressive with their open-ness and acceptance, trying to overcome a stereotype put on all Germans.   I would say that yes, I saw all of those "types" of people, but more important than that, all Germans are still trying to deal with an event in their history that has affected every fiber of their being.  They may deal with it in different ways, and that is because they are individuals - a unique and interesting people!
  2. I was really surprised by how different Germans eat. It gave me a taste of how Nils must have felt when he first came to live with us. Hardly any fried food, but there is....gelato!!  It wreaked havoc on my stomach, which does NOT like change, but I tried to fix that with....gelato. 
  3. Certain types of stores are very abundant in Germany. Namely, pharmacies, bakeries, flower shops and.....gelato!!! Cheap gelato on practically every street corner. Love it.
  4. Germans are way more active than Americans. We could really take a lesson from the German transportation system. The Hampes live in what could be called a suburb of Hamburg, and they can bike to the train station and take the "tube" to anywhere in Hamburg.  Then they walk to their job, grocery store...or gelato stand.
  5. I like gelato.
But whenever I think of our trip, I think first and foremost of the wonderful people we met, who were kind enough to host us and show us their country.  I think of those who opened their homes to us.  Those who gave their time to us.  Those who took my heart and keep a part of it with them.  I think the coolest thing about the relationships we developed in Germany is that it is just the beginning.  Our lives are intertwined now.  Thank you SO MUCH to Christiane Hampe, Wolfgang Hampe, Benni Hampe, Julius Hampe (The Zealous!), Elke and Mattias Nilzschke, and Else and Wolfgang Hampe!

And of course, the boy who started it all....

1 comment:

Lynn said...

This is the cool thing abt traveling to different places. Americans are very different w/in the variety of states, and yet we as a group are still very different than those in Europe. Or Asia. That's the part that fascinates me. I just wish I travelled better.