I was born in California, but my heart has always been in Germany. You see, my parents are German, and emigrated to the US in the 60’s to start a new life. Fortunately for me, much of the life they thought they’d left behind came along with them.
My first language was German. I ate German foods, wore German clothes, went to a German school on Saturdays, we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve… My family was German.
This was the 60’s and 70’s, so travel and communication wasn’t like it is now. No Skype or e-mail. Instead, we had occasional scratchy long distance phone calls and packages wrapped in brown paper and twine covered in stamps and full of delicious treats. Family would visit, and once in a great while, we would board a plane, usually Condor Charter, and fly 10 hours to visit the people we loved.
Growing up this way was normal for me… but I could see how different I was from the other kids. You could say, the salami sandwiches on black crusted rye bread in the lunchroom made me stand out…. but maybe it was the leather Schultasche, complete with reflectors, or perhaps it was my ability to speak Denglish (Deutsch/English)?
Why am I putting all this online? I guess that writing it helps me remember…and allows me to share the German culture I grew up with. The good, the bad; the traditions and the misconceptions about what it means to be German in America.
If you have a story to share… send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org…. We’d love to hear it!
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