Home or die Heimat

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If this blog post was waiting in your inbox this morning, and you have no clue who I am, let me apologize.  Most likely you subscribed to my blog, BuffaloSchnitzel over a year ago, just in time for me to gain a decent number of subscribers–which led to some panicky writer’s block–and disappear.

I seem to be making it a tradition to reemerge every so often, though…so…hi there! No, I truly hope to stick around this time because I’m much clearer on where I want to go with this blog.

Here are my ideas–and if you’re into it, great! If you’d rather unsubscribe and never hear the words Buffalo or Schnitzel again, I won’t be offended.

So, quick backstory–for the first twenty years of my life I lived in a suburb of Buffalo, New York.  For the more recent twenty years of my life I’ve been an expat primarily living in Germany.

It could be psychological, but now that I’ve reached this official ‘half life’ between America and Europe, I’m more aware of just how much of a relative outsider I am in both places.  Don’t get me wrong–I feel like both America and Germany are home–but I’m essentially a human being pasted together from two cultures and, because I’m missing a half lifetime in both spots, I don’t entirely identify with either one.  

What I find fascinating as an expat, and what I might be able to observe a bit more objectively as someone who has two feet firmly planted in two countries 4,000 miles apart, are the cultural differences.

America and Germany–they can’t be too different, right?

After all, they’re both superpowers with claims to YouTubers and The Bachelor franchise.

But, it turns out that these places are, in many, many, many key ways, oh so different.  From child rearing and public drinking to educational practices, to the level of punishment taken for swearing at a police officer–these two places are the geographical counterpart equivalents of Ernie and Bert.

I’d like to explore these differences in a new series of posts called, ‘Home or die Heimat?’ In them, I’ll discuss a specific cultural aspect of Germany and then we can all vote on what we like better.  The way home does things? Or the way die Heimat does.

The winning country may not get a prize, per se, but the real object here is dialogue.  The most important part of taking time to live in another country is to see how other areas of the world tackle life’s issues.  What is acceptable in one place that is taboo elsewhere? Why? What do these differences say about the societies we grew up in, or our own personal values?

It’s a discussion I enjoy having and find real value in, and I hope you’ll join me in that discussion here.  

My plan is to post once a week, provided I don’t freak out and go AWOL again.

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