Our Culture Editor, Leanne McCarthy, brings you a little slice of what it’s like to live in Germany and England.
Since I was only two, I have lived in Germany. This seems to confuse people I first meet – I’m not German and neither are my parents; my German language skills can get me where I need to go, but I’m not fully fluent; I went to an English school and have English qualifications. I am English, but I have been lucky enough to live in Germany for pretty much my whole life and experience its culture first hand.
I never thought much of how Germany and Britain differed until I moved to England around three years ago. It was a really strange experience. Besides getting excited at the massive English supermarkets whenever I visited family here, a lot of the other comparisons only came to me after I had actually started living in England.
I noticed how much easier it was to walk straight into a bookshop or cinema without having to worry about getting lost in translation, the more extensive range of vegetarian food, and the perks of being less than a plane ride away from my extended family. However, I missed the clean, unlittered streets, wide roads, hot summers, snowy winters and Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Markets) that I had grown up with.
I faced the feeling of not being ‘from’ anywhere in particular. I knew I wasn’t German, but at the same time, I didn’t really feel like England was my home. While I was born here, I hadn’t lived in England for fourteen years and had become slightly unaccustomed to the culture. I wore different clothes, and my attitudes on littering and jaywalking were very different from my peers (I still get scared crossing roads if I can’t see that little green man)! It took me a while to feel like I fit in.
After making a new set of friends and being part of a more ‘normal’ English community, I was in the full swing of things by my second year of sixth form and finally felt like I was ‘home’ as opposed to in another ‘foreign’ country. Saying this, I’ll always love going back to Germany and will always feel a strong connection to it. They even do vegetarian currywurst now!
I think my experiences have confirmed in me a mantra that you can make anywhere ‘home’ if you surround yourself with as many people and things that you love.
Featured image by: Amie Woodyatt