Despite writing these words in a cozy hostel in Prague, I felt the urge to – at least partially – reactivate this blog for I remember my original purpose of having started it back then in 2010.
Back then, in 2010, it was more of an uninformed attempt to establish my first written words to an outside audience, who suggested I should blog about my ERASMUS experiences in Tartu, Estonia. And so I did, with gusto and endurance.
And now, about 5 years later, I consider myself at home in the once alien place that I thought would remain a one-time endeavor and feeling more and more incorporated.
And yet, despite not knowing, what the concept of “The Balt” might even be, I feel more at home in my current situation than I felt for the main parts of my adult life in my native Germany. Maybe it is the novelty of being away from the familiarity that is my home, but I reckon understand the – or a – Baltic lifestyle a bit better and enjoy mingling with it.
Hrmph, not sure why I wrote all this, it just felt right to try to revive this blog and to see whether it is worth maintaining, as I might be less of a traveler now, but still curious about the places I am engaging with. Whatever, I am gonna have some Czech beer now…
Droplets of moments, sometimes limpid, sometimes not
A manifestation of numerous nuances
Mutuality defined by sphere, fear, curiosity and reliability
A wish for something to hold on to
A highway of memorabilia – through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole
Adventures; trivial and exciting, extreme and enjoyable
Life as an alliteration of depth, sincerity and the constant want for a camera; for salvation
Grabbing the “now”, preserving the “whenever”
A coincidence as honest as a bulb of garlic
An encounter as manifold as a braid of garlic
A friendship as complex as the taste of a freshly pealed clove of garlic…
For when the demons come
none shall be safe
none shall see the daylight
it shall be dark after dawn
For when the demons come
shall day become dust
and the smile of all
shall become an unspoken line
that cannot be walked
For when the demons come
all we know
will turn out a lie
and those true believers
shall meet their real destiny
For when the demons come
How overdue this blog is can easily be defined by the time past between my last publication here (August ’12). But even to a wider extent by the strong urge I have had to write this piece – which dates back many, oh so very many years. It may have first manifested itself inside of me during the school-year 2003/04 that I spent living in Cork, Ireland. Over there, in a overly catholic boys-to-men-school I was first being introduced to the idea of having foreigners tell me what they know – or thought to believe – about Germany and its past. Spoiler alert: it is not a very happy story! Of course not, how could it be?! Well, truth be told: my classmates back then were 15-16 years old and still had a few years of school in front of them. And even I had three more years to go afterwards. But then again, these 3 years – speaking about the history class in particular – were filled with one subject: Ze Zermans.
Okay, now here is, what I remember from all in all 9 years of more or less intense history-learning in various schools:
There once was a German Empire. Then they fought a war, lost it, got blamed. Started a second war, lost it. And rightfully so: got blamed. And then there were two German countries until David Hasselhoff miraculously reunited them, full stop.
Well, this is mind and taking those few weeks in middle school into account, during which the teacher would playfully explain the Romans and the Greeks (and we are talking a few weeks only!) I have absolutely no idea about any other country or historic events. For all I know, Germany could be only 150 years old and the riverbanks from where I am currently typing these words got drawn here like in SimCity. If it was not for the English classes in which we scratched on the surface of history of all major English speaking (and the U.S.) me knowledge would be even more limited.
What is bothering me immensely is my lack of wisdom regarding my own national identity and how this may be perceived elsewhere. I was being “honored” by Estonian nationalists back in 2010 with them telling me that I should be proud of “the” past. Shocking for a person like me, being brought up in a school system that for 9 consecutive years indoctrinated my mind about Germans and Germany being the source of all evil. That persons’ believe put aside, I wish I could, in that very moment, have been able to explain my knowledge more thoroughly – but nah. I was merely given the tools to accept all blaming and beating for something in the past.
But in today’s day and age, I strongly develop the urge to educate myself about the history of others, coz I want to understand the bigger picture. And maybe, just maybe, it will help me to understand why the German-centric view in school is as it is. For I am still afraid to raise my voice about the international beating I sometimes had to endure abroad. Don’t get me wrong, what happened was the ultimate hate crime – yet the school system still teaches us that it was my personal fault. Mine…?!
Tranquility and Chaos
The sound of silence
Captured in monochromic rainbows
A constant urge to create unplanned spontaneity
truth-bearing lies in a
one-dimensional sphere of deep
Insipid coffee beans
seemingly at random on a surface-free mirror
Edentulous smiles on oddly drawn souls
covered in yesterday’s wisdom
Memories of tomorrow’s instability of change
Fresh smell of old habits
renewed on a cloudy battlefield of
and unverified assumptions
Ill-natured sovereignty, expressed in closed
yet talking eyes
2 more days. 2 more days waiting for the sport event of this summer (London Olympics, what?). 2 more days waiting to see Greece take on Poland in the 1st match of the 2012 UEFA Euro tournament. Only 1 day later: Germany. VS Portugal. Really, we love Portugal. Beaches, Sun, you know…the perceived ease of living. Germany? Bureaucracy, Socks in Sandals, Sauerkrauts 🙂 But who cares about how Germany is being perceived in the world? Who cares that we still believe to carry some sort of guilt? In those 3 weeks that shall follow, Germany discovers its own national pride. Flags on cars, flags on bikes, flags on faces… One does not simply walk outside the house without noticing the change in colors. All over sudden, the backyard is being renovated, a grill is set up and beer is cooled down. We rediscover the collective idea of friendship and common love for something, football. We hug strange people on the town square when Germany scores, we (will) cry together when Germany will (!) lose against the Netherlands and we will wish nothing but mean stuff to that Christiano Ronaldo bloke yet secretly liking him for his talent.
In short: we are one! We are Germany! Hurrah!
This post is valid till July 2nd…
A firm handshake, 1 second, 2 seconds. Eye contact. Straight. Sincere. Little blinking, every now and then. The coffee arrives on the table. The usual glass of cold water as well. You light a cigarette with a match. Inhale. Breathe out in the clear summer air. Sunglasses disturb your vision, do not use them. The book is almost over, you read it for weeks and weeks now. Clearly. It looks like being tossed around too often. You like that idea. Smile secretly. A smile. The most honest thing one has to offer. You take a sip of water, while letting the spoon find its way to the bottom of the coffee. A small pack of sugar accompanies your cup. Do not open it. Coffee wants to be pure. The cigarette in the ashtray keeps burning down. You take a hasty pull and start reading. Lose yourself in a book. Trams keep speeding by, so do people. You look up, once in a while. People change. Your coffee gets cold. You still drink it. Cold coffee: a metaphor for time leaps on rusty chairs in moments of pure alienation. Detached from notions.