Saturday, October 15, 2005

Europe v. Cologne

Coming on one month before we leave New York and America for good and begin our life in Europe. I am having some trouble saying or writing the word “Cologne” when thinking about the upcoming move, when naming the destination. I am so accustomed to being a New Yorker, a person who lives in the center of the world, and being foolishly proud in some way of having this crazy place as my hometown. I wear it like a badge of honor, saying to the world – I am able to cope with New York – to thrive in it - to love it and almost understand it. And now I am about to say good bye to it and move to a small city in the middle of Germany where the sun doesn’t shine nearly enough and where I know I will be assaulted on a daily basis for being an American and somehow responsible for George Bush and all the ridiculous crap he is propagating in the world. Living in New York – we all KNOW we didn’t vote for him and that the world will be better off when he retires. But the rest of the world often lumps all Americans together (for convenience no doubt) with comments like, “Well you elected him.” And my answer is; NO I DIDN’T! He stole the first election and lied his way into a second tern by scaring 51% of the voters into thinking he could protect them from Weapons of Mass Destruction, which only existed in his speeches, and from the hidden armies of international Terrorism, whose ranks he has successfully increased by giving them a new rallying cry and focus in Iraq! Ok – enough of the ANTI-BUSH rant …
I was writing about my ambivalence in naming Cologne as my new destination, in favor of the much sexier “Europe” and I think I will just stick with Europe for now because I don’t know a thing about Cologne and I genuinely hope to use Cologne, in my remaining years, as a point of departure to discover a part of the world I know just enough about to be curious …

4 Comments:

Blogger J said...

I remember once being told that I live half way between perfume and a hot dog after I told someone I lived between Frankfurt and Cologne.

Cologne is lovely. You'll be able to get cheap tickets to other parts of Europe from the Cologne/Bonn airport on Germanwings (www.germanwings.com). I've been in Europe since 1999 (not the whole time in Germany) and feel at home here. I have no plans to ever live in the the USA again.

6:40 PM  
Blogger J said...

Other things,

Cologne isn't a small city for Germany, it's quite large. Yes, I realise that it's small for a New Yorker (one of my best friends lives on 28th and 2nd). Also, the thing about 'being assaulted on a daily basis for being an American' is rubbish. I am rarely confronted on the issue of GWB, and when I am I just tell them that I didn't vote for him (which is true) and that usually ends the issue.

6:43 PM  
Blogger christina said...

When you live in a podunk little town in Germany like I do, saying "Oh yes, I live in Europe" *does* sound a heck of a lot sexier.

If you have the time and the money to travel extensively, you can just call Cologne your base camp, the place you return to when you need to do your laundry. :-)

11:35 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

You sound like you've started having homesickness even before leaving :(

I hope it comforts you to know that Germans are VERY friendly out this side. I mean I'm sure they're friendly on the other side too but I don't have experience with that.

the Köln/Bonn area is quite big (although as J says, not to someone from New York) so you won't lack as far as things to do are concerned.

Whether or not I'm right in saying this I would say that New York has a very "European" culture to it that I found totally lacking, for example, in Texas. You have butchers there, bakers, fruit and veg markets. I mean yes, it's an American city but somehow the cultural aspects are somewhat similar to here.

Koeln and Bonn have museums and if you drive out a little bit you'll find wine country.

I've lived in Bangkok, London, Singapore, Paris....lots of large cities and I have to say living in Germany has been the best experience of my life.

I live in a small city and still it feels so much more like home than anywhere else I've ever lived.

The region is beautiful and it's soooo safe. I plan to have kids and I can't think of any place better to raise them.

Hopefully you'll give it a chance and really allow yourself to enjoy it here.

(and even though I'm not american, I speak with an american accent and I've never gotten accosted about GWB or the war)

8:57 AM  

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