I have now been home for just under two weeks and already want to go back to Freiburg and/or Germany as soon as possible. Reverse culture shock is a real thing, and although I love seeing my family again, I really like the European attitude a lot better than the American. The difference between the two is especially glaring around the holidays. In Germany things were busy and bustling, as you might expect, but it’s just a different kind of feeling. There seemed to be a stronger emphasis on community and family rather than the consumer-driven Stressfest that fills our American cities. I literally started panic attacking in the middle of downtown Bellevue, where I live, due to the crowds, blasting music, and hugely long lines.
Some observations about America (specific to Bellevue/Seattle but I think a lot apply nationally)
° Everything is a little softer- toilet paper, bed sheets, seats.
° Buildings are a lot taller and shinier- does that affect the birds?
° Beer is a lot more expensive and a lot less delicious.
° Public transportation sucksssssss. I haven’t walked more than a few minutes since I got back because I drive everywhere. It’s somewhat unavoidable, as…
° Everything is really spread out.
° Roads and cars are HUGE.
° Our reuse-recycle program is pathetic. There’s so much waste. (Coming from Freiburg, “the green city” to Seattle, also known for its environment-conscious policies)
° It’s is much more culturally diverse here.
° People dress much less fashionably in general
° Stores have so. Many. More. Options. It’s super overwhelming.
My time abroad taught me more than just German, or even about German culture, it showed me how limitless my future is. If I could move to another country, where I knew only one person and didn’t speak the language with complete comfort, and not only survive but fall in love with the country, language, and traveling adventure. I would have once been nervous to walk in to a studio and ask to volunteer in English, but I’ve now successfully done that in German. And it worked out wonderfully! So I can basically do anything. Like Superman.
Signing off! Hope you enjoyed the pondering of a traveling artist.
In the words of a good friend of mine: Mach Spaß, sei gut! (Have fun, be well)
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hillary Bliven grew up near Seattle, Washington before moving to Tacoma, Washington to attend Pacific Lutheran University. She is double majoring in German and Studio Arts with a minor in Biology. Hillary’s passions include pottery, drawing, good food, science and German. Studying in Germany for a semester provides a wonderful opportunity to experience people, food, and art from a different perspective. See Freiburg through the eye (and the pen) of a Northwestern Artist.</span></p>