A Paradoxical Familiarity

Matt Boey
January 31, 2016

This point was originally meant to be posted on January 24th. However, due to internet issues on the part of the author it is now being re-published.

Dear Internet,

While browsing through the collection of Marvel movies on the German Netflix, I realized that last week's Intensive Courses could be summarized through  a (surprisingly) much more academic and somehow nerdier version of Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). A slower, but determined Steve Rogers is entered as a candidate for the "Super Brain" program. Though intellectually less able than his competition, with steely determination and long nights of studying, Rogers pulls through as the chosen subject, and eventually becomes the mentally muscular Captain America. 

Though I am refraining from calling myself Captain Germany (for both ironic and non-ironic reasons), the transition to life in Freiburg has been simultaneously disorientating, yet thrillingly smooth. The last week has been a crash course in European politics, German culture, and most importantly, German language. And though I still sometimes have to do a one act play at restaurants because I don't know how to say "I want the food to go", I've started to like less of a foreigner, and more of a foreigner who at least read the travel guide before coming in.

A friend of mine noted last week that instead of always pointing out differences, perhaps a better perspective would be to try and find the similarities. In that regard, Freiburg has begun to form in my mind as a paradoxical mix of familiarity within the unknown. Every day I see Chicago's colleges, Milwaukee's urban feel, and Seattle's mountainous environment, all underneath the overall newness of Germany that I have yet to examine or explore.

And while I admit that it is a bit of a coping mechanism, its somehow comforting to see how similar life can be in locales an ocean apart: College students looking for jobs, new parents trying to balance both work and their children, the elderly observing it all with a knowing look in their eye. It's made exploring the city less daunting, but more importantly, it's making Freiburg feel like a new home.

Your verbose pen-pal,

Matt Boey

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Matt Boey

<p>Known as Matthew, Matthias, Mateo, Boom, and occasionally Rug, Matt Boey is a sophomore journalism and political science major with minors in tomfoolery and shenanigans. A native of Wisconsin, he currently attends Loyola University Chicago. Beyond writing or very strong coffee, Matt loves playing piano, theater, Zumba, singing in the shower, and people.</p>

2016 Spring
Home University:
Loyola University Chicago
Political Science
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