They say home is where the heart is and after only one day back at home I feel like my heart has been split in half between Germany and the States, which is a division thats around 4365 miles long. After only spending about a week in Berlin I feel a certain amount of attachment to the city and the people.
Overall the city was a perfect display of how to value history and not forget and create new a problem, which plagues America. Looking back to when we were on the public transport I can vividly remember how some of the buildings (especially east side of Germany) showed the history and culture of the area. Another great example of this is how in the monuments around the Brandenburg Gate you could find bullet holes from WWII if you were to look closely. The same feeling was found in Poland especially in an area of Szczecin called Old New city. This area of the city was destroyed up to 90% to 100% in WWII, but after the war it was rebuilt to resemble it’s historical counterpart that used to exist. It is also interesting to note that before any building is built in Szczecin that there has to be a dig to check for remains of previous buildings. In America it is safe to say that we find newer to be better. We can say that cities like New York and Washington D.C. are rich in history, but how much of that history is really standing and not just words on a small metal plaque or monuments that represent something beautiful that used to stand in its place. Don’t get me wrong though new is good to, but I personally find much value in remembering our history through the tangibles and not just the replacement representations of what used to be.
Although getting to the tangibles in Berlin was sometimes hard, because the people are pretty harsh about their walking habits. Once we look past the hurried atmosphere that even existed in shopping malls I realize now that on New Years Eve I had conversations with many locals who took a real interest in where I was from and why I was visiting their city. Not only that, but people took pride in what they contributed to the city of Berlin. One of my favorite conversations was with a man who was ecstatic about the fact that he worked for BMW and loved his job and where he lived. This man along with other locals also expressed their interest in things like how good they were at english, what it is like in America, and how they wanted to visit America someday.
So I guess in the end (since this was my first time in a foreign country) it might just be a simple fascination with a new place that draws me back to Germany, but even that fascination is more than enough to make me want to travel the world more than even more than ever before. Although there is an important lesson to be learned from this trip (at least for me) put into words best by Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”
Going to another country really made me realize the different values and really just the amount of people in the world. It has made me more culturally aware only one day after our trip. I think overall this stresses the importance of international travel being a key factor in people become citizens of the world, which is of upmost importance in a world that moves ever faster towards globalist principles. People who are more globally aware are more conscious of this beauty that is required when immersing one’s self in another culture even if it is for a short period of time.
Last, but not least I would like to thank you for reading our blog. Before you thank us though I think you should take some time to thank yourself for taking the time to learn about another culture that you may have never experienced before. I also would recommend taking a chance at traveling yourself it is a decision you will never regret and something you only get the chance to do at certain points in your life. So my last bit of advice is to really seize the day get out there and go, and if you can’t go learn.
Hope everyone’s New Years Resolution was to travel!
P.S. Don’t forget to record your traveling experiences to the beauty of our worlds people depends on it!!!
Think about it!