An American Midwesterner In Hamburg
After about 14 years of traveling for my career, I've found a new expatriate abode... and it's Hamburg, the Hanseatic City-State!
Having had the chance to do short term stints in Italy and Spain through the years, I've settled on Germany as my true home away from home. I guess you could call it a connection based on familiarity. As the United States has always been nicknamed the "Great American Melting Pot", being originally from the Ohio midwest, it always delights me when I accidentally discover the cultural elements here in Germany that give origin and new meaning to many of the midwestern traditions held so dearly throughout Ohio.
Imagine the wonder one experiences here while walking the streets of their collegiate literary heroes Goethe and Nietzsche, when discovering something as simple and lovely as the annual Weinachtsmarkt, or attending an authentic German Oktoberfest... Or even tasting orginal versions of foods they've known since childhood and having the chance to see how they've been prepared since century upon century. As a child growing up in the Great Lakes region of America, these things were simply buzz phrases and sound bites of our regional pop culture that existed and were part of my daily life without much meaning behind them. Now, having the opportunity to live in the place where many of my regional traditions originated, I feel almost as if I'm a modern day heroine in a Grimm Brothers folk tale on my own anthropological quest...a quest that is proving to both enhance my appreciation of the state I am from as well as the folk customs held dearly to my heart.
As I don't get to work on my pages here often as I like to due my work schedule, this little writing adventure here at Virtual Tourist is proving to be quite the "labor of love" for me. But thank you to all of those who send such wonderful notes of encouragement or kindly seek travel tips...I do hope you'll be staying along with me on as I journey through the Hanseat and beyond...!