All Expats get Patriotic, or Happy German Unity Day!

Today is October 3, which is the Day of German Unity, or the Tag der Deutschen Einheit. It was first celebrated in 1990 with the reunification of West and East Germany. It is celebrated a little bit like July 4th, with lots of cities holding festivals and other events. I don’t know yet if they have fire works, but they have fire works for other things, so I could imagine there are fireworks involved. There are definitely fireworks involved.

Fireworks seem pretty universal.
Fireworks seem pretty universal.
Photo by Anthony Cramp via Wikipedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

The Tag der Deutschen Einheit is celebrated by a main city in Germany every year, and in 2016 it is Dresden, near to me. I’ll admit to being incredibly lazy so I’ll probably stay at home and watch TV. Maybe rewatch Independence Day in solidarity!

This brings me to my feelings of patriotism. It is 2016, and that means an election year in the USA. This presidential race seems far more controversial than my last three.

Recently, I read a book about an Australian expat who moved away from Australia for good. It was during a time of political upheaval in her country, and she mentions that she became patriotic while abroad, having to defend her country even if she didn’t agree with things. (The book, The Thing About Prague by Rachael Weiss, is pretty good. I would recommend it if you like those fish out of water stories. I really love Prague, so it was fun to read about an expat there. I’m not getting any money for this.)

The election this year has definitely brought the eyes of everyone on the States, and as one of the few Americans here in Freiberg (that I know of; it’s a university town and there’s a few American students here, but I am the only non-student American I’ve met) I get asked a lot of questions of the USA political elections. The Germans seem to find it a lot easier to talk about politics with a foreign stranger, something I admit to having done with foreign strangers in the States, but usually try not to.

My interrogations are always polite, and there two questions when someone finds out I am an American. The first question is inevitably how I come to speak such good German (they are more impressed that I can speak it at all, though in reality my grammar is rarely perfect). The second question is ALWAYS about the presidential candidates. The asker is rarely seeking my actual opinion, but they are always curious. I usually steer the conversation back around to other, safer topics, pretty quickly.

I do have opinions, but I often feel that my personal opinions are not what the asker wants to hear. They want answers, and I do my best to represent the people of my country, not necessary the politicans, in my answers.

Thanks for reading! Next post: the Leipzig Fellowship Conference!

Be kind to each other, and until next time.

 

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