Learning to live within differences
What is the first thing that people think of when we talk about Germany? Some may think of the famous sausages, many of the great variety of beers. Others may think of buildings and big companies and, of course, that well-known stereotype of Germans always seeming angry because of their tone of voice.
I’ve been living four months in this country, specifically in the capital Berlin. It’s a multicultural place full of people, churches, and trains. In this short time, I’ve noticed certain things about this area such as the fact that work is one of the main focuses of life, that being punctual is truly important, and that beating around the bush is nobody's style here. If people here don’t like something, they will tell you. That's it. Their style is immediacy when they do, or assign, a task. But there are also things that are simple for me such as a kiss on the cheek to greet, or hugs. But they are pretty uncommon.
For some people, these traits might sound a bit rude. I know that I’m not reinventing the wheel but, in a way, there is something new that I’m experiencing, which are situations that are culturally startling and others that are very pleasant. This process is not easy but if it were it wouldn’t be challenging.
I don’t plan to compare regions or lifestyles because differences are what makes a place interesting; a country and its people. The history of a country, its past, processes, and major events, allow you to see more meaningfully and clearly people’s behaviour, their politics and beliefs. Differences between regions that are culturally cold and warm are reflected in almost all aspects of life, from family relationships to how jobs are carried out in firms.
From the time I accepted to come to this country I knew that I started a stage of a lot of growth where I had to leave my comfort zone. It was the moment to leave my land and my people. At the beginning it feels like too many changes and rules but time, patience, and being eager to learn help with this process of adjustment.
This has been an experience with ups and downs. It has definitely been a roller-coaster of emotions. I’ve missed people but also enjoyed myself. I have cried but also laughed a lot. Nevertheless, these months have been good. They have been my preparation for what comes next, now with more judgement, observation, and awareness.
To live far from family and friends is still difficult. This has helped me to remember where I’m coming from. It has helped me to get to know myself better and to appreciate what I had left behind and what lies in front of me. There is still much more to learn. To be here is a daily challenge but I’m sure that this time will allow me to grow and that it will give me a different perspective on the world.
Here is a small list of things I like here:
Public transport is fast, efficient and on time and it is not so complicated to reach far-off places.
Autumn is beautiful and gives a magical touch to the city; seeing the colours of the leaves and watching the trees transform day by day.
The bread is delicious and it's very common to eat it every day.
The old style of some buildings not losing their elegance.
I thank all the people who have supported me in this process and also those who have taken the time to read this article.