So Augsburg has some awe-inspiring highlights to be sure. Still, beyond those, there isn’t much that really shocks the system. I guess my only point of comparison is Indonesia where I always stood out like a sore thumb physically, linguistically, and culturally. Here everyone looks and behaves just like I do, just like everyone back in the Mid-West does. This probably has a great deal to do with Mid-West America being founded by a large amount of Germans, my ancestors included.
Growing up, I always felt a little jealous of my friends who seemed to have a clear cut traditions to follow from their clear cut heritage. They ate certain foods at holidays, decorated with particular decorations, even spoke their own secret language. With my ancestors emigrating in the 1800s or earlier, everything we did just seemed plain old, mutt-variety American. Now, though, I see things in Augsburg - particularly inside the homes - that seem to be a reflection of life back home. A wreath on the wall, a beer stein, the clocks, the china patterns, the lace curtains…they all transport me back in time and space to my great grandparent’s homes in Pennsylvania.
Maybe I had my own, unique culture after all. Of course the lines get blurred after a few generations, but it’s still there. Maybe being immersed and invisible in this culture is slowly demystifying my own.