I was born here in El Paso, spent most of my childhood here, and I’ve lived in the following cities: Dallas, Texas; Los Angeles, Calif.; San Diego, Calif.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Cloudcroft, N.M.; and Wellfleet, Mass. And although I can’t say I officially lived in Rohr, Niederbayern, Deutschland, I did spend months at a time there, staying with my husband and his family, last year.
Out of all of those places, none has stricken me so much as Rohr, with a population of about 5,000, a small community that has one grocery store, two bakeries, two butchers, one community pool, and miles upon miles of rolling hills of corn and rapeseed fields. It’s about one hour northeast of Munich, and a world away from crime, pollution, gangs or stress. And it IS where I call home.
Although we can’t live there again, yet, I can still look forward to the day when we can, along with our new addition, Hannah, who I want to grow up with both American and German customs, culture and language. And even if we don’t live in Rohr (most likely Abensberg, Regensburg or Munich), it will always be the place I idealize for how it changed me so profoundly and was so instrumental in turning me into who I am today. And I want Hannah to have that, always.
I order a lot of food and German products from Germandeli.com, a business that is actually based here in Texas, but carries all the products I used and adored while staying in Bavaria. Fa bath gels and lotions, Almdudler drinks, Knorr and Maggi fixes and spice mixes, breads made in Germany, REAL cheese (unfortunately all pasteurized, but still more real than what’s available here), semmelknodel mix, German DVDs and books, German tableware, etc. All the things I just adored when living in Rohr, right at my keyboard! And the site has a great link called “What I Miss About Germany,” where all German ex-pats living here in the U.S. can reminisce about their lives in Germany.
But there are some things I miss about Germany (from my perspective, being an American married to a German, and not having a good grasp of the language…yet). And they are:
1. The common sense of courtesy and decency shown to everyone, even strangers on the street.
2. The fact that it is a GIVEN that families will dine together every meal possible, without question.
3. The fog rolling over the hops fields early in the morning, with foxes, hares and deer in abundance.
4. The smell of the bakery from a mile away, each and every morning. AND walking home with a freshly-made loaf of rye bread or broetchen for the day.
5. How HOUSEPROUD all Germans are, with their lace valances on their windows, their orchids proudly blooming for all passers-by to see.
6. Kaffee und Kuchen promtly at 3 p.m.
7. German TV, with almost no commercials in sight.
8. German newspapers. Actually full of information. Actually taking a while to read and to digest the info. Actually not full of ads.
9. Biking to the next town to enjoy a beer or Schwip Schwap in a biergarten by a babbling brook.
10. Going to the thermal spas to soak in the mineral waters, and it being covered by insurance!
11. The Munich Airport. God, I could LIVE there. Neat, tidy, easy to navigate, the best hotel ever (The Kempinski), wonderful shops and cafes…
12. The clean streets, fresh air and courtesy, even in the Marienplatz in central Munich.
13. The on-time trains.
14. The obsession with bio-foods and organics, no matter what income level.
15. Homemade food being preferred to a restaurant, any time, any day.
What are the things YOU miss most about Germany??