Vaterland vs Land of my Fathers: Thoughts of an Ex Expat

I have been in Germany 2 days now and all I keep thinking is boy do I miss living here. I miss good, cheap beer, I miss pizza and ice cream for lunch and most of all I miss every weekend catching a train and exploring a little bit more of Europe. But where would I rather live Germany where I spent the best year of my life so far, or Wales where I was born and raised. Like many others I made a pros and cons list.

Food

Plenty of vegan food on offer at the all you can eat Chinese, Cardiff YUM!

I’m a pretty lazy vegan. Out of pure convenience and lack of money I have put in a “vegetarian while abroad” clause into my diet. That means when I’m Deutschland I can gorge on Quattro fomaggio pizzas, veggie döners with feta and garlic sauce and of course spaghetti eis. But it does not make me feel good. If I’m completely honest with myself, veggie is ok for a few days, but the 3 months I spent in Oz really had me crying out for houmous. I’m sure with time and local knowledge it’s possible, but between the wurst and the kasespaetzl it is hard to be vegan in Germany.

Wales 1 – 0 Germany

Night Life

Dismal

In Cardiff, the capital of Wales, rare is the club that opens til 4. The sweat pit that is Metros with it’s £1.50 doubles will always have a place in my heart. However, Tresor in Berlin may be the best clubbing experience of my entire life. It looks and feels like a converted prison and is open til 12pm. I’ve never had an experience like it, and it’s not the only one, there are probably 5 other super clubs in Berlin alone let alone the likes of one of my faves Cocoon, Frankfurt. Sorry Wales, you just don’t measure up.

Wales 1 – 1 Germany

Culture

Statue depicting the Brother’s Grimm tale “The Town Musicians”

While Germany used to be the pinnacle of world cinema, I just came from the Turkish für Anfänger film. It worried me. It’s a 12 and yet everyone is naked (all the time), there are several racist comments and as it’s a teen film, I was confused by the Baader-Ensslin fantasy half way through. Admittedly, that could never match up to say ‘Twin Town’, but it’s also Karneval vs Eisteddfod, Football vs Rugby, Dirndl vs Traditional Welsh Costume, and in this case I’m just Welsh through and through. I will admit though that Oktoberfest kicks ass!

Wales 2 – 1 Germany

Language

Beer and a book, it’s all you need.

I have been learning Welsh since I was about 4 and German since I was 11, and yet as soon as I started learning German it totally pushed out all knowledge I had of Welsh immediately. Every time I tried to think in a foreign language it was German. Welsh was voted the least sexy language of all time, and while it’s great to know some phrases, as a get out clause when weird people start talking to you, and while I will learn it (one day) German just suits me. It’s a masculine language and I’m a masculine girl what can I say. My catchphrase is “My name’s George, like a boy but a girl” and not a truer word said.

Wales 2 – 2 Germany

People

When asked recently what I love most about Wales, it wasn’t the free prescriptions (from the NHS, that we invented), it wasn’t St David’s day or free tuition; it’s the people. I love the sense of community the Welsh have with one another just because we are a minority. How everyone, no matter where you are, wears a daffodil on March 1st, how we cheer as one at the rugby, how a Welshman would always go out their way to help a fellow Welshman, how we voted for the alternative vote and how we didn’t participate in the riots. I probably love all these things because I was brought up with it and I would feel the same about the Germans if I was one, but I am always filled with pride to say that I am Welsh.

Wales 3 – 2 Germany

Does this mean that Wales is better than Germany; definitely not! It doesn’t even mean I would rather live in Wales than Germany. Can’t I be just a little country bi-curious?

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