The Black Forest

Freiburg

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One thought on “The Black Forest

  1. Ey Wills April 26, 2013 / 10:35 am

    They call it the Black Forest for a reason! I have been living here as an “expat” (although I kind of hate that label, cause if anything has made me love the USA , it has been living here for the past 16 years), but I digress. Being that you are the Mama of a half Armee/halb Deutsche Diva I thought you could relate! Or maybe prepare yourself for the woes to come…..

    So my oldest Diva is in the 7th Grade at the Realschule. In her History class (which is 45 min once a week) they have been going over American history. As the resident “Amerikan”, a title she has strickly based on my half of her chromosomes as she was born and raised here, her classmates expect her to be the resident expert and carry the responsibility for everything American. For example following the school shootings in Conn. her social studies teacher (EWG lehrerin) led a converstation about the shooting which went something like this (directed at my Diva) “how can you people be such monsters?”, “Does everyone in your country run around crazy with a gun and shoot little kids?”.

    History class… sorry I digressed again….They started learning about the Revolution, then the civil war and the emancipation proclamation and from that segwayed right into…….the obesity epidemic in the US by watching the “documentary” film “Super Size Me”. So now my Diva is being spotted as a fat gun toting mad/stupid Cow (Du fette bewaftnete blödekuh”).

    The USA is pretty young in comparrison to Europe, I mean as of this coming 4th of July our nation will be a mere 237 years old. So #1 how can you just drop 150 years of a countries History (in this case more than half of its History) and #2 what does the obesity epidemic have to do with history? I mean, I get that it is costing millions of dollars and killing people, but so did the spanish influenza pandemic of 1918. And if this is just about name calling then, Germany is the fattest European nation (they even have their own version of the biggest loser now!) so there, WTF?

    I asked my husband about this 150 year gap in history, sort of like “is this normal”, and he was like “Ja”, as far as he remembers that is pretty much what he was taught in school as well about the USA (minus the obesity part). Never touched on the industrial revolution or either of the World Wars, let alone the European Recovery Plan (aka the Marshall plan) that pretty much put this place back together post WW2 at the expense of every single American Tax payer. Or the fact that until 1992 the US Government (aka the US tax payers) was the largest employer of Germans in Germany (based on a single employer). See how nicely I keep tying this back to tax season! Not that I expect any of these topics to be viewed in detail in the 7th grade, but to just hop over it like it never happened is bizarre to say the least.

    But wait there’s more! Even before all of this I took my daughter to a private tutor (Nachhilfschule) to get her some help in German Grammer, which we all know is fun, fun, fun! The moment this lady (the Nachhilflehrerin) is alone with my daughter she asks her, which state I am from, how often we are there, do they have the death penalty there? Does my daughter know if anyone has recently been executed and how did that make her feel, what were her thoughts about that?
    When I find out about this line of questioning from our private, well paid tutor, I am obviously shocked ’cause what does that bitteschön have to do with German Grammer and besides what does any 12 year old regardless of nationality really know about that line of questioning? Not wanting to come across as the “Ugly American” I cooled off, pulled my wits about me and told the tutor at the next session that I would prefer she keep the conversation A) to grammer and B) to subject matter that is more child appropriate, and to be specific I don’t find discusing the death penalty to be age appropriate. Her reply was as if nothing inappropriate had happened and that discussing ones feelings about execution was totally normal, but in the future she would at my request avoid that subject matter.

    Unfortunatly I have a whole plethora of these stories, I know so why am I still here? Love is blind….I like to think that by sticking together we can whether any storm, blah, blah, blah! I have a great husband and thankfully we are insinc about this place (he is originally from the north) but work is where it is and there is that whole money thing, but I am starting to think no job no amount of income is worth living here.

    They call it the Black Forest for a reason, I try not to condem all of Germany based on the folks here. I mean the “Schwaben” don’t exactly have the best reputation even amoung their own countrymen, but it is so hard to see your kid suffer because of your heritage. I hope for your sake as well as the rest of the “expats” raising half Armees here that this sort of behavior is quarantined to the Black Forest. I think after 16 years I have given this country my best shot, and it is time for me (and my family) to cash in our chips and move on.

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