probably count on one hand the amount of times I’ve conversed about East/West
divisions and how it relates to "people of German origins" with whom I’ve come in
- One of my former German teachers related her experience at the time the Berlin wall came down. Her parents watched it on TV and she went upstairs because it wasn’t very interesting.
- On Stresemannstr. some random man stopped me and in mostly unintelligible English tried to explain the location and historical significance of the Berlin wall to me. I don’t know where he was from but I guess he thought I couldn’t read the "Berliner Mauer" plaque on the ground and had been living under a rock my entire life.
- At one of my favorite events in Paris, Cinemix, where DJs provide the accompaniment for silent films, I realized that the other Berliner with us could read the Russian titling. An actual click sound and a real light bulb appeared over my head translating into wow you learned Russian in school.
- While chatting with another foodie, I heard the very interesting theory that Germans, especially East Germans, don’t have problems with spicy food per se, it’s that they eat too fast. I couldn’t clap to that.
- While eavesdropping, I’ve overheard someone blame a moderator’s awkwardness on his East Germanness and another person refer to his/herself as being that East German with whom an upwardly mobile West German family would never want to associate.
are really 6 but I’m sure everyone has heard a cucumber/banana story. I’m
always surprised to hear such things, especially when it’s a negative remark
about people from the former East side with the requisite – oh I hope that didn’t offend – disclaimer
attached to it. As a foreigner, those types of perceived differences and stereotypes are pretty much lost on me. When I do notice people eating like a vacuum, I
don’t attribute it to anything but bad manners. The last
discussion I had about East/West divisions was centered on an anecdote
about David Hasselhoff singing "Looking for Freedom." The one before that: I
think BZ did a poll asking school-age children about the Berlin wall awhile back. My favorite
response: there was a wall?
of German people I know who are actually from Berlin is probably pretty low as well. Being
a born and bred New Yorker, I can appreciate the novelty. In my VHS
class, I found out that my semi-regular conversation partner is a real
Kreuzberger, who went to elementary school a block away from where I am moving to
(still here – we are never moving). I was so sure he was about to start with the oh
you live in Kreuzberg… speech but he didn’t. A milestone for me.