My name is Marisa but I go by La Mari in the blogging world. It’s my nickname in my Latin family and I am quite fond of it. I currently blog about my adventures of living in Germany (as well as trying to document photographically the adventures I have with my pug, Abner, who I have brought with me from the States.
What brings you to Germany?
A boy, honestly. I met him in Chicago in April 2013 when he came to my company for a business trip. We originally started contacting each other because I ended being his (as well as another German’s) guide around the Windy City. We started talking and never stopped. Fortunately, the company I work for has its headquarters in Germany, so when T and I decided to try and see if our relationship could work then I asked for a transfer and here I am!
How does you like your life in Germany in comparison to your home country?
I definitely find more similarities than differences. I think that is because the major ethnic group to migrate to my homestate of Indiana were Germans and much of their culture was passed down to the current generation of Hoosiers living there. But the thing I do miss the most is the food. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the food here but the region I live in is somewhat lacking in Peruvian cuisine as well as the more outlandish Sushi that you would find in a big city like Chicago (though you can find those things in the larger German cities like Frankfurt or Munich – just not close to where I live).
Could you tell me a few words about your blog?
I started the blog in 2011 when I was planning a trip to the UK. I was traveling by myself and I knew that my (very large) family had some reservations and were nervous about my trekking alone. So I created the blog as a way for them to keep up with my adventures. When I decided to make the big move to Germany, I started it back up again with the same idea in mind. My goal is to educate the folks back home about Germany as well as show my German readers what their country looks like through the eyes of an American. But honestly, it has been turning more into a showcase of my dog’s modeling abilities. He has turned into my own Flat Stanley – my souvenir during our travels. I have a lot of fun taking photos of him at various famous sites and I can’t wait to make more. It’s a game for him (because he gets a lot of treats for each photo I take) so I am sure he won’t mind.
Do you feel yourself integrated?
I do. Besides the language barrier, so much of culture has been so inviting that I do feel integrated. I have found that between my husband’s friends and my friends at work – I have so many people rooting for me and helping me because they want me to feel both welcome and one of them.
Does Germany look multicultural to you?
To be honest, compared to the US, no. But that’s not to say that Germany isn’t becoming more multicultural. Germany sits almost exactly in the middle of Europe and plenty of people of many different cultures have definitely left their footprint there. With the coming of more refugees from Syria as well as other immigrants from Africa and Eastern Europe flooding in –
the cultural horizon of the country is going to change dramatically over this next generation.
Fortunately, I have found the Germans mostly embracing this change and going out of their way to help these fresh off the boat immigrants get integrated into Germany as quickly as possible. It is a refreshing change compared to the current views of certain American politicians on the same group of immigrants.
What would you like “import” from Germany to your country?
With the current political climate, I wish to import Germans open mindedness to the Syrian crisis. Of course, not all of Germany is happy with the situation but it is nowhere near as heated as back in the States. I would also love to import the Germans love for the outdoors. As Americans, we tend to stay in our homes and most barely even know their own neighbors. In Germany, even if there is a bit of sun, you will find people outside getting a little fresh air. I think it helps them stay healthier than the Americans.
5 discoveries in Germany?
I would call this the top five places to visit while in (Southern) Germany:
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber
- Insel Mainau – also known as The Flower Island
What is the first thing you do when you go back?
Whenever I go back to the States, I organize meet up with the few friends who are still in my hometown and usually try to coordinate it with certain restaurants that I also want to visit before heading back to Germany.
What does 2016 look like for you?
Very busy. I got married in October 2014 but it was the normal German civil wedding. We are having our church wedding June 2016 and there is a lot of preparation between organizing a tri-cultural wedding and helping my family plan their trip. The first half of 2016 will mainly consist of that. The second half will be our planning our honeymoon as well as a trip back to the States for Christmas!