My name is Tina and I am originally from Cologne, Germany, but currently live in Minnesota, USA with my husband Patrick.
What brought you to the USA?
It’s actually a long story. When I was 14 years old, I was at the boarding school and there was an exchange student from Minnesota. We kept in touch by writing letters afterwards. She thought it was cool that I was German and I thought it was cool that she was American ;-). Once she invited me to stay over at her place in the USA and when I was 16 I went to Minnesota. And I thought: “WOW, the States are sooo cool.” Everything to me seemed so much better and cooler. Back then the differences were actually big, not like nowadays. Every time on holidays I would go to the USA, as well. When I got divorced, my daughter was only 9 years old and I went to an RTL TV show called Barbel Schaefer (title of that particular show: If my wish does not come true I will go crazy) and I had a wish to go to the States and they had tickets for me!!! So I moved to the USA, where I actually went back to school… but I had to come back to Germany, went back to my old job…. To cut the long story short, I met Patrick, who is American, we got married and I moved back to the USA again, to California to be exact.
Do you feel yourself German or American?
It’s a tough question. I’ve always felt a true Cologner ;-)…I do feel very German, but from the start I was always searching for a better, cooler place to live… So I’d say, it’s about 50/50. When I am in Cologne, the German side takes over. I love to have my Koelsch, I go to the Kneipe and Braushauses with my German friends, I make Germans jokes, I am totally German 😉 and when I am back in the States, my American side comes up.
Have you experienced any cases of discrimination in the USA?
No, never! Germans are generally welcome in the States…. Americans stereotype a lot though … I get asked some non-educated, silly questions or comments like German women do not shave or drink only warm beer, that we only have powdered milk… where in the world do they even get this from!!!!???
Do you think multiculturalism has failed in Germany?
Hard one… I am an immigrant myself now. I am open-minded, I believe that you at least should try to fit in in a new country whether it is the US or Germany. I will never say: “You are from Algeria, you cannot come! You are from Russia, then you are welcome.” I don’t care about the nationality, there are good and bad people everywhere to start with.
Those immigrants that come to Germany or the States demand to have the rights they did not have in their own country, imposing their rules… they don’t want to learn the language or to fit in… that is where I am saying no, absolutely no! Unfortunately, this poisons the whole idea of multiculturalism…. But actually these are the days of multicoolty, we now finally, thanks to internet, travels and other things, know so much about other cultures. Rather than reading a book about Italy, I’d rather hear from you about your country and that is beautiful!
Do you see yourself back in Germany?
We might. We both love Cologne. My husband knows by heart and sings all the Carnival songs, by the way 😉