Even though I know that this makes it harder for me to express my feelings, I decided to write this very last blog post in english. I don’t want to exclude my Indian friends and also a country which matters a lot to me from this thoughts.
Before I left for India I took part in a 2-weeks seminar in Wiesbaden. During this seminar I was warned again and again: „There is a culture shock waiting for you in India“. Nobody told me that the real shock is happening back in Germany. And – at least for me – its huge.
Let me take you back in time a little. I was just about to finish highschool when I got this amazing idea of leaving Germany. Right after prom, my mandatory 14 days seminar regarding my India visit started. Actually I learned nothing, but to be open for whatever comes in India. So I left the Airplane in Mumbai and hell I was open for the new – and everything was new and every small thing was different to what I was used to. But that was okay. Because I wanted to experience all this new things. I wanted to change my habits. I wanted to discover a new culture. And of course, after some time, I got used to all these things – the culture.
And then I’m back in Germany. Suddenly. Bäääähm!
Everything is different again. And the real culture shock is here. India was not a shock. India was what I expected. I expected India to be different in any possible way. But did I expect the same from Germany before I left Pune? No I didn’t. I thought everything will be so familiar again. It’s not.
It starts with your own mother tongue. I remember one situation in the plane from Mumbai to Frankfurt. It was so strange for Aaron and me to ask the steward for something in german. We were not used to it anymore, it sounded weird and wrong in a way. Being back since 4 weeks now, I still have this feeling sometimes.
I guess back in Germany I suddenly started to really recognize my own culture. When you live in Germany you forget about all these small things. I often declared them as stereotypes. But coming back from a completely different culture I can see them again. I see how structured and (over-)organized everything is in Germany. I experience that the people keep more distance. I see these ‚empty‘ streets, I find the food strange and I smell nothing(?!). Somehow I am a foreigner in my own country. It’s my own culture I don’t understand now – not a foreign one. This is what makes me feel „weird“ and in a way it’s hard to handle. I know that what I feel right now is normal and I will adjust to everything again. There is even a scientific term for it. But that is not really helping, because I’m not even sure if I want to adjust.
Living a year in India formed me. It’s not easy to figure out what changed but I’m different now. I was always liberal, but within this year I really experienced diversity. I have an idea about poverty now and I saw real opulence. I met Hindus celebrating Eid and Muslims celebrating Raksha Bandhan. I experienced that a city can work without extreme regulations, just by people looking for each other.
There is a lot India has to do for instance when it comes to women’s rights. But there is also a lot Germany should learn from India.
I’m happy that I was able to experience all that and I’m deeply thankful to all my Indian and German friends and of course my family for supporting me always. Also a big thank you to all my blog readers and donors. I guess there won’t be any further updates on this blog. But I will keep it online, so maybe one day I can come back here, read my blog and get a part of that spirit back.