Courtesy MAG

By Catherine Gabitan, Odenton, MD

I take one step and just like that I transition from being an American on American soil to being a foreigner in Stuttgart, Germany. The German gate guards wave good-bye and I stroll to the bus stop. I have lived in Germany for most of my life as a military child.

It is raining and all the seats in the bus stop hut are taken, but as I approach, a German boy about my age wearing a Chicago Bulls jacket stands and motions for me to sit. I smile and thank him. He asks if I am American and I reply that I am. His face lights up. “I love Americans! One day, I will go to America too,” he says in a cute German accent.

I see some elderly Germans nearby frown in disapproval.

“Du liebst Amerika und ich liebe Deutschland (You love America and I love Germany),” I reply, and see smirks of approval from the elders.

To be polite, I continue in English, knowing the boy is excited at the chance to converse with an English speaker. I point out his mistakes, and he takes the corrections gracefully.

Our bus pulls up and the old women get on first. One man helps a mother load her child’s stroller. Now, it is just the boy and me. He lets me board first. We don’t sit together, but before getting off, he turns back and yells, “One day, I will see you in America!”

I don’t live in Germany anymore, and I miss it every day, especially the people. They were kind and considerate and genuinely interested in other cultures. There were many times when I needed help, when I was lost downtown, got on the wrong train, or needed to flag down a taxi, and there was always a friendly local ready to help.

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This article has 3 comments.

on Nov. 10 2008 at 7:02 pm
This is a superb piece of writing. The author will go very far.

on Nov. 3 2008 at 8:49 pm
This is a really cute and simply peice. I like the message written in so few words. Excellent job.

Nanni said...
on Nov. 3 2008 at 7:22 am
this is written so well... I love how you can almost hear you reading it. The word choice is beautiful and positive. The piece is so simple yet stunning. I love it!

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