Story #13: I became a citizen in 2006.
Haha! You thought I was a natural citizen of the United States! And I am now. But I spent the first 20 years of my life as an ALIEN. That’s right suckers. I AM AN IMMIGRANT. My parents came here for similar reasons that pretty much anyone ever came over here (except for those who were forced). They came seeking opportunity.
My parents were both born and raised in Karlsruhe, Germany. I was born in Tubingen, a small university town, where my dad was attending school. My younger sister is the only one of us born in the United States. My dad is in the biotechnology field. Germany didn’t have much of that going on back in the 1980’s. My parents came to the US for the first time on a Fulbright scholarship. While my dad was in class, my mom would push my brother around on the dusty roads outside of Austin, Texas. People would pull over and offer her rides, thinking she was absolutely insane. The walking culture was not the same as in Germany.
They went back to Europe after their year in Texas. I’m not completely sure how it all came together, but the brief story my dad told me was this: he saw a poster of bicycles parked on the sunny Stanford campus. He knew immediately that he wanted to go there. And so they did! He managed to get a post-doc position at Stanford and moved the whole family to California.
The original intention was to move back to the Motherland after a few years. Both of my parents come from families of four and they are both close with their siblings. However, one year stretched into three and my dad got a job at a biotech firm. My mom has always loved the California weather. I’m a bit surprised that she survived so many German winters. We have this in common: my mom and I LOVE hot, dry climates. All of this to say, it’s been 30 years and we’re still here.
We used to visit Germany once every two years. As kids, we would spend the summer visiting all of our relatives. As we began to leave the nest as teenagers, our visits became less and less frequent. Now that we’re older and all make an effort to spend time together, we have been visiting the extended family in Germany more frequently again. It’s good to reconnect with our roots. European culture has shaped my thoughts, feelings, and actions in more ways than I can count. In many ways that I’m not even fully aware of. Not until someone points it out to me that I’m different in some way. More on that some other time.
Where are you from? What’s unique about your state/country/family culture? Drop me a line below!
Auf Wiedersehen! ❤ LB