On my first trip to Germany, the city I most wanted to visit was the capital, Berlin. I will admit that beyond awareness of the existence of the Berlin Wall, my knowledge of the city’s history was shamefully poor. Though I learned a great deal in the four days that I spent in the city, I realise that I had only scratched the surface of Berlin’s rich cultural heritage.
One of the first monuments I saw was the Holocaust Memorial in the Friedrichstadt district. Walking through the memorial, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the sombre atmosphere and experience isolation as one becomes lost.
I then visited one of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks of the Cold War Era, Checkpoint Charlie. This was the main crossing point between East and West Berlin. My ignorance of Berlin’s history became apparent when I visited the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. The museum played a large role in the fall of the wall as its founder protested against it.
“Be as near as possible to injustice, where human size is the strongest.” – Dr Rainer Hildebrandt, founder of the Checkpoint Charlie Museum.
Finally, the Berlin Wall. I walked for hours alongside sections of the wall that were still standing. In particular, the East Side Gallery which consists of over 100 paintings from 1990 that feature political ideas.
“Where is home for you?” How many times I’ve been asked this question? And how many times, I didn’t know what to answer.
Feeling like a foreigner in Germany because you don’t look like a German and feeling like a foreigner in Vietnam because you don’t behave like a typical Vietnamese.
I was born and brought up in Germany. My parent are Vietnamese. My whole life, my parents tried to convey to me and my brothers the Vietnamese culture and language to keep our roots alive. I’ve been educated bilingual. With my family, I speak Vietnamese and outside of home, German. I do believe, I am not the only one who’s struggling with such identity issues while having a migration background.
Some years ago, I spend six weeks on holiday in Vietnam with my father. He took me to the most amazing places such as the Halong Bay and Sapa. Home, is for many people the place where they were born and grew up. After this journey however, I recognised that it isn’t important where you were born and live but important is the feeling of attachment you have when you think of a place.
Over the years, I figured out for myself that it’s okay to have two places that I call “home”. Yes, I am German AND Vietnamese and I am proud of it!
Any questions or comments? I’d be happy to hear from you. Please feel free to share similar experiences with me when you have some!
As the mostinternational metropolis in Germany, Frankfurt meets the needs of everybody due to its unique combination of tradition and modernity. This city has so much more to offer than just skyscrapers and bankers!
It’s a place that loves to party. So let’s start the journey and discover my most favourite festivals amongst skyscrapers and the Old Town, throughout the year!
Main Embankment Festival An attraction for the young and the old, where numerous international food stalls are situated on both sides of the Main riverbank. Multiple entertaining stage programmes ensure a great atmosphere! An important advice: Don’t miss the big fireworks on the last day of this festival which is truly impressive!
Apple Wine Festival Try out Frankfurt’s most traditional beverage, the Apple Wine or how Hessian’s call it “Äppelwoi”, made of different apple varieties. Apart from entertainment stage music, visitors can also find a selection of apple wine on sale as a perfect souvenir.
Frankfurt Christmas Market Here, located in Frankfurt’s Old Town “Römer“, you can expect a wide range of food stalls with typical German drinks and dishes. The stalls are elaborately decorated. Various arts and crafts stalls as well as multiple carousels for kids create a place of pleasure and arouse the pre-christmas mood!