Buzz Buzz – What’s new in Germany?!

4 Dec
Calgary Downtown

Even during a thunderstorm the skyline of Downtown Calgary has some grace to it.

My Calgary friends kept asking me if I was excited to go back home, after not having been to Germany for two years. Well, packing was exciting. Packing indicates change, which is interesting in itself. Yet, there is no excitement in returning to my dull life on the upper floor of my parents’ house. Now that I have travelled, made music, and discovered a love for arts and sports, there is no future in staying home. I miss Calgary and all of my Canadian friends.

My parents’ townhouse comes with an unmatched familiarity and freedom, but despite its grandeur my childhood appears meaningless in comparison to my seven years in Canada and the way it has shaped my personality, views, and interests.

In the previous blog I discussed the many things that I miss about my Calgary Chapter, the home that I leave behind. Today I will add some thoughts concerning the home that I am returning to.

Berlin Alexanderplatz

Berlin at night is still a buzz. But buzz itself never inspired me.


Face Value

Even within twenty years of celebrated Western freedom (I was born behind the Iron Curtain) I rarely ever travelled beyond the outskirts of my own garden. It is true that my home town is far older than Calgary, and architecturally more diverse, but still it lacks to invoke the same magic and inspiration that the high rise office towers, green parks, and copy-cutter neighbourhoods of Calgary managed to invoke in me.

I know most streets of my home town, yet I have never made it target of a photographic journey, or explored parts of it during a half hour walk with a cookie and a water bottle, as I have done many times in Calgary. And it is not just the much smaller surface area of my home town, or the smaller cultural diversity that makes it less interesting.

Berlin, for example, has a business and population density that is similar to that of Calgary, and still it lacks the general vibrancy of cowtown. People are buzzing around with the same frequency, but they usually have a purpose to their buzz. Germans don’t generally stop and stare; and as a result do not inspire others to do so. Maybe that is the reason why I have never aspired to level-up my photography skills in Germany. I’ve been back for three months now, and I am still searching for that spark.

Autumn in my German backyard

Autumn is a good time for photography. The play of light and shade, together with the colourful leaves and the frost in the air create an artsy atmosphere.


Poetry in Motion

Another issue is the obvious return to my first language, German. Speaking and thinking in English has created a protective barrier between the real world and my perception of it. It is much easier for me to express my personal thoughts and create engaging poetry in English. Not only does its syntax make it easier to create engaging and tale-telling prose.

The fact of English being a foreign language for me creates an illusion of poetic distance; a mask of words that I love to hide behind. Asking for a favour, a date, or forgiveness becomes much easier, if I can hide behind words that I have not previously used to describe my fourth grade Physics project. English has become my language of community and success, whereas German is the language that my parents use to complain about the weather, and tell that one joke that they know. I keep reading and writing in English, but it’s a trifle more difficult, now that I truly have to maintain a bilingual life.


Yes, the house hiding behind those pines belongs to my parents. Now that I know life I will try to escape more often.


I have been “home” now for three months. But so far I have been unable to find a stable job, or reinvigorate the artistic spark that kept me alive through the long Canadian winters. And as the season of solstice jams and potlucks approaches I start to feel alone. Without friends to share in the experience all the buzz in this country is merely noise, and my songs are just background music. As much as I always complain about Calgary and its lack of opportunity, I do miss it. I need a vacation!

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