A bit of 'Germanness' should remain!
I’m half German and half Russian, but was born in Budapest, the capital of Hungary. I’ve always found it difficult to feel I belong to a particular country, but since I moved to London three years ago, I no longer feel out of place.
I attended the German School in Budapest for nine years, so I was always together with German pupils. The pupils weren’t only from Germany, but also from Austria and Switzerland, so I learned a lot about these countries and their traditions, although I hadn’t lived in them. However, being at the German school enabled me to travel to Germany a lot, as I wanted to visit friends who’d moved back there. Also I’d been on a lot of school trips to Germany and had therefore visited many interesting cities there.
I remember well the first time I travelled to Ulm with my schoolmates. We worked at the Museum of Ulm for a week and explored the city with the school pupils from Ulm. I really enjoyed this and I felt really at home there. I feel attracted to Germany as I have so many nice memories and have learned a lot about German culture and history at school.
I had always been a bit isolated in Hungary as I’d almost only spoken with German people, watched German TV and read German newspapers. At school there was always a Christmas bazaar in the winter, which is something I still miss. I got used to the German traditions, which is quite strange as I’ve never actually lived in Germany. When we have the ‘Winter Wonderland’ in London’s Hyde Park, I try to go there every day. There’s a great atmosphere, almost like in Germany. This reminds me of the wonderful Christmas market in Munich where you can buy ‘Plätzchen’ (biscuits), Glühwein and punch.
I found it difficult to get used to the English people after having spent my whole life in a German ‘environment’ so to speak. At the German School I’d always been taught to be punctual and organised. I can now say that I’ve changed a lot! Things which used to annoy me a lot, no longer worry me. I’ve learned a lot from the English and the most important thing has definitely been to ‘take it easy’.
When I moved to London I had the feeling that everyone was working against me and I wanted to control and plan things myself. In this respect the English are very different and at first I found this quite strange. They don’t care about cleanliness! When my parents and I were looking for an apartment, all the places we saw seemed to be dirty. I’m still fanatical about cleanliness but certainly not as bad as I used to be!
I have realised that although I really enjoy my life in London, I miss above all the German traditions which I got so used to. That’s why I’d like to study German: not so I have to leave London, but in order to have a bit of ‘Germanness’ in my life.
Translated into English by Annemarie Goodridge
Kristina is nineteen years old and is studying German, Photography and Art History at the private Sixth Form College Mander Portman Woodard in South Kensington, London. Next year Kristina hopes to study German at University College London, in order to later pursue a career in PR/marketing or journalism.