It’s a cold winter night, the clock hits midnight, champagne bottles pop, and fireworks start to rise above a field and the view of the Frankfurt city skyline. I suddenly hear behind me: “¡Feliz año nuevo Andrea!” as my Spanish friend hugs me.
For a moment, I was taken back to my warm living room in Honduras, where I would’ve never expect to hear “Frohes Neues Jahr!” and hug friends out on a freezing night. Instead, I would hear the usual Spanish phrase on a warm living room filled with people dancing and singing to the usual song “El Año Viejo“ while enjoying the view of the fireworks above the city of Tegucigalpa.
It is now 2018 and life looks and feels very different. Germany is my official home, I’m happily married, and I find myself coping with the fact that I will never live in my home country again. Honduras is now my past, a warm memory, and a temporal destination.
As the new year starts and as I feel more comfortable at work, confident with my German skills, and integrated into German society, questions about the future of my cultural identity began to appear — questions, that inevitably come to every person adopting a foreign country as their permanent home:
Will my cultural identity fade away with time?
Will I eventually identify more with the German culture rather than with my own?
Will I forget my cultural background and where I come from?
All answers to these questions are pretty clear to me. The imagination of not belonging to my country anymore and leaving my heritage behind is intolerable.
Latin America tastes to me like black coffee with sweet bread, smells like corn tortillas on a comal-pan, looks green, sunny, and colorful all year long, and sounds like acoustic guitars, conga drums, and singing birds on the background. Latin America is friendly, likes to give hugs, speaks loud, dances even if it’s bad, never leaves a hungry soul, and has a big family because friends are also part of it.
It is beautiful to belong to this culture, it is beautiful to have lived in a Latin American country, and it would be beautiful to share the greatness of this culture with others.
However, I also came to Germany open to its world, to learn about its culture, and to become part of it. I love Frankfurt, its multiculturality, its vibe, and its development and I want to share that too.
How can I balance all this?
Challenges like this one are what everyone who lives abroad faces, has faced or will face.
2018 started for me with many questions, a lot of thought, and confusion — therefore, a long silence on this blog. I want to reach my audience and connect with my readers better. I want to help you and everyone else going through similar experiences to reach their personal goals in this cultural and social context. Culture is a much greater part of our personal development than what we’d think of and it is just the foundation of everything else happening in our lives.
2018 will be a big year for you and me. After a year of writing in this blog, what is this blog about? I guess it is changing, as I am changing.
Foreign Minded is a dedication to culture and cultural exchange. It also honors travel and the life of a local, loves international cuisine, and searches for stories from all kinds of backgrounds. It is an homage to Honduras and the preservation of the Latin American cultural identity while living abroad, and it will share all of this with you.
On the other side, Foreign Minded loves living abroad in Germany, especially in Frankfurt. It will not only connect you with people from different places but also tell you more about the Frankfurt cultural scene, help you optimize your experiences abroad, and perhaps even help you find new opportunities.