Citizen

Ronnie in Germany

My experience was definitely one of memory; I had to ask my folks plenty of questions to take me back into time. The story goes like this: My dad was a military man, ARMY and you better not forget it (he’s always talking stuff about jar head Marines) anyway, soon after I was born at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona in 1988, he was sent to Karlsruhe, Germany and would be stationed there for four years. So what did my young mother do? We moved to Germany! Packed our stuff and jumped on a 13 hour flight to Germany. I won’t get technical but I can share my adventure with you…as I remember it.

Quick Fact and learn some German: Deutsch (German) is the Muttersprache (mother tongue) of over 100 million people.

Quick Fact and learn some German: Bundesländer (federal states) -16

I’d like to share with you some stuff I know about Germany:
• German people eat French fries with mayonnaise…
• If you ever go out to eat in Germany expect to only get two ice cubes in your drink.
• This is interesting, my little sister was born in Germany, therefore was born abroad – the point is her birth certificate was signed by former four star general and U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell – I’ve thought about putting it up on eBay just for giggles.

Quick Fact and learn some German: Bevölkerung (population) – 82.3 million, the largest in Europe.

Snowy Day
In Germany it snows a lot. My mom always tells this story at every family event, she tells it the best but I’m going to give it a shot. It was a snowy day, so like most days it means we would have to stay inside all day at our apartment that was not too far from the U.S. military base my dad stayed at. On this day my mom decided we would play in the snow, I was walking by this time so she thought it would be fun. So here I am 3 years old bundled up looking like a moving marshmallow strolling down the street. My mom never has really told me the truth but somehow I got out of her sight and wandered away from our apartment front. Here I am a little boy in a foreign country pretty much lost, but having the time of my life, a local friend of the family found me playing catch with some kids two times my age. I had taken my jacket off in the freezing snow.

Quick Fact and learn some German: Nationalfeiertag (State holiday) – October 3, day of German Unity.

Next-Door Neighbors
At the apartment we lived in there were a handful of classic characters. This first I want to introduce was my mom’s non-English speaking old lady friend who apparently was in love with me. My mom tells me she would pick me up and grab me and spin me around and blurt out German stuff. She’d always give me candy and make me clothes that were always too small. She was sad when we went back to the states.

The second is an American family who lived down from the hall. The cool thing is they became our friends and remain our close friends today. They were an African-American family from Chicago and they took my mom in and gave her a feeling of being back home. The first three birthday parties of my life all had the same guest: the loving old German lady who couldn’t speak a lick of English and the family from Chicago, oh and my parents. It was a kid’s dream!

Some stuff I looked up, but would love to share with you, learn some German at the same time:

• Größte Städte (largest cities):
o Berlin – 3.4 million inhabitants
o Hamburg – 1.8 million
o München (Munich) – 1.3 million
o Köln (Cologne) – 1 million
o Frankfurt am Main – 662,000
• Höchster Berg (highest mountain) – The Zugspitze 2963 m (9,718 ft)
• Längste Flüsse (longest rivers):
o Rhein – 865 km (537 miles)
o Elbe – 700 km (435 miles)
o Donau 647 km (402 miles)
• Germany is located in the heart of Europe and has 9 Nachbarstaaten (neighbors):
o Frankreich (France)
o Österreich (Austria)
o Belgien (Belgium)
o Tschechien (Czech Republic)
o Dänemark (Denmark)
o Luxemburg (Luxembourg)
o Polen (Poland)
o Niederlande (The Netherlands)
o Schweiz (Switzerland)

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