Tuesday, March 9, 2010

mein Patenabgeordneter

[ my German government representative ]

One of the fundamental roles of the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange is the connection itself between our scholarship founding representatives back home in the States, and our new representatives in Germany. Similar to my visit with Representative Gary Peters in Washington D.C., I received information that my representative in Göttingen would be Herr Opperman from the SPD party. Like Rep. Peters, Herr Thomas Oppermann travels between Berlin and the Göttingen area and represents the people as their voice in the national government.

Upon starting my Praktikumphase of my PPP year in Germany, I also had the opportunity to meet up with Herr Oppermann when he was in town and introduce myself and also thank him for the opportunities that I have been able to experience so far. The chat was short – he is a busy man – but we were able to discuss a bit about what I have been lucky to witness this year in Germany – the elections and the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. We also touched on German reflections on Obama’s first year and half in office, and then a quick turn into University life and its differences from Germany, and yes, I have seen a football game in the big house – yes, it is loud, maize, blue and exciting.

The next few months still have many experiences yet to be had, and the never ending feeling of the unknown as I am constantly changing and adapting to new living situations, learning styles, [grammatical structures… ouch], as well as working experiences. Many things are starting to come full circle during this period in my year, my relationships with friends and family developing further, my understanding and appreciation for the connection to history and varying ideas around me in this seemingly familiar yet still very foreign culture, and my grasp on the language still at a plateau, but slowing becoming more expansive. Being able to share this with Herr Oppermann was very exciting, even for the short visit, but it was a solid reminder during this limbo-like period of being halfway-done of the connections here and back home that have provided me with such an incredible life opportunity.