From St. Petersburg, Russia
5 years in Hamburg
Marine engineer & writer
What made you decide to come to Hamburg, and stay here?
People. Or better to say one particular person. When you live in your favourite city, the best city ever, with your family, in your home, do every day your dream job, meet friends on the weekends, have hobbies, your moments, first kiss, graduation from university, everything in that city, nothing can make you ever leave it. But sometimes we all do strange things for some even more strange reasons. My reason was him. Sometimes it happens.
Surviving in Germany: what makes life here so different from back home in St. Petersburg?
Just imagine. You come to a new country with one suitcase. You cannot put all your life in there. You cannot take with you Saturday’s breakfast with friends, the place of your first kiss where you usually go when you are upset or granny’s pancakes. And this all in addition to a foreign language you cannot speak or even if you can, you will never understand strange jokes. In addition to winter that never comes or snow that never exists. You cannot just be yourself and do what you are used to do. I am keen on snowboarding. It has become a part of my life. But how is it possible to live my snowboarding life without snow? That is only one example.
What tips do you have for people who are new in Hamburg: how to deal with the changes, and being homesick? What did you do to “get to know” the city?
Be yourself. Usually there are two opposite examples of people acting in foreign countries. Some people are trying to copy the native citizens as much as possible in clothes, in accents or even change their names. The other ones do not want to integrate at all. They do not want to learn the language or accept the rules and traditions of that country. If you ask me, we should find some balance. We should find our place in a new country but at the same time stay as we are. I can speak German well, but I would never speak it as well as the Germans do. I should accept this fact and try to find my place here with my strange accent.
And I am writing, remember? After my moving to Germany I thought I would never write any more. Because of the language, because I have no idea how to do it here in Germany. But words have found me themselves and after some time I started to write again and I cannot stop anymore.
Read about Violetta’s experiences in Hamburg on www.violettablatz.com
Photo Credits: Patrick Ata. www.patrickata.com