I work with a bunch of people who speak English, but no one who I work with or interact with on a daily basis has come from the part of the world that I do. The native English speakers are all from the UK or New Zealand. When I was in Zürich for a big inter-agency client meeting they had us all form a line beginning with people who originated closest to Zürich to people who originated farthest. I was the second to last in the line – the last was a guy from India. It was the first time I realized just how far I'd come.
Then there's the fact that I moved here by myself without knowing anyone. That I just got rid of everything and came here of my own free will. That trips people up. And when I think about it, it trips me up, too.
But I still feel it would have been crazier to stay in Chicago. It would have been HARDER to stay in Chicago, a place that I had outgrown and needed to put behind me.
I'm so f'n glad to be here, seriously. Despite all the hassles of dealing with the German Bureaucracy and having to start over in a country where I only have a basic understanding of the language, I have no regrets at all.
It's funny... in conversations with Germans here, they talk about the immigrants coming in and how it's a bad thing. But then I say Hey! I'm an immigrant too! and they tell me, no, I'm different, it's okay that I'm here – LOL
The misspelling of my last name has become ubiquitous. I say "Kretchmer" and people nod enthusiastically and write it down. But inevitably there is always an "s" thrown in (Kretschmer). I actually love it – I wish that there still was an "s" in my last name. My grandfather only took it out because no one in America could spell it correctly WITH the "s". Now I am extremely tempted to put it back in...I've been considering it for years. We'll see.