I have decided to stay in Austria this summer, even if I am originally from Germany – even if I will not see my families in Italy and Germany for a long time to come. For the many months I have been living in Vienna, I wasn’t quite sure, if I would ever be able to fit in; if I would get used to the politeness of Austrian people who could easily turn into some weird kind of street rage once they are in a vehicle. Or if I would ever get myself to say Grüß Gott instead of Moin as we do in Northern Germany.
But these questions have been erased from my mind and I am beginning to wonder, why I feel more save in my host country than in Germany right now. Why speaking to my friends and families who live all over Europe made me realise that Austria might be doing something right. Even if Kurz constantly lets us EMYs down by communicating only with „the Austrians“ in his public announcements. You can thank us later for staying in and saving your country’s ass, dude.
I have been living in 4 European countries and have travelled almost 40 of them. I have ties all over the continent and I believe that half of the success of the European Union is due to me sending friends stupid Taylor Swift memes via messenger. But these days, where all travelling has been cancelled, we talk much more on the phone.
It is bellissima to talk to my cousin in Modena during the crisis, they are much more aware of the situation, and I feel sorry about what Italy has to go through. Even in London, where I studied for three years, it seems that my friends fnally know what’s up. It’s not easy for them, it is not for any of us. It just turns out that in the European countries with clear measurements and a straightforward communication, people seem to be more accepting. Image what would have been possible, if we would have had a Pan-European Corona strategy. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we?
I haven’t been thinking of going back to Germany during these times. Not one second. My uni is closed, my creative work has pretty much died down. I could write from everywhere, but Germany is not where I want to be right now. Because in Germany, we have a thing that is called „Ländersache“ – and no, I don’t think that’s beautiful. It means that every region can decide for themselves how they deal with the situation. And hell, do they like to take advantage of that. So if I talk to my friends in Lower Saxony they might be
seeing their grandparents still, which is different when I talk to folks in Munich where Söder has just cancelled the Oktoberfest. So much for the German Unity.
I am a great believer in the Schengen Agreement and have been traveling the continent for many years. It doesn’t look too good for this summer, just like the Corona policy of the European Union itself. So many voters have been let down and there will be a time and space to talk about that, too.
But for now I am happy to stay in Vienna this summer, even if I have to spend it on a couch. Once this is all over, we EMYs still need to fight for the right to vote on a national level. So you will see me on the Viennese streets soon enough. But don’t count on me saying Grüß Gott anytime soon.