How does our world change by the desire for more internationality, through contact with other nationalities and by living in Russia? What impulse do we get? How does this impact the world of others? I asked Bea of Berlinograd and here you can read her exciting story! About the German world and the Russian world and how to combine the two 😉
“Life in Russia was great! Very different, very passionate!”
I always wanted to go to America. When I was 18, I was in New York as an Aupair girl. In New York I realized “oh so many people, many cultures, many languages” and began to be interested in that. I got to know quite a lot of people, started being excited about languages and learning english and New York is, of course, perfect for this because so many cultures live there. Very multicultural.
And then I went back to Trier and decided to do my Abitur because I have noticed that there is so much I want to know and so much I want to do.
When I found out that I was accepted in Trier at the Wirtschaftsgymnasium, I was just crying and did not want to stay in Trier. I wanted to get away but I still made my Abitur there.
And the ones I liked best in my class were either Russians or Arabians.
I was interested the most in Russians, I also found Arabians really exciting and I’ve already noticed that I have an urge to people with an immigrant background. Of course I get along well with Germans but Russians I thought were most interesting.
And then I’ve been thinking about studying either Arabic or Russian and I had a really great biology teacher who used to be an engineer in Saudi Arabia. He advised me not to study Arabic. It would be very difficult later to live in arabian countries as a woman from the West.
So I decided to study Russian and moved to Mainz. There I have studied Russian Studies, European History and American Studies.
During my studies I went to Russia. I was there for one and a half years. During my studies I was twice half a year in St. Petersburg and got an internship at the German Embassy in Moscow.
Life in Russia was great! Very different, very passionate. Excitingly different. The Russians, with whom I hung out with, were very ordinary Russians, I would say working class. I was friends with academics, too. So I was within two circles of friends. But I always liked it that they made a lot out of little.
I’ve found Russians to be always very creative. I’ve always said Germans have to have a washing machine for washing, a dishwasher for dishes, in Germany there is something for everything. Even a potato peeler to peel potatoes. In Germany there is not much demand of creativity. Germans always need a cafe, a restaurant or a club when they go out at night. And Russians are buying cans of beer and sit on the beach. Or go for a walk. They are much more creative in their evening program. You do not always need an institution to do something.
Russians are somehow free, while Germans are rather inflexible. I’ve always appreciated Russians. It was always nice, funny, and passionate.
If I had to describe the difference in detail, I would say that Germans know a little square. German always go to the limits, the lines of the square. Russians have a smaller square but they always shoot out of it. Russians are often first a bit rude but they are totally honest and mean it very seriously. Much like the people from Berlin.
They called me lovingly “Beatschka” or “Bejika” – the diminutive of my name “Bea”.
Everyone included me in Russia! They have accepted me as their German. I was always with them and it did not matter that I was German. For example, I have lived in St. Petersburg at a Jewish grandmother’s place and with a young, jewish medical student. I was a German, a young girl in the middle of everything and part of the family. That was really nice. Even my friends who were in St. Petersburg, who don’t have much money, they accepted me just as if I were one of them.
Although I find that German also are very warm, very open, but it always takes a little bit until you are included in the middle.
For Russians, it also takes a little while but the Icebreaker is, of course, vodka and to get to know each other you go out in the evening and then you will be included very quickly into the inner circle. And then it does not matter whether you have money or if you are from Germany. I liked it very much.
Of course, it is hard when you can’t speak Russian. I found life in Moscow hard. So I actually went to St. Petersburg every other weekend because the Muscovites are very rude. The Muscovites don’t have much understanding if you don’t speak Russian fast. They are very rough and very rude. Moscow is also very expensive. That was very hard for me.
The Russians there have a saying “smile is a sign of mental illness, of stupidity”. So when you smile a lot, they say you are dumb. And such a positive person like me, was partly treated as if I were stupid. This was different in St. Petersburg. The know how to deal with positive people.