I have to admit: I like America. This is rather unusual for people of my political opinion in Germany. Since I travelled to the US for the first time as a 13-year-old girl I have been fascinated by this beautiful country – and every following visit has increased my enthusiasm. It’s the breathtaking landscapes: Grand Canyon, the Rockies, Great Lakes, the deserts but also vibrant cities such as San Francisco or especially New York.
As I have only been there for holidays, the American people are still somewhat of a mystery for me as a German. They definitely seem to “be wired differently”, which is completely understandable as we have made quite different experiences in our past. This has become obvious once again during the last week when the news about Osama Bin Laden’s death spread around the world. While Americans cheered and celebrated, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel was heavily criticized for using the word “joy” in this context. Well, I don’t want to go into this matter any deeper for the moment…
The song “Hollywood Hills” (song lyrics can be read here) by the Finnish rock band Sunrise Avenue is very popular in Germany at the moment. It deals with memories of a good time in the Californian city of Los Angeles. Not that I think that this is one of the most beautiful places in the US – but of course it is famous for its music and film industry and all the hype around its stars and celebrities. It seems to be a place full of sun, fun, love: “Now this is not the time or the place for a broken-hearted, ’cause this is the end of the rainbow where no one can be too sad…Thank you for the morning walks on the sweet Sunset and for the hot night moments, for the fantasy in my bed”.
What I can definitely understand is missing a place, dreaming of it, hoping to come back one day: „Bye bye, Hollywood Hills, I’m gonna miss you, where ever I go, I’m gonna come back to walk these streets again. Bye bye, Hollywood Hills forever.”
Sunrise Avenue seem to have enjoyed their stay, but Europe, their home country, is calling them back: „No I don’t wanna leave but I must keep moving ahead ’cause my life belongs to the other side behind the great ocean’s waves.” There might even be a love story involved but life has taught them: „Long distance love doesn’t work … No I don’t wanna go, I don’t wanna go.”
Anyway, they have to leave – but: “I take part of you with me now and you won’t get it back and a part of me will stay here, you can keep it forever, dear.”
Having lived for 7 years abroad in Australia, I know what this feels like: you leave something behind, you take something with you, you lose a bit of yourself and you change as a person.
Now what is it with America and the American Dream? As I said: for me it’s the natural beauty, the open spaces, the many possibilities – and this includes some colorful, crazy variety, the extremes that fascinate and challenge me. Yes, I guess I could say: America is one of my dream countries.
Which one is yours?