der Sprachwerk Blog

American Jonathan says, ”I am not afraid anymore!"

Before making the move to Germany, I did the number one thing everyone should do before moving to a new area: I scouted all the nearby restaurants and pizza delivery services. After that, though, I took some time to research the crime statistics in the area I would be living in as well as the whole country. Considering I would not be able to bring any guns and my trusty pocket knife with me, nor would I be able to conveniently buy them in the supermarkets, I saw it fit to make sure that my pizzas would be delivered promptly and without being lost to thieving highwaymen.

I was very happy to see that the crime rate, in particular for violent crimes, was very low. Very, very low in comparison to the United States. It comforted me knowing I could rest easy and freely move about without the lingering thought that something horrible might happen. However, when I got here, and to an extent until this day, I had this lingering feeling that at any moment something could go wrong. Perhaps it is normal to always be alert and attentive to my surroundings, or maybe after living for years in a place where it has become normal to hear about mass shootings, I have become accustomed to expecting the worst. Fearing the worst may be a better way to phrase that. Even if you are fortunate enough to live in a safe neighborhood, many Americans base their lives and indeed our culture on fearing the worst and unlikely.

In Germany, that culture and mindset is not as prominent. It has taken a long time, but I have slowly begun to embrace this. All the focus and energy I put towards being afraid can be shifted towards something more positive and productive. While crime can happen anywhere, I don't feel in immediate danger all the time anymore. It was a silly thought to have anyway. Going for late walks, I am greeted by lone women and sometimes children on their way home from a friend's.

To think when I first got here I missed my pocket knife.

The knife many Americans carry in case we find ourselves in a situation where we want to show it off to our friends.

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