This year is a momentous one in the eyes of some people, because I am turning forty. I’m turning forty in a new country, and all of my oldest and closest friends live in other ones. But I am not despairing, and I am not ignoring this runden Geburtstag. (A runder Geburtstag is one that ends in a zero.) If I were still in Germany, I would most definitely be having a party. So, we’ll be having one here in Ireland as well, and as expected, many of my German friends have already said they are coming. What a perfect excuse to go on vacation! With 30 days of holidays at their disposal and a booming economy, my German friends can afford to come over to the Emerald Isle.
Ah, but what are friends? Americans seem to call everyone their friends. Facebook has turned even the most distance of acquaintances, from someone you met on the bus yesterday to someone you knew in preschool, into “friends.” One of the first things I discovered when I moved to Germany to be with my future husband, having already lived there for seven years in the previous decade, was the meaning of friends in a German context. Many of his friends have been with him since childhood. Part of that is because people used to grow up in a house and stay in the area. This may not apply as much nowadays, what with Fernbeziehungen and the global economy, but it was still true for my husband, until I dragged him off to Ireland. READ MORE »