I was four and a half years old when my parents decided that they have had their fair share of communism. They packed their belongings and their two kids and moved from Romania to Germany. As a child I did not really get what was going on but also I didn't care. My family was there and that was all I needed to know. I learned German easily, my grades at school were always good and the kids in the neighborhood turned into friends. But the best remained summer vacation in Romania at grandpa's and grandma's home. That's where I felt I belong. I only stayed in Germany. When I grew up I started dreaming about moving back to Romania, be it only for a few years. Transylvania felt like my real homeland, in Germany I had always remained an immigrant. But this summer everything changed.
|Bilder: Designwiesel, Parcul Mare in Cluj-Napoca, Romania|
Wir hatten den Urlaub seit einem Jahr geplant. Meine beiden Brüder kamen mit. Über Airbnb hatte ich eine kleine Wohnung mitten in Cluj-Napoca, meiner Heimatstadt gefunden. Es war aufregend. Schließlich war Nate noch nie in Cluj gewesen. Es gab so viel, das ich im zeigen wollte, so viele alte Freunde, die ich ihm vorstellen wollte. Überall wurden wir von ganzem Herzen empfangen, es war wundervoll. Doch das Heimatgefühl blieb fern. Ich fühlte mich fremd in meiner eigenen Stadt. Ich lief durch die Straßen, die ich so gut kannte und war einfach eine Ausländerin wie jede andere. Melancholie machte sich breit. Ich hatte meine Heimat verloren.
We had planned this trip for a year. My two brothers came with us. Through Airbnb I had found a small apartment in the middle of Cluj-Napoca, my hometown. It was exciting. Nate had never been to Cluj before. There was so much to show him, so many old friends to introduce him to. Wherever we went people welcomed us with love, it was wonderful. But somehow I did not feel at home anymore. I felt like a stranger in my own hometown. Wandering through the streets I knew so well I felt like a foreigner like any other. Melancholia started to take over. I had lost my homeland.
|Bilder: Nate Hershey, Outside the village where my aunt lives with her son, his wive and Nero|
As a girl I had asked my mother about her homeland. "My home is where my family is", she had replied and I just couldn't understand her. "Family is not a place!" I had complained. Fifteen years later I must admit that for me too, home is not a place. Home is where Nate is. Mum was right once again.