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Integration: Of course, this Balkan temperament


I was born in former Yugoslavia, but you could always think of me as a German. Until I suddenly fell out of the role. Was my integration a mistake?

Maybe I'm a German. I live here longer than I've ever lived in another country (it was a mistake, actually I wanted to go to Austria). I have a German passport (to get it I had to give up my Bosnian citizenship and to be able to give up I had to bribe a number of people in Sarajevo). I even have a German Abitur (I did it in Prague, at a German school because I refused to learn Czech). I speak German perfectly (well, I only learned the word "chop" last week and the word "gully" the week before, but beyond that my vocabulary is really impressive). I sound like a German (there is only the small problem with the rolling R, but most are satisfied with it if I say I lived in Bavaria for a while). I have almost exclusively German friends (they are actually all very punctual). I earn my money by reading and editing German texts (and no, that doesn't mean that I have perfect command of German rules, but luckily my employers haven't noticed that yet). I look like a German (I'm not blonde, but I'm very white). And on Sundays, of course, I look at the scene of the crime like every ordinary German, even though I make every effort to never do it again.

I was born and grew up in the former Yugoslavia, but I could be a German. I am perfectly integrated. I have never been discriminated against (at most once or twice, but that's long since yesterday's news). I am so well integrated that people are surprised when they are suddenly reminded that I do not know the songs ( cheek, cheek cake , hoppe, hoppe, rider ) or the programs ( dandelion , the program with the mouse ) of their childhood , That I didn't play the same games as she (piggy in the middle, dodgeball), didn't go on vacation as she (in Italy, Denmark or Sweden), didn't eat the same as she (sauerkraut and roast pork) and didn't laugh at the same jokes as she did.

Because they think I am German, people are cheerfully pulling ahead of me over the others, the bad foreigners who have not integrated as well as I have. They always squat together with their peers and populate entire districts. Those who refuse to forget their mother tongue, as I did, and at most speak broken German. Who make no effort to look German in their fake branded goods. Who only eat their lamb and their sugared pastries instead of trying at least one pretzel. Who would immediately start snoring if they tried to look at the crime scene .

But some time ago the worm crept in on me. I started falling off the roll. Even though I had painstakingly trained myself to always be on time, I was always late. I walked over red lights and sometimes even drove black. Then there was the thing with the proverbs. I had memorized them all years ago because I had read that they reflect the soul of a people, but now I kept confusing them. At the latest when I heard myself say that you knew where the rabbit was hanging, I knew that something was going wrong. There were also the swear words. In discussions it happened that I became loud and freaky. People shook their heads and looked concerned. It was the Balkan temperament that went through with me, they said. I have a female midlife crisis, coupled with a migrant identity crisis, and I should relax, they said, that would be fine.

But it didn't work out. But on the contrary. It got worse. Because of the delay, my stress levels increased enormously. Because I walked red lights so often, I had to pay heavy fines (I was even taken to the police station once, but that's another story), and because I used so many dirty words, nobody wanted to hang out with me anymore, so I avoided saying where I only could (only my favorite saying, the one with the cupboard and the cups, I still used every now and then). I was horrified to find that my German was declining day by day.

In the meantime hardly a day passed without me eating Ćevapčići with raw onions. I tried googling the best Burek recipe and made a pitiful attempt to make the dough myself. I had my father tell me the latest Bosnian jokes and, if necessary, explain them. Instead of watching the crime scene , I streamed the popular Bosnian comedy series called Lud, zbunjen, normalan , which is about Izet, Faruk and Damir Fazlinović - grandfather, father and son who live together in a three-room apartment in Sarajevo and in each episode clashed in a funny way. And then it happened.

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One evening, I was nibbling a pumpkin seed and watched as Izet, the grandfather who drives everyone crazy with his control addiction and abuse, the young Damiran scream (Izet just couldn't understand why Damir never smoked, drank and never towed women) but always with his books at home), a surprising thought occurred to me. If Izet and Damir, even though they were related and both came from Bosnia, could be so different (Damir seemed very German to me, but Izet very Bosnian), there may have been no right and wrong Germans or Bosnians at all. Maybe I was wrong with all my integrating?

I called my parents. I asked them to tell me immediately if they had noticed anything about me recently. My mother screamed something in the background, while my father said with a beam of joy: "Of course we noticed something. At last you understand fun! I thought I wouldn't experience it anymore. Now you just have to get used to being late." I hung up thoughtfully. So it was what I feared. I was neither German nor Bosnian. I was just me. Whatever this could mean.

Source: zeit

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