Vacation is over and I am back to Thailand from Europe with plenty of interesting impressions.
One, most pressing to me, was my impression from Germany, and specifically Berlin. I walked through literally half of the city and let me just say this: There is no refugee issue in Berlin. The city is not more or less international than in the past, with all the accompanying benefits and issues. Again, not more and not less than in the 18 years I spent there up until 2009. If you grew up in the city, then you hardly notice any difference.
Same goes for Hamburg, even though I lived there only for a couple of months.
Second thing, Poland is catching up and becoming a great place to be. I visited 2 cities: Wroclaw and Krakow. Both were extremely impressive and way beyond what I remember from my childhood. Well, to complete the picture: It was 2 cities and 1 village. And all of them looked great.
Only one strange thing: People in Poland are still not very familiar with foreigners. There was a funny incident when my family and I went to a children’s playground in Krakow. At some point, 2 kids came up to my wife just staring at her. My wife (she is Thai) asked them in English if there is anything she can help them with, but they were just giggling and ran away when their parents called them. The parents apologized and just mentioned that they never saw an Asian at the playground… You see Asians in Poland as tourists, but not many actually living there and visiting a park or a playground for children. My wife felt slightly uncomfortable at times, but not too often and overall we had a great stay there.
I am traveling for studies and work since 2007. Every year or two, I change the city, the country, and sometimes the continent. The notion that despite the internet, TV and the ever-increasing migration trends worldwide, people would still feel surprised to see someone from another country… it kind of really hit me. We all have still a long way to go…
Well… things do get better.