Renee ist 33 Jahre alt und lebt mit ihrem Mann und ihrem einjährigen Sohn in einer Kleinstadt in Minnesota, im Norden der Vereinigten Staaten. Mit ihrem Ehemann betreibt sie ein Fuhrunternehmen, wo sie die Büroarbeit übernimmt.
Aufgewachsen ist sie nicht weit von ihrem derzeitigen Wohnort entfernt, verbrachte aber auch einige Zeit in Kanada und Los Angeles.
Im Interview erzählt sie nicht nur von ihrem Alltag im ländlichen Minnesota, sondern spricht auch politische Themen an.
Tell us a bit about the city where you live. What is it like to live there? What makes it special?
I live in Pine City, Minnesota. I have only lived here for four years, so I am not an expert, but I can tell you a few things. We have a population of just over 3,000 people. With that size population, I know it is hard to believe, but Pine City is the largest town and is the county seat of Pine County, Minnesota. The town hosts two lakes, Cross Lake and Pokegama, which are connected by the Snake River. It’s beautiful here. We are surrounded by woods and farmland.
If you had lived somewhere else, too: What would you say are the main differences between these places?
I grew up just south of where I live now in another small town. I attended University in British Columbia, Canada and spent a year and a half in Los Angeles, California.
Both places were on the west coast of North America, so the landscapes are very different in both British Columbia, Canada and Los Angeles, California. Mountains and oceans are something that we don’t have in Minnesota. British Columbia, Canada in particular was very beautiful. They were also more populated than where I live now, so the pace and feel of those paces was more hurried, more crowded.
What do you like most about your country?
I think what I like most about the USA is our unfailing patriotism. Even when I don’t agree with politics, I’m still proud to be an American. I like the idea of so many different people coming here from many different counties with the hope of starting a new and improved life. So I think that’s what I like best about my country…how it’s a symbol of hope. Maybe it doesn’t mean that for everyone, especially in recent years, but I think that’s what it was intended to be.
And what are the things you don’t like about your country?
Some of our politics. How some of our own citizens live below the poverty line and there’s no attention placed on it in the media.
Would you like to live somewhere else? If yes, where? And why? If no, why not?
In my youth, I would have loved to try living in all kinds of different places and experience many different cultures. Now, I am content to dream about visiting, but I like living in the region where I grew up. I want to raise my children here and be near my family.
What should someone who visits your country do and see?
The United States is so vast, my recommendations about what to do and see if you are visiting would depend on which part you are visiting. There are parts that I have not even seen, so I wouldn’t be able to say exactly where to visit, but I can tell you where to visit if you are visiting Minnesota. Definitely come in the summer and take advantage of our lakes. If you can get your hands on a boat, visit Voyageur’s National Park. Go fishing or cruise around on one of the four lakes that the park has to offer and camp on an island. The calming serenity is something I crave and go back to find year after year. Also, spend as much time as you can on the north shore of Lake Superior. There are tons of tourist attractions, state parks, hiking trails, and the beauty of the lake itself to enjoy on your journey up to the border of Canada. If you like hiking, backpacking, and canoeing check out our BWCA (Boundary Water’s Canoe Area) for trip completely immersed in nature and devoid of all motorized vehicles. If it’s the hustle and bustle of the city you seek, Minneapolis and St. Paul (the Twin Cities) offer a plentiful mix of art, sports, shopping, and nature for everyone.
And what should they definitely not do?
Unless you love cross country skiing, ice fishing, or snowmobiling, or just love to be cold, do not come here in the winter.
What are your favourite meals of your traditional cuisine?
Again, it definitely depends on where in the USA you are visiting, but if you are coming to Minnesota, try a walleye fillet. If you don’t like fish…I don’t know…try a bacon cheeseburger from a mom and pop’s bar and grill. Chances are that you’ll like it.
And how about drinks? What drinks should we try when we visit your country?
I think probably every kind of drink we have here, is everywhere else. I like half lemonade, half ice tea. It’s called a half and half or Arnie Palmer.
How do you get around in your country? Do people use public transport or do you prefer not to? Why?
In this rural area, there is very little public transportation, so nearly everyone drives. It’s never been any different for me. I do hear about people who get to read or write on the train or subway to work and I think I would like that. J
What does your ordinary day look like? Do you think it’s a typical everyday’s life for people in your country?
An ordinary day is probably dominated by work. I know mine is! It would look a little like this: Get up between 5-6 am. Get ready and rush out the door because you have an hour commute and have to be to work around 7-8. Work all day with a half hour for lunch. Arrive home between 5-7 pm. Have dinner. Have an hour or two to get household chores done or relax. Maybe watch a little TV. In bed by 10-11 pm to do it all over again. If you have kids add in dropping them off at day care or school in the morning and picking them up at night and then rushing to ballet or baseball practice after work.
What’s the best season for visiting your country/region/state? Why?
Definitely visit in the summer. That way you can experience all of the outdoor activities that Minnesota has to offer. Spring is a good time too, but it can still be too cold for camping and swimming.
Tell us something about traditional activities, festivals or holidays in your area. Which do you enjoy most? How do you celebrate them?
The Fourth of July is our Independence Day. We always celebrate by getting together with family and friends and having a huge BBQ. We usually swim and fish during the day and watch fireworks and have a camp fire at night.
A lot of small towns around here also dedicate a weekend to celebrating their town. They will often have a parade, fireworks, and maybe a carnival or street dance to celebrate. Those are always fun too.
Where would you like to travel in your life? Why?
I would like to travel anywhere, but I’ve always had a strong desire to see Europe. I think it’s because my ancestors came to America from various parts of Europe. I’d like to see where they came from.
Most of my readers are from Germany and Austria. What comes to your mind when you think about these countries? Are there any stereotypes about Germans or Austrians in your country?
I don’t think there are many stereotypes for Germans and Austrians in our country. Many of our citizens have German or Austrian heritage. Many of our traditions are probably influenced by those cultures. Sadly, I think that that World War Two still looms in our minds when we think of Germany. But also Oktoberfest! Thank you Germany for Oktoberfest! J
What do you think: Which stereotypes exist about your country and its people? Are they correct – at least partly – or not?
I honestly don’t know. When I lived in Canada, I felt, rather than heard, that there was this idea that Americans are self-centered, spoiled, and arrogant. I think in a way this is true. We’re a fairly young country (although Canada is too) and like a teenager navigating adolescence, I think we’re bound to make some mistakes. Maybe even feel that we know best when we don’t. That’s sort of the arrogance of youth.
I do think that many Americans do care about other parts of the world, whether that means to help or to not interfere is different for different people. I don’t feel that the government’s policies always reflect the majority view.
If you could change one thing about the place where you live, what would it be?
The two party political system. There need to be some big changes in the U.S. government and it’s not going to happen with the two current parties that dominate the government. Every election feels like you have to vote for the lesser of two evils.
Die Idee hinter diesen Interviews:
Wir reden und schreiben so viel über die Länder dieser Welt und auch über die Menschen, die darin leben. Die Einblicke, die wir als Reisende in diese Länder bekommen, sind doch immer nur kurze neugierige Blicke von außen. Blicke durch ein Schlüsselloch quasi.
Statt über die Menschen zu schreiben, so dachte ich mir, sollten wir sie doch einfach einmal selbst fragen. Gerade in den heutigen Zeiten, in denen Menschen ferner Länder doch meist nur einen Klick entfernt sind, ja, wir mit ihnen sogar häufig in sozialen Netzwerken befreundet sind.
Deshalb starte ich diese neue kleine Serie, in der ich Facebook- und Brieffreunde, die ich in aller Herren Länder habe, einfach eine Reihe Fragen stelle und mich neugierig darauf einlasse, was sie dazu zu sagen haben. Auch dies wird ein Blick von außen durch das Schlüsselloch bleiben – aber vielleicht vergrößert sich das Schlüsselloch doch ein bisschen?
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