Where Would You Like to Be Buried?

How to identify heimat?

For people like me, who live between worlds, it is sometimes difficult. But just the other day I heard what has to be the most interesting way of identifying heimat ever. A typical way s to ask yourself the question: If you watch a soccer game between Germany and America, which side do you root for? Another way is: If America goes to war with Germany, which side would you fight on?

It was at the birthday Umtrunk of my friend Designer Boy (Germans have the charming tradition of "drinking into their birthday," which means you gather the night before and drink champagne together and sing Happy Birthday at midnight) where I spoke with a friend of his, a Chinese-German woman whose name I didn't catch.

We talked about Heimat. She was ton between tree worlds: Germany, were she grew up and where she is a citizen; China, where she has family and roots; and America or, more specifically, New York, where she lived for a time and fell in love with it *despite some rather harrowing adventures with huge rats).

When she thinks of Heimat, she said, she tries to imagine where she would most like to be buried. She has given it enough thought to be able to characterize the three potential burial grounds:

Germany, would be cold and lonely.

China would be peaceful and meditative.

New York would be fun.

She didn't say which she preferred.


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