Remembering home through childhood hero

Will Hebert

Editor's commentary

Susann Robbins

News Editor

Recently, I walked through the hallway of the Fine Arts Building and was struck by lightning; well, at least that's what it felt like.

At a poster from the University of Wyoming about an upcoming speech by Mikhail Gorbachev, I lost my breath temporarily and started skipping down the hall, constantly repeating: "I can't believe it! I can't believe it, and I can't believe it!"

Yes, it is needless to say I was somewhat star-struck, I mean this is Mikhail Gorbachev, the man whom I grew up watching on TV, and all lovingly called "Gorbi."

Remembering East Germany

By the way, I was born and raised in old East Germany. My grandparents were German and Russian, and I got some African from my father. Long story short, to me this man—Mikhail Gorbachev—is a hero. I dreamed of growing up to be as influential and important as him. I dreamed of meeting him and shaking his hand. So off I went to the Wingspan office, jumping up and down, asking our adviser Rosalind Schliske (Roz) whom she knew at UW and how I could get in.

"I would sell a kidney to meet Mikhail Gorbachev," exploded out of my mouth. Yes, others would sell their firstborn. Considering I have only one child that didn't seem like a good idea. I mean let's be honest; someone has got to take care of me when I get old.

So, yes, selling the firstborn child is not a good idea, but I have two kidneys. As I expected, some of the staff members had no clue who Mikhail Gorbachev was, which had me kind of perplexed.

History unremembered

The man changed history in Europe; did the news not travel over to the States? Gorbachev was the president of the Soviet Union, was the main driving force for ending the Cold War and reunited East and West Germany. I am sorry, but what in the world are you kids learning in history? I thought it was rather strange when my friends told me they actually have been asked if the Berlin Wall was still up while they were here doing a year of high school. Having now lived here five years, this is not so unbelievable anymore. Once again, I am sorry to say this, but what the heck? The USA is one of the youngest countries in the world, and it seems not to be interested much in world history even though it is a country of immigrants. Someone told me once, "In order to know where you are going, you have to know where you are coming from!"

So how can this country know where it is going without knowing where its people are coming from or without staying informed about what is going on in the world? Maybe I am just sort of prejudice when it comes to history, but shouldn't it be important? Why do I keep getting the feeling some people, mostly stateside, just don't care what is going on in the world around them? Or maybe, I am still in some state of culture shock and just haven't gotten over it yet. Much is different here compared to my "old country." For example, Americans don't have to be afraid to say they are proud to be American.

Now for us Germans, on the other hand, stating we are proud to be Germans is still frowned upon. Some people even go so far as to call us all Nazis.

Well, I am sorry, but that is stupid and ignorant at the same time. This is neither right nor fair to all the generations who have come since World War II. We have learned from history and our mistakes, but did you?

Editor yearns for home country

Often I miss Germany dearly and, of course, my friends and the little family I have left. I miss strolling around downtown and actually going to a café. It is a different culture. What can I say? I miss all the fairs and street fests.

I miss four seasons. I mean, all in due time rather than in one day or week. Most likely, I will never become used to the wind here either.

I miss what I call "real" bread, "real" cheese, "real" food and, of course, "real" beer. I never knew there is a way to make cheese without actually putting milk into it or make it with cheese byproduct. What the hell is cheese byproduct, anyway?

Why do I have to pay extra for meat that hasn't been raised on hormones? I used to go down the street to the butcher shop and buy my meat fresh at least once a week. I know I may sound like a jerk, but do you even know what a butcher shop is?

I catch myself quite often telling a story or saying something to my friends and adding, "Oh, you probably don't even know what it is or who that is." I feel like a jerk for saying it, but, unfortunately, most of time I am right.