A Christmas Wish List to the Chancellor of Germany from Ingo Fuchs, 9

Weihnachtliche Wachsfigur von Angela Merkel in Berlin

Translated from the original

Dear Chancellor Merkel,

I know Saint Nicholas and Santa aren’t real, so Poppa said I should ask you to help. Here’s my wish list for Christmas.

Recently, my school class began a project to learn about government. It is boring for many. But not me – I like it. My Poppa talks about politics often at dinner. My mommy does too. My older sister just rolls her eyes, but I listen to what they say.

Poppa says that governments should do for the people what they cannot do for themselves. This sounds very good. Since we cannot afford a Porsche, and my Poppa wants one, can you get him a Porsche for Christmas?

You are the only leader of Germany I have ever known, though we did learn about some man from Austria who did many bad things. He had a funny moustache and I can see him on the TV every weekend when my Poppa watches it. My Poppa watches because he is fascinated that so many smart people followed the man with the funny moustache. I think the name of the Austrian man was Rudolph Hitler.

My Poppa says that you can become one of the greatest chancellors in the history of Germany. I would like that very much. But Poppa says you have much work to do. I may not recall everything he’s said but I will try and remember.

Young mother sitting at desk using phone while son sits on lap, holding sword

Firstly, our internet is too slow for Poppa to work at home comfortably without stress. He works at home so Mommy can continue her career. It is very difficult for Mommy to work and have children. She says some people call her a ‘Rabenmutter’. I don’t know what that is exactly but she doesn’t like it and she says English swear words to the people who say it to her. Can you fix the internet and make it easier for women to have children and careers? We don’t have enough children from Germany anymore. Can you make it easier on women and give them more incentive to have children? Maybe more people could work from home like my Poppa.

My Mommy works for a transport company. She says it now takes two hours for some trucks to drive 30 km because the bridges don’t support heavy weight. Can you fix that?

Merkel besucht Integrationsprojekte in Hamburg

Secondly, my Poppa says that too many people are afraid of immigrants. He says that we need immigrants, so we can become stronger like America. Poppa says that many immigrants who come here have a university diploma (he says that’s good), and are able to bring many skills to Germany. This sounds like it might help Germany. Poppa says that many people who come to this nice country don’t feel welcome enough. Can you help them feel more welcome?

Poppa also says that the European Union (EU) is good. I don’t know what a union is exactly, except I know you’re in a Christian Democrat Union, and Mommy’s favorite politician ever, Franz Josef Strauss, was also in a union. So unions must be good.

Poppa also says that for the EU to work properly, Germany has to take a more leading role. Germany should take the lead in policy, in military, in economics. If the rest of Europe doesn’t like it they should do more. But Poppa says since we have the strongest economy and the most money, we get to drive the car. 

Father and son on a wind farm

Thirdly, we need to continue to help the animals and the planet by being green. Mommy says it may cost more money ‘upfront’, but the long-term benefits of using renewable energies are big. Mommy also says the less gas we must buy from Russia the better. She says we should also continue to try and influence other eastern European countries to join our union.

Finally, Poppa says generally we Germans need to be more assertive, and not so risk adverse. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but Poppa says it often. Can you be more assertive? Our history is just that. We can expect to be included in all the important decisions of the world. Decisions not only in Europe, but in Asia and Africa too. We should show the world how we Germans can do things. But it will mean that we must do some things in the world that cost us money and maybe even some soldiers’ lives. I hate war, but Poppa and Mommy say sometimes it is necessary. Can you help?

I know that this is a long list of things that I would like you to do. If you can’t do them all, can you at least try to start them so that maybe the person who becomes chancellor after you can continue them? That would be great.

I also want to say that Poppa told Mommy that he had never been prouder to be a German than he was right now. He said it had to do with 25 years of East Germany and West Germany being reunified and all of the things that Germany did correctly, but the list is too long and you are very busy. Mommy said Poppa was proud to be German because Germany won the World Championship in Brazil. Mommy is usually right more than Poppa.

I wish you a very happy new year.

Yours sincerely,

Ingo Fuchs, 9

Tiefenbach, Upper Palatinate, Lower Bavaria, Germany

Advertisements

Man CAN Live on Bread Alone. In Bavaria.

Bavarian AlpsThere are many things about Bavarian culture that I have embraced. A close connection to the land, hearty food in winter, and an affinity to art and history are but a few. Another thing that fits nicely into my world view is the absolute worshiping of the sun in Bavaria. I was born in San Diego, after all, and did most of my growing up in Florida. Yes, the sun is alright by me.

Now, compared to those two places my general impression of Germany’s weather is it’s gray. It does have countless shades of gray, however. So when the sun makes her infrequent appearance (for some odd reason the sun is feminine in the German language) in Munich, the older Bavarians sit bundled on every available park bench, heads tilted towards the light with slight smiles on their faces. Conversation is limited. They remind me of  jay-hawks sitting on the telephone lines along I-35, on the seemingly endless open prairies of Kansas.

Bavaria is the traditional mixed with the technically advanced; I have no qualms with either. Though ‘laptops and lederhosen’ was first mentioned years earlier, this idea of old and new became the campaign slogan of the former president of Bavaria, Dr. Edmund Stoiber, when he was running for the chancellor of Germany many years ago. “Laptops and Lederhosen”. Yes, that sums up Bavaria succinctly, and makes a great name for a blog.

With the exception of France, Bavaria may quite possibly have some of the most beautiful, diverse landscape in Europe, and therefore the world. From rolling grasslands dotted with many lakes left from the last great Ice Age, these give way to hills and primordial forests that are topped with rocky crags of the Alps. Bavaria has it all.

Bavarians love flowers, nature, and anything outdoors.

Bavarians love flowers, nature, and anything outdoors. It is a bit untidy, no?

Bavarians keep their farms postcard picture pretty. Only the Swiss can call the Bavarians untidy, and they never fail to do so when the opportunity arises.

The infrastructure in Bavaria is excellent, with regular trains supplemented by buses that reach the most difficult corners of this state.

The water in Munich is rated the best city water in Europe (a distinction it shares with Vienna).

These things and more I miss whenever I go away from here for any period of time. But they pale in comparison when it comes to the thing that I yearn for the most upon my return home to Munich-freshly baked Bavarian bread. That’s right, freshly baked whole grain hurts your teeth to chew-brown bread. Bread that you better hold on tightly to as you saw through it with your knife, and watch your fingers!

Bread abounds!

Bread abounds! Most bakeries have between 20 and 30 varieties.

I faintly remember some kind of bread on the table when growing up, a kind of white sponge cake. Couldn’t spread butter on it without it coming apart in shreds  This was not my mom’s fault, in America there are few selections of bread at the local suburban grocery store. There’s just not enough demand for it, though things are slowly changing. You can find good breads in America, but they are usually in the bigger cities of the Northeast or Midwest. In Orlando, it’s easier to get great tortillas or flan than fresh baked crusty bread.

Pork fat, butter, ham, cheese, jam, honey, sunflower oil, gravy, or any other semi-liquidity spread is more than sufficient to ingest this Bavarian bread, anything basically, to keep the crumbs from falling. In fact, I’ve even seen some people eat it plain.

Bavarian bread with pork fat!

Bavarian bread with pork fat!

The best time of the year for me to enjoy this bread is  in October and November, on Sunday mornings. The local bakery is open at 6:30, and since not nearly as many people are out and about on Sundays, I like to take the long way around the neighborhood while the streets are still quiet. If there’s a slight drizzle, even better. The dream scenario is when there is just enough dampness in the air to feel it on your clothes but not your skin, and only empty, dark, quiet streets with few rumblings except the ones in your stomach.

On a final note, and this is very important, the Bavarians also think of beer as bread, only in liquid form. Fresh bread, pork fat, raw onion or radishes and cold beer. Yes, I like Bavaria. Yes, indeed.