< SWITCH ME >
|Written by Katharina v. Tschurtschenthaler|
When Berit opens her kitchen window she has a wonderful view over the harbour. Not over the harbour of Kiel, the northern German city, where her parents live - her new harbour is now more than 2000 kilometres further north, in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. The 26-year old does research for her Ph.D. there, she is going to write about Icelandic culture. The other reason why she chose Reykjavik is 29 years old, blond, a mobile game developer and called Ernir Erlingsson.
When they met during Berits Erasmus year in Stockholm back in 2006, a part of her was mentally already back in Germany: they met two and a half weeks before Berit had to leave Sweden to go back to her university town Munich. They fell for each other in the very first moment and spent the whole night and following day walking through snowy Stockholm. But it was only when they were physically apart that they got to know each other well: while Berit was in Mexico for eight weeks, they were writing long e-mails every day. "Not just about what we did - we really exchanged thoughts", Berit remembers.
What followed then was not a usual long distance weekend relationship, but as Berit calls it "almost daily routine": they spent one month in Munich, then one month in Stockholm and then time in Munich again - or travelling to San Francisco or Reykjavik, where Ernirs family still lives and which is now also Berits city. She likes living there: "just the social control sometimes is a bit exhausting. Going through town without meeting someone is almost impossible," says Berit. Which is obvious: She gets to know more and more people in Reykjavik on her own, which is very important to her. "I have my own interests in the country: for its history, its art. In some topics I have deeper insights than Ernir. And I want to have my own people."
Within the four months Berits new homeland changed a lot: the country's bankruptcy made many young people leave the island and feeling insecure about their future. The financial crisis made also Ernir lose faith in politics. Although he usually lives the Icelandic motto: "Petta reddast" which means, everything will be alright. Still: his optimism did not fade away completely. The perfect combination, says Berit. "His positive attitude towards life is good for me, and sometimes Ernir needs my sense of reality to bring him down to earth."
And now, being back in Germany she feels that she is not ready yet to say goodbye to her home country for good: "Neither Ernir or I have really decided for one culture or the other." They still live a bit within their two worlds. That's why maybe in a couple of years they might move to Copenhagen. "So we can meet in the middle". In the middle between their two lifes in Munich and Reykjavik. Learning Danish would definitely not be the problem: it would be the fifth language they share after Swedish, German, English and Icelandic.