Interviewer:   Laura Berkowitz

Interviewee:   Edward Lutz

Date of Interview:     April 26, 2005  



            It was December 24, 1995.  I was about eleven years old when my family left Germany, and came to the great nation of America.  The first thing I remember is holding my mother’s hand tightly as we boarding a huge plane.  I was scared to leave all my friends, but my parents told me that America is filled with nice kids that I could play with.  For some reason, I always pictured America as a country loaded with hot dogs, baseball, and movie stars.  I had never been there before, so I guess I did not know any better.

            My dad had been offered at really great job at Motorola, so he said he could not refuse the opportunity.  My dad is my role model.  He is not afraid to take risks and to leap for the stars.  My mom, on the other hand, was upset at first, because she loved living in Berlin.  Berlin is the capital of Germany, and we loved it there.  We had friends, family, and memories scattered all across Berlin, which made the thought of going somewhere foreign to us very scary.  I miss the streets of Berlin the most of all.  My mom use to say if you stood in one place all day, the entire city would walk by. 

            After a while, my mom reluctantly agreed to leave Germany.  The increase in my dad’s salary would definitely get me into a university without having to get any loans, which was enough incentive for my mom.  “Education is the ladder to the top,” she used to say. 

            Living in Phoenix, Arizona was hard on me at first.   I stepped of the plane, and thought, “This is it?“  It was hot, sticky, and the sun seemed to be a lot closer to us than in Berlin.  I remember thinking, “Where are the trees?”  All I saw were cactus and dirt.  To make matters worse, school was already half way into the year, so making friends proved to be difficult.  My accent made the other kids look at me like I was an alien or something.  I would go home after school and practice speaking English without an accent.  I was ashamed of it.  I just wanted to be like everyone else. 

            High school was a lot better because there was more diversity.  My teacher was actually Russian, and my best friend is Mexican.  With their help, I decided that it was okay to embrace my culture, accent and everything!  My best friend and I go to the same college, and now its like we fit in to the pool of immigrants.  I think its just harder when you are a kid because kids don’t understand enough about other countries.  America is their only world, they don’t see the rest of it.

            Nowadays, life is much easier for me.  I go to school like everyone else, I work at Safeway on the weekends, and I visit my parents all the time.  I remember one day I was in school, and a girl next to me asked what I was going to do over the weekend.  I responded, “Going home to see my parents.  I haven’t seen them all week.”  The look on her face was hilarious!  She looked at me like I was crazy.  She told me she rarely saw her parents, mostly just on the holidays.  I cannot understand how anyone could go that long.  My family is all I have, so I make sure to see them as much as possible.  That is one of the things I have noticed about America.  People are so busy with the little things, they forget the important ones.   

            I’ve only had one really bad experience since moving here.  I was eighteen years old, and I was walking home from school.  I remember a group of kids came up to me and started calling me a Nazi.  One of the guys was Jewish, and he hit me across the face.  I tried as hard as I could to hold back the tears.  They just assumed all Germans were Swastika wearing, black-hating, mini-Hitlers.  Truth be told, I am not prejudice at all!  It is sad how narrow-minded people can be.  Anyways, after that happened, I felt scared to talk in front of people.  I just started nodded or smiling when someone asked me something.  It was not until I went to college that I felt like I could speak freely again.  It took a while to get over, but I still remember it like it was yesterday.

            Overall, I love living here.  The United States is like a dream.  You can be whatever you want, you can do whatever you want!  The streets are filled with different races, different cultures, and I think that I what makes the country so great.  You take a little bit from everywhere, and you become stronger.  You learn to think outside the box, and to become more open to new things.  I do not think I would want to live anywhere else.  Visiting Berlin would be great, but in the end, this is my  home now.  I am American.