Where I am from
I was born in the 1970s in a very left-leaning family that lived in the rural part of The Netherlands, close to the border with Germany. As a result, we did not have access to cable television and relied on our aerial for TV reception.
My German influences
Half of my family originates in some shape or form from Germany, so it was only natural to spend a lot of time watching German TV, listening to German radio stations and making frequent shopping trips to German super-stores where you could buy anything between sugar and lawn-mowers.
Environmentalism and hospitality
I was made aware of environmental issues at a young age even before it reached mainstream consciousness in my own country. I started to buy my school supplies in Germany because they were made of recycled paper. I loved anything that had to do with nature and animals.
I also inherited the love for cooking and baking from the German side of the family. Whenever we visited relatives, we were treated with home made pastries and dinners cooked from scratch.
I took all of this for granted when I moved to the city for my college education. I considered myself to be Dutch until this point. Living in an all-girls Dutch dorm made it painfully clear that I wasn’t as Dutch as I thought I was. I spoke Dutch, but that was about it. I made friends with German international students to feel more at home in the city. As a result, I started to identify as German as a means of expectation management.
During my time at the university I shifted towards Centrist views on politics and I converted to Christianity. In university we were taught to accept the model that fits the data best, and for me that way of thinking ultimately led me to reluctantly enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. I am glad I made the decision. I haven’t regretted it for one moment.
Since stewardship is a big thing in Christianity in general and Roman Catholicism in particular, it also was an experience where everything came full circle. All the pieces of life’s puzzle suddenly fit together.
I hope that what I write is useful for others so that together, we can leave the world better than how we found it when we were born.