The other day, we were looking in a photo gallery/shop when I came across the photo above. It is of Meoto Iwa in Mie, where I used to live in Japan. Known as the “wedded rocks”, this popular destination was a short moped ride for me and I’d often go there to walk by the sea and collect my thoughts. In the summer I’d dip my feet in the water as it was the nearest beach to me.
I saw it and wanted to cry. I’ve not missed Japan in a long time, but just this sudden scene of a familiar place made me feel lost where I am right now.
On the whole, I love life here in Frankfurt. It is an awesome city to live in, I have loads of lovely friends and now with added boyfriend, things are going well.
But, of course, there are always hiccups.
Last week, I took over @WeAreFFM twitter feed, which has a different curator every week and posts lots of cool stuff about Frankfurt. It’s listed as an English and German feed so when I replied asking when the English was going to happen, they asked me to take it over for a week.
I was really excited. I spent a week beforehand planning out a different theme for each day and finding things to talk about. It started on the Sunday and I tweeted a few times while I was out and about, but it didn’t take long before negative comments started rolling in. “Why are you tweeting in English?” came first. Then, when I listed 4 or 5 different blogs about Frankfurt, I was accused by a few people of being spammy. I felt the need to stand up for myself and replied to each negative comment, but of course, this never works with “haters”.
Throughout the whole week, I’d say 2/3 of people were perfectly nice. However, many Frankfurt locals were just downright rude and wouldn’t accept that I was doing things a little differently to how they wanted it.
It got me thinking into whether this is actually a reflection on life in general – there are really separated groups here; the locals, the bankers, the teachers/au pairs, and the stragglers like myself, who work for a company here but don’t fit into the banking world. There are times when these groups mix – for example, at events such as Cafe Crawl, or by joining a language exchange group (known here as “round table” events).
But if you are a person who wants to break the mould and get out there then I think it’s pretty hard. Frankfurt is a place where few call home but many live, more of an international city than a German city and has an amazing mix of people from all over the world. And yet, we just stick to what we know here and socialise (if, at all) only with the people we see right in front of us, for the most part.
Though it comes with the job of being on a popular Twitter feed that there are going to be negative people. But I really thought that it would be a nice way to break out of the bubble and get under the skin of local culture. And I’m quite upset that Frankfurt wasn’t more welcoming towards me in return.
Nevertheless, I did make some great friends through the experience, and I have a hope to continue to speak with them and maybe spark up friendships for real there. I also have a few groups that invited me to join so maybe I can blog a little more about them at some point too. And at the end of the day, what doesn’t kill me only makes me stronger, right?!