In the city of Johannes Gutenberg (German inventor) Mainz, the taste of living is something different than living in the rural realm. The city contains a prominent diverse community with tangible and modern urbanization mixed up with ancient architecture and monuments. But in the rural realm, I had a new experience embodied in the village called Reinsfeld, where I had lived previously for nine months; this village is in the same federal state Rhineland Palatinate as Mainz. The reason for moving to this village after finishing my second postgraduate at the University of Freiburg was to take up a new position with an organization to serve at a refugee camp in the adjacent area, where the way to my office was not far away.
At first, I would briefly link the still emerging first-hand experience in Mainz to the prior experiences in Germany, which makes it purposefully understandable. Being from a Middle Eastern country, where social ties are potent, sociability is always a central concern, and I look for it wherever I leave footholds. Therefore, making friendships from diverse backgrounds and cultural exchange is one of my interests. As previously noted, the social ties are coherent and symbiotic in the society of origin, reflecting an ingrained environment that pushes me to look for its applicability in the new host society. Conversely, it often goes without avail given to the different social norms. As an illustration, I used to surround myself with warm social relationships in my homeland. Still, they aren't always available or barely exist in the host society, where most such relationships are confined to professional circles. Then at the end of the business day, each of them goes to the private sphere and locks up the door behind, leaving a slight chance for social integration. Thus, plunging into a conflict between the original and unique values and the social templates is a natural outcome.
|Sunset view of the Rhine River, Mainz/ Private|
It felt like the situation, people know each other, and their faces are familiar. Moreover, social bonds coherently reflect a harmonious atmosphere, in which people not only know each other but also transcend to the degree that their personal stories are easy to deliberate among each other due to the rapprochement. I guess this massively describes the rural social landscape. In this thread, I adorably encountered older people who usually approached me in public to have a conversation though there weren't any previous friendships. That made me wonder over the past years of my life in Germany; no young person has ever approached me in public places, on buses, or on trains to have a personal conversation with me; only older people did that. It's presumably the outcome of loneliness; such people are already retired, many might live alone without a partner, or their children live far away. Thus, they have an urgent need to talk to people to alleviate the sense of social boredom. I find this nice, and at least I get to know people in the host society. That reminds me of my life in the village where I spent my childhood in Palestine, even though the native and new German societies are entirely different. But, as previously mentioned, I assert the fact regarding differentiations like the social relationships in the village and the city, seemingly an existing phenomenon in all communities around the globe.
The time came to leave the village after I found a new position in the city of Mainz. Moving out was hectic! Especially in Mainz, where finding a flat was a painstaking step due to the shortage of available apartments, an obstacle mainly caused by the enormous consecutive influxes of refugees and migrants into Germany over the past decades. After a couple of weeks, good luck hovered over the scene when I found a flat beside the Rhine River in a pretty charming area. The affinities are easily reachable, and utilities are everywhere as well. The city is pretty diverse, multicultural, and multi-ethnic. I could run into people who seem to belong to different ethnic backgrounds everywhere daily. I could hear different spoken languages, including my native "Arabic." The Muslim community is noticeable as those who belong to other congregations. Thereupon, the manifestations explain this diversity; the hustling bustling city is swept by convenience stores owned by people from different nationalities, each of which shows their original cultural way of promoting and selling, even producing things. Restaurants, e.g., in many corners of the city, the Arabic, Turkish, Thai, Chinese, Indian restaurants, and other Latin American stores show their culinary recipes, cuisines, etc. It even grants the beauty of diverse food to the archeologically beautiful city.
|Gutenberg's memorial statue, Mainz/ Private|
Carrying on with my first-hand experience in the charming Mainz, the historical monuments and the terrains on the surrounding outskirts present a history clarified in depth. The old city is embellished with ancient archaeological pieces, describing specific historical stories with the prescriptions carved out on them. And the randomly scattered rosy walls seem to be eyewitnesses to the long consecutive episodes of history. Gutenberg, the printing house founder statue, distinguishes Mainz as he had a memorable impact on the course of printing books, a milestone invention that changed the world. Churches add beauty to the scene, making the church's color distinguishable. I.e., when you look at the building with its high pinkish towers, you feel at first glance that it was newly built; on the other hand, when you walk closer, you discover how old the features of the building narrate long episodes of history.
I always found myself attracted to exploring the various episodes of history because learning history strengthens the awareness of the past and gives impetus to predict the future. Furthermore, understanding history and its elements helps us think critically and manage our life's affairs wisely. In other words, learning history isn't only a matter of accumulating knowledge about wars, conflicts, or whatever is relevant. But also learning many different things about the past generations, their lives, the development stages they passed through, and inspiring instances of figures that have changed the course of history due to their genius scientific discoveries and contributions. In addition, the willingness and willpower to change despite the harsh circumstances the past generation lived. Thus, history is a source of learning good pearls of wisdom and valuable competencies to apply them in modern contexts, as enormous phenomena are built on theories uncovered by scientists of the past generations in many fields. In the contemporary epoch, people have developed these theories until they came into being in better and more sophisticated versions.
|St. Martin Dom, Mainz/ Private|
On the whole, the first-hand experience in the fascinating Mainz hasn't ended yet. The facts, as mentioned earlier, are pretty motivating factors to keep exploring the city and figure out the mysteries behind many exciting things related to the multicultural community or the objects around it. Ultimately, living in such a city would always be a worthwhile experience that will be added to my chronology and, above all, my CV as I'm here mainly to fulfill the requirements of a full-time job with a fantastic staff at a private company. Yes, I'll keep passionately exploring and learning from people more and more as they represent a school that provides us with lived knowledge that books might not necessarily offer.