On a Cusp

The more you travel, the more you realize how complex and how big the gap between identity and nationality is for a lot of people. One may be born in one place, spending their childhood in another and working in a third one. Then, how you identify yourself might be all the parts of all these cultures you integrated during your life. The degree in which you see yourself as belonging to a specific culture depends on your education, your family and community.

Wherever you are in the world, you are constantly questioned about the authenticity of your roots, either as an Asian or an American for example. You can be considered as a foreigner in your own hometown, birthplace and/or in the current city you live in. As any children of immigrants, we all struggle to relate fully to our family’s cultural identity because some values might clash or some habits might not work anymore.

The feeling of not belonging to neither or to both at the same time bothers me a lot. It is difficult to connect with your family, because of the geographical and cultural distances. Family tells you you’re not enough like them, society tells you you’re not assimilated enough. We are stuck between cultures in the present, straddling on a (very uncomfortable) cusp. However, it is also a strength because it allows us to find the good in different cultures and it elevates our sense of freedom, independence and open-mindedness. Since the boundaries are quickly dissolving in our modern world, we’ll have to realize that almost nothing is fully right or fully wrong in every culture.

Mittenwald, Germany

The night before, in a Brazilian bar, some friends spontaneously decided to join us for the hike. Maybe the alcohol makes it easier to say yes to anything you would normally decline.

So, in the early morning, we stuffed our bags with glorious coffees, breads and sandwiches from Rischart and hopped in a train for a 1.5 hours ride to Mittenwald from the main train station in Munich.

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We arrived in the small town amid the Alpine peaks of Bavaria, Germany. Its colorful painted houses, sitting at the foot of the mountains, depict its violin-making history.

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Walking through the forest reminded me a lot of my home in Canada, with the color-changing trees and the clear blue lake.

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The hike was still a bit of a challenge for me because of the steep trail in the beginning.

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But good vibes and laughters with good friends always make it easier.

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The view is absolutely stunning from every part of the trail.

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Walking back to the train station felt very gratifying. But, of course, before that, we rewarded ourselves with hot chocolates and cakes. We got back on the train, exhausted, but very happy.