Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Hat/Scarf: Pimkie | Shirt: H&M | Pants: Vero Moda | Super Chunky Socks: handmade | Boots: Kohls | Jacket: H&M 

I had a very interesting conversation yesterday. I had just finished taking pictures for a client named Julia, and she graciously offered to drive me home since Steven's family lives a bit completely out of the way. On the drive home, we began talking about her life and her family.

Julia was born in east Germany. My first thought was "Oh, lovely!" Because I've been to east Germany and think it's an interesting and beautiful place to live.

Except it wasn't lovely, or at least not completely, because when she was born The Berlin Wall was still very much in place, separating the east from the west.

I listened to her tell me about her mother, who dreamed of seeing the world but had no freedom to do so. She dreamed of studying medicine but wasn't permitted by the Eastern German government to attend any sort of higher education past grade 10, because she was a member of the Mormon church.

When the wall came down in 1989, Julia's family left east Germany and began to travel Europe, exploring beautiful new countries that had seemed worlds away only months previous.

"My mother has always strongly encouraged me to travel and see the world, just because I can," Julia said. "She didn't always have that freedom."

Honestly, thoughts like this just can't compute in my brain. I can not imagine living in a world where I couldn't exit a certain perimeter, where all of the media I consumed was controlled by the government, where I wasn't allowed to get the education I deserve because of my beliefs. But for some people this was normal (and still is, in some parts of the world!) It was their reality. And these aren't just people in some history book, they are people that I know and interact with every day. 

Sometimes the terrible events that occur in history don't seem like such a big deal to me because they are just that: History. Maybe this was ignorant and "typical American" of me, but it's easy for me to forget that the people I'm reading about in books were real, which leads to me taking a whole lot of incredible things for granted.

It is Thanksgiving week, and I could not be more grateful for my freedom. I am so thankful that the Germany I live in is a place where we are free to make our own choices, go where we want to go and worship who we want to worship. I'm grateful to be able to voice my opinions without fear. I'm grateful I go to sleep each night feeling warm and safe and loved.

Happy almost Thanksgiving, my wonderful American friends. Let's spend tomorrow and every day afterwards remembering how very blessed we are. 


Gill said...

A lovely post!

Jenna said...

Such an important reminder! And so easy to take for granted... thankful that I have the freedom to travel too!


ifs ands Butts said...

Amen. Certainly something very special to be thankful for! I forget how recent the wall fell.

Smallgood said...

This is such an important message. When we teach history, we so often neglect the very recent past. We need to bear witness, and we especially owe it to the survivors to hear their stories.

Kristin said...

Every now and then this thought pops into my head, but I think living in the States has really distanced this idea for many, myself included. Hearing stories like this reminds me of how much that freedom and independence means.

Madeline Grace said...

Wow, this is something that we tend to forget. Thank you for sharing Daryl! This reminded me how luck someone can be.

Anna said...

beautiful post! I agree, most of the time I take my freedom for granted. It's great to remember how lucky we are! Happy thanksgiving!!

Laurie said...

What a beautiful backdrop for photos!

Niina - It seems pretty obvious. said...

What a great post! So inspiring and true! And the pictures are lovely! :)

Aspiring Kennedy said...

Such a great reminder at this time of the year.

Nicholl Vincent said...

i love this cozy look!

Would love to have you stop by and say hello at :) happy Thanksgiving! xo

engquist said...

I have eastern Europeans stop and talk to me all the time purely because I'm an American and their dream is to get to the States. They grew up in hardships similar to your friend and want to experience freedom themselves. I am humbled every day that I was blessed enough to be born into a free land.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Amanda Cobb said...

Great post. And I am the same way - I simply can't imagine not being allowed past a certain perimeter, or to learn, or many things. My brain doesn't compute it, either. We really are very lucky.

Also, these photos are lovely. :)


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