University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame

America - Europe

A Transatlantic Diary 1961 - 1989

Klaus Lanzinger

Innsbruck, September 5, 1964

A Citizen of Two Worlds

Whoever returns to Europe after a longer sojourn in the United States, will undeniably discover a change in view of his old homeland. Anyway, this is my own experience. Already on the journey from Le Havre to Innsbruck I saw things with a different eye: The railroad, highways, cities and villages looked like a dreamy toyland. The European landscape as a whole appeared to me like a park, whereby the natural beauty of the Alps surprised me again. Upon my return, I stood amazed by the unique sight of the Altstadt, the medieval old town of Innsbruck, with the Nordkette rising precipitously in the background. On the other hand, one has to get used again to the narrow streets and to the traffic with its variegated jumble of pedestrians, bicycles, streetcars, buses, motorcycles and cars of all sizes. A certain feeling of uneasiness and estrangement in one’s own home country cannot be denied. But one enjoys much more so the simple pleasures of life: A friendly waiter who serves a menu in the garden; a cup of coffee in a pastry shop; a stroll through the Hofgarten; as well as a visit to a performance in the Landestheater. After a while, one will certainly get adjusted to the daily way of living at home. Yet nevertheless, the longing will remain for once again experiencing that entirely different country with its spaciousness and generosity. One has become a citizen of two worlds, which are very different from each other, but their advantages and disadvantages complement each other.

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