Twenty years ago, I graduated from Emory Law School in Atlanta with an LL.M. degree and then prepared for the New York State Bar which I luckily passed. My father came all the way from Germany and my American host-mother from my time as an exchange student in High School from Michigan to attend the graduation ceremony. I am returning to Hotlanta, as they call it, this Thursday for our 20-year class reunion and I am very excited.
My year in Atlanta was life-marking in so many ways. I got to learn another part of the US and another legal system in an incredibly inspiring academic environment, met wonderful people and built precious friendships that we managed to maintain throughout time, and basically hung out 10 months of the year in shorts and flip flops. It was also a difficult time though because the attacks of September 11 occurred just three weeks after my arrival with everything this tragedy entailed. It changed my life and my perception of the world.
So now Atlanta calls me again, together with all the memories of a time long gone by and yet so close to my mind and heart thanks to all the wonderful people who await me there, including my friend Ben’s parents, who are so kind to host me as they have done many times before with open arms.
My American Guitar may be a little out of tune, but I am sure I’ll get a hang of it pretty quickly as I re-explore Atlanta and as the journey then will continue further West: Ben will take the two of us in his airplane across the country to Los Angeles, near to where I will be attending another special event the following weekend before I return to Berlin. Yet another special road trip, or air trip, actually, lies ahead of me; yet another perspective on the land of the free and the home of the brave, a country and its people that have shaped me so substantially throughout my life. As you read this, Ben is up in the air with his plane back to the US from Germany across Scotland, Iceland, Greenland and the North-East of Canada, and I wish him safe travels and that he will enjoy this adventure.
If you like, stay tuned and follow us as we glide through the Class of 2002 reunion and from East Coast to West Coast; alas, without my family this time.