By Stephanie

Two antique books from Germany that have been in her family for a long time and are very special to her.

Moving from the gorgeous streets of Murnau, Germany, to the foreign United States was a big change for Andrea Jarosch. One can imagine how difficult it would be to leave a place filled with such beauty and a feel that you are used to, to a place that one may not know as much about. The reason for Andrea’s move to the United States was because she fell in love with the man who is now her husband, Mike Larson. Mike and Andrea met in Germany at a party that was being thrown in Andrea's hometown, where Mike was studying German. She was twenty-one years old when she moved here in 1999, after knowing Mike for three years. Luckily the language difference was not the challenge for Andrea because she spoke English very well before moving. Though she is happy now that she moved here, it was not so easy in the beginning. When asked about the things she misses most about Germany, Andrea said she misses how normal things seemed there (since it was her home), the food, and the beautiful landscapes. Once she started talking about Germany, it was obvious that it is a place she will always love; she explained how wonderful it is, and really got into that topic. Andrea had visited the United States a few times prior to moving here, so she was fairly used to the idea of what living here would be like.

When asked about the immigration from Germany, Andrea explained it as being “a pain.” She explained how she was on a student visa for her first few years of living here, and then she married Mike. Once she graduated from UNC (after being transferred from her college in Passau), she got her green card. However just recently (February 17) she became a dual citizen at the Department of Homeland Security in Raleigh (along with sixty-two other people). The ceremony was especially emotional for her because she waited a while after moving to the United States to become a dual citizen. That is because she wanted to feel somewhat more American while getting her dual citizenship; it meant more to her this way. Once she got her dual-citizenship, she realized that she was now also a part of the American culture, not just German. Andrea says “Sometimes I still can’t believe I am an American citizen now.” She even has trouble considering herself as either German or American; she feels that she is equally both.
Though she is both an American and German citizen, she only visits Germany about every two years. The reason she does not visit more is because her and Mike have three young kids: Lillia, Emma, and Nicky. Andrea is fine visiting that often, because a lot of her family now lives in the United States, and it is easy to stay in touch with people in Germany by texting or calling. Andrea still has memories of Germany, such as two antique books that she showed that her family has owned for a while, and it was clear that they are very special to her. She is also pleased that she is still in touch with some of the people there. It was very interesting to see how Andrea could give up leaving her homeland to being in a completely new country, just to be with the one she loves.