HEIMAT abroad | Frühling 2018


Interview: Alexandra Reese
Juliane Tranacher
Beschreibung: What makes German, Austrian and Swiss people come to America? What do they love about the country and what do they miss about home? In each issue, we introduce a German-speaking immigrant or expat. This time: video editor and television reporter Alexandra Reese.

What brought you to New York? 

My job. We had just moved into a new apartment in Munich when my husband and I were given the opportunity to go to New York for a certain period of time. So we ended up having a housewarming and farewell party at once.

You came to New York as a TV journalist. Meanwhile, you founded your own business "Onedaybaby", where you work full-time now. What’s your company about? 

With "Onedaybaby" my own little production company came to life in New York. On one hand, we create image videos for international companies that want to establish an online presence. On the other hand, we develop family videos for private clients. It all started when my son was born. When I was on maternity leave, I took a one-year break from working as a journalist at ARD. I started creating short videos which documented the everyday life of my son here in New York. It’s where the name of my company originates from: "one day in our baby's life". I like the idea of being able to show my son where he was born and the way he grew up when he’s older. I was pretty sure that other parents would want to do the same thing.

Do you think you would have ventured into self-employment if you had stayed in Munich? Or do you think you took that step because New York has this special vibe? 

I have always dreamed about starting my own production company. At some point, I would have probably tried it in Munich, but I’m sure that New York has been one of the reasons why it happened so soon. The city has this enormous energy you can't hide from. It just pulls you in and lets you flow with it. There is this underlying sentiment that anything is possible in this city, and that triggers a tremendous motivation.

How do you manage a child and a full-time job at the same time?

It usually works surprisingly well. I was able to set up a pool of babysitters that support me very well. However, I do envy my friends in Germany and the fact that they have their families around to help them.

Is there anything you can only get in New York? 

Chicken-chocolate-flavored popcorn. At least I've never seen that anywhere else.

Do you feel like the city has changed you?

I got used to the kindness of the people around me. Whether it's superficial or not – whenever I'm in Germany, I realize that oftentimes people are very grumpy or in a bad mood. It makes me appreciate New York small talks, even though they seemed so unnecessary to me when I first came here.

Which German values, ideas and traditions do you want to pass on to your child? 

Commitment. That's what I miss here. I feel like it's getting less and less important for our generation. People prefer to keep all options open – both in their professional and private lives. And unfortunately, I can't exclude myself from that. It starts with little things like weekend plans. However, I don't think that it’s going in a good direction. I hope that the next generation will handle commitment differently and value it more.

What do you love most about New York?

The city’s diversity. People from all over the world live here and see themselves as New Yorkers. The minute you arrive here, you feel like you belong. Everyone contributes to this city in their own way, and so it constantly evolves. It is rich in cultures, languages and culinary experiences. Every day feels like I’m traveling the world.

»People from all over the world live here and see themselves as New Yorkers. The minute you arrive here, you feel like you belong.«

Is there anything you miss about home?

Having a glass of wine at a river bank or picnic. Drinking alcohol is not allowed in public places here. And honestly, hiding a bottle of wine in a brown paper bag and secretly drinking it out of a plastic cup makes me feel like I am 15.

When did you feel like you had Americans figured out?

I never did, not even today. I do feel pretty comfortable using the language by now though.

Is there anything that bothers you? 

Potholes. Sometimes I feel like New York is one big pothole. They are everywhere. I bike a lot in Manhattan, so they drive me crazy every single day.

What's your favorite place to relax? 

I don't really need a quiet place to unwind. It's actually the opposite: In New York, a street café would be my preferred place to relax. Just sitting there and watching the people walk by is what makes me feel at ease.

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