After four months in this country, our German au pair, Steffi, still seems perpetually surprised about the fact that so many of the cliches and stereotypes she had in her head don't turn out to be that true. At least in DC, not everybody eats fast food and fried chicken all the time, not everybody acts blissfully unaware and cheerful at all times, not everybody wears screamingly tacky clothes, not everybody tells you about their psychiatrist in your first conversation with them, and not everybody drives cars that would take up two lanes on the Autobahn in Europe.
This Christmas, however, we were glad to finally be able to present her with a sight that trumped all her expectations. Fleeing the cold and snow in DC, we had taken her to Florida for winter break. And there it was! All those snowmen, sleighs, reindeer and bearded Santas twinkling under the palm trees in people's front yards!
"Real American kitsch!" Steffi exclaimed with great satisfaction and excitement, running around with her little camera.
And then I realized that I couldn't even quite figure out anymore what was so remarkable about those decorations.
© 2012, Catarina Bannier