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    A German Expat in The Philippines: WITH BEETHOVEN UNDER PALMS (XVII)

    Chapter XVII: Off to the New World

    Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out what's great about a culture. That's exactly what Czech composer Antonin Dvorak was when he came to the U.S. at the end of the 19th century, an immigrant thrown into a new world and new sounds.

    Out of that experience, he wrote a symphony for America: Dvorak's Symphony No. 9, "From the New World," has become one of the world's most beloved orchestral works. It also produced a melody that is a hymn and an anthem to what American music can be.

    In February 1992, Rossana and I reached the New World, the United States of America after two flights with British Airways from Berlin to London, and thence from London to Los Angeles. It was my second stay in the U.S. In 1975, I visited America and Canada already for a tent tour visiting the complete west coast of both nations up to Alaska.

    This time, we visited some members of our family, who emigrated to Los Angeles and San Diego after our wedding in 1983. 

    Uncle Boy, Auntie Gigi, our nephews Dustin and Bebeng as well as their partners reside in Santa Monica until now. 

    The sprawling beach and consistently sunny weather of Santa Monica is less than 15 miles from downtown Los Angeles, significantly adding to the seven million visitors this seaside city receives each year. The epitome of Southern California coastal appeal, Santa Monica has an energy spurred by the lapping waves of its western border, and a visceral excitement found on the pedestrian-friendly streets, buzzing with activity well into the night.

    Rossana and I forgot Germany for several weeks. Uncle Boy asked several times whether we didn't want to emigrate to them. Our heads spun.

    "Let's visit Mexico first and then we decide where we are emigrating!" Rossana said this so seriously that all believed it. But we only reached Tijuana and returned back to the U.S. as soon as possible.

    The Universal Studios Hollywood, Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory, Disneyland Resort, Venice Beach, Long Beach, or The Original Farmers Market – really unforgettable, intoxicating weeks. We would meet Uncle Boy and Auntie Gigi again after years in Davao City.

    1993 was planned again for the Philippines. My mother, a cancer survivor and then age 70, expressed an amazing wish all of a sudden.

    (To be continued)


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