“I miss the Yasmine blossoming.” – Lena Reiner – Medium
This article was originally published in FLED magazine.
„Bier- und Weinstadel“ written on an elderly archway is welcoming visitors to the former hotel in Stuttgart-Wangen that is now hosting asylum seekers. Entering the building you travel back to a time when Germany did not have the best sense for interior design. More shabby than chic you can find old brown glass lamps, dark wood and many more shades of brown inside the house. Even if neither the restaurant nor the hotel are used as such anymore, the rooms on the ground floor are still fully equipped as in those days. The furniture stayed, the questionable charme, too. The restaurant kitchen — hold in cold stainless steel — is used by the residents to cook their own small meals. Your first view in the lobby is on the signs of the toilets that lie behind brown doors, too.
It is hard to find a quiet place here, many of the roundabout 70 inhabitants use to stay in the common rooms during the day. Noises of running water and rattling pans from the kitchen use to disturb any attempt of private conversations.
Mustafa receives us cordially. In some surprising way he is able not to seem lost in this place that gives a lot of possibilities to become so. Everyday in the afternoon he picks up the fresh food that is left from lunch at the school in the neighboorhood. This adds a sense of normality to his everyday life as well as the German course he attends regularly. These routines help him to deal with the time, in which he spends doing practically nothing than waiting — waiting for his family to get its visum and waiting for their reunion on German ground.
It is always in the back of his mind — like his home country. He is missing Syria, like it was before the war. „I miss the days without killing and without blood everywhere, when we were one Syria.“ If he could get anything from there just right now, it would be blossoming Jasmin and memories of a Syria of peace and freedom.
„I had to leave home because I did not want to carry a weapon“, Mustafa explains to us.
The 21-year old would be a soldier now, if he had not left his home country. For this reason he was heading to Germany with his father, starting a journey full of insecurities in the hope of finding a safe and secure life. On their way they passed the sea on a shaky boat and covered hundreds of kilometres by foot. When he finally reached Germany, the first word he learned in the new language was at least a positive one: „Danke“ (Thanks). His wife and child are waiting in Turkey for him to get a visum for them. Therefore he needs first of all a 3-year-residence permit for himself and secondly the application for his family reunion has to pass. Noone can tell how much time those processes will need and how long the young family has to stay apart from each other. In the meantime he will learn German and try to fill his days with something that makes sense.
Nevertheless the young man has not lost an optimistic view on his future. Being asked where he will be in five years, he answers: „I see myself living a regular life with my family in Germany after having finished my studies.“