Brie Tomlinson seems like your normal college senior. In 2011, she moved from Colorado Springs to start school at Colorado State University and comes off as your typical Coloradan. But Brie has a much different background.
She is a TCK, or a Third Culture Kid. Brie followed her military family to Germany at two different points in her life: The first time from 1998-2000 (ages 4-7) and 2004-2008 (ages 12-15). These 7 years have shaped Brie, whose constant thinking about her “other” home plagues her life every day. Given the choice, she would move back in a heartbeat. The culture, lifestyles and food of Germany defines Brie as a person. She shares some of her experiences in this interview.
E: How much of a culture shock was it for you to move to Germany?
B: “I think it might have been a culture shock for me had I been older the first time I moved there, but because I was exposed to living in Europe so early on, it wasn’t weird going back. I’d already been exposed to all of the culture and traditions in the country at such a young age that I just kind of accepted that it was the way things worked. I went to a school off base the first time I lived there, and although they spoke English to us, they really focused on immersing us in the small little holidays and traditions of the country.”
Wow, sounds like you were pretty lucky to assimilate into the culture so quickly.
“Ya! If anything it was more of a culture shock for me moving back to the United States!”
Did you and your family travel a lot while there?
“Yes we did. It’s so much easier to go to different countries in Europe because each one is pretty much the same size as a state is to us which makes it very easy.”
Yeah, that definitely makes traveling a lot quicker. What countries did you make it to?
“We went to France all the time because it was so close, the UK, Spain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, The Czech Republic, and Sweden (which is where we bought our Volvo)”
Wow buying your car straight from the source. So while in Germany, did you live on a base? Would you buy mostly American groceries?
“We actually lived off base both times we were there, so we were always buying German groceries. The first time around my brother and I lived off chicken nuggets and fries much to my parents disappointment. They always had to find McDonald’s for us. The second time was much better and I wanted to try so many more different types of food.”
Any food favorites?
“It was all amazing. 6 years later I’m still craving food from Europe that I haven’t had in years and trying to recreate it with American ingredients.”
OK, OK, but if you had to pick one type of food what would that be?
“It’s really hard to pick just one favorite food because there were very few things I didn’t like! My favorite was probably flammekueche though. It’s pretty much this pizza they have at all the fests. It has got this really thin crust that’s almost like a Saltine, and they spread it with a tangy cream, onions, bacon, and pepper then fire bake it. The first time I had on was at a Christmas market or weihnachtsmarkte.”
Christmas Markets always have so much food, what led you to try flammekueche?
“My mom and I were starving and we kept seeing people walk by with them and they smelt so good. We finally found the stand and after we got it we ate it so fast and it was so good that we ordered two more. After that they became a pretty regular food for us every time we were at a fest or market.”
That sounds amazing. Well, I like to center my stories on food, specifically noodles, by comparing different ones from all around the world. German food is especially famous for it Spatzle. Eat a lot of it while in Germany?
“I had Spatzle all the time and I actually still eat it a lot!”
How would you describe it?
“It’s like a spongy egg noodle that’s got the texture of a dumpling and a pasta all in one. They’re these tiny irregular shapes, and generally speaking you eat them in rahmsauce which is this creamy brown sauce that sometimes has mushrooms in it. It’s really good, and usually you get it with a main course of meat, I always went with a thin breaded piece of fried pork called schnitzel. It’s to die for.”
OK enough already you’re making me hungry. Sounds like your time in Germany was amazing, I bet you miss it. Thanks for answering my questions!
“Oh you’re welcome! Ya I definitely miss it! I think about it all the time.”