Demographic: 40s, Rostock, Diplom, social science researcher
Descriptive Title: Ossi Millennial
Quote: “Life in the GDR could be horrible, but it wasn’t all bad.”
A Day in a Life Narrative:
Max rides his bike to work every day. He appreciates that he passes by a beautiful park and a Kunsthalle on his way to work at the Max Planck Institut. His wife teaches at the HMT (music college). They live in an apartment equidistant from their workplaces with their cat. On their days off, they enjoy being local tourists and take short vacations abroad a few times a year. Max is highly proficient with computers and smartphones but has a negative opinion of social media because of concerns about privacy and ethics. He uses Instagram begrudgingly. He loves Wikipedia and listening to podcasts. As a demographic researcher, he thinks a lot about sociology, history and politics. A few years ago, Germany’s political climate prompted him to think critically about his childhood in the GDR. When the wall came down, he was excited for freedom and dismissed the GDR as all bad. Now, he appreciates the small moments of joy he remembers and occasionally buys waldmeister-flavored snacks he ate as a child when feeling nostalgic.
He wants to see his experiences in the GDR accurately reflected and interpreted. Over the past 15-20 years, many acclaimed films have been made about life in the GDR. He finds it annoying how many creative licenses the filmmakers take. There were enough shockingly terrible aspects about life in the GDR that it is unnecessary to make them up for dramatic effect. He can tell instantly when a feature film or documentary was made by people from former West Germany, and they almost always are. When consuming websites or media about the GDR, he hopes they will not give him a reason to think, “Well, actually,” because if so, he would leave a comment or write a stern email. He would like to share his memories for posterity, just don’t make him download an app.
Demographic: 60s, San Antonio, BA, senior leader at a nonprofit organization
Descriptive Title: Enthusiastic World Traveler
Quote: “I like to learn and share, but I don’t want to feel embarrassed when I ask a question.”
A Day in a Life Narrative:
Gabriela gets up early to make breakfast for herself and her husband. Their youngest daughter is a single mother, so Gabriela drives her grandchildren to school on her way to the office and picks them up on her way home. She works as a senior director for a charity that provides services to immigrants. She loves her job but looks forward to retiring when her daughter is settled and doesn’t need so much help. In addition, Gabriela is active in her church and community and enjoys many hobbies. Her husband is retired from the military and currently works for the city. They used his military career as an opportunity to see as many places as possible. Gabriela was the first in her family to get an education, fly in a plane and travel across the ocean. She feels deep gratitude for these opportunities. She doesn’t get to travel abroad as much as she used to because of family responsibilities.
On her days off, she takes her grandchildren to museums and state parks and tells them about all the beautiful places she has been and things she has seen. She wants them to be curious to learn more about the world. She loves to take pictures of her travels and looks back on them often. Europe was beautiful and so different from her traditional upbringing! She uses Facebook to keep up with her extended family and joins niche online communities. She loves watching YouTube videos and documentaries and constantly uses her laptop, smartphone and iPad.
Gabriela and her husband spent a lot of time in Germany and explored the whole country. She took lots of photos there because she found it unique and intriguing. Even though she remembers the fall of the Berlin Wall, she doesn’t understand how its cultural and political history affects Germany now. What’s the difference? She got the feeling she said the wrong things on her travels a few times. She would love to learn more about everything she saw and photographed in former East Germany, but independently, so she doesn’t have to worry about offending people or asking a stupid question. She would love to share her travel pictures with people who will appreciate them for their aesthetic and nostalgic value. She doesn’t have a lot of time and would appreciate a batch uploader.