Marcel Winatschek

Cheers to the House Party

Cheers to the House Party

Last night I found myself at a house party in a part of town I haven’t been before, where half the girls in attendance seemed to be called Julia. I like house parties. They’re much more cozy than clubs. And you can have intense conversations there, often with people you’ve just met. The birthday girl had gone to great lengths to make her party pleasant. In addition to champagne, snacks, and suitable music, there was a bowl full of little challenges at the entrance that each guest could complete if they wanted to. My task was to transform myself into a so-called woo girl and to cheer loudly even at the most inappropriate moments.

Between the colorful fog machine, soap bubbles everywhere, and a drying rack turned into a beer pong table, I met new people who sweetened my evening with their stories. A photographer struggling with herself, a psychologist from Vienna, and an artist whose individual skills made a packed balcony roar with laughter. I think it’s important to surround myself with new people and be inspired, guided, and encouraged by their dreams, hopes, and perhaps even worries at times when I seem to be at a standstill, at a loss, or generally thinking too much about the purpose of it all. And house parties are the perfect opportunity to meet just such folks.

As I step outside and board the over-punctual night bus with two of the many Julias, I am glad to have been here today among all the cheerful faces, whose laughter from the bottom of their hearts makes me forget my own sorrows. The evening has shown me once again that this city is full of unique and interesting characters. And it is unfortunately far too easy to overlook them repeatedly in my stressful everyday life as I rush through the big and small streets. But it’s worth stopping, listening, and both hearing their stories and enriching them with my thoughts. I’m already looking forward to the next house party - wherever it may take place.

I am Europe

I am Europe

I voted in the European elections this morning. After I bought a coffee at the nearby coffee shop and went for a walk to the next elementary school, where the voting took place, I chose the Green Party because they most closely represent my political views on environmental protection, digitalization, and human rights. I don’t want to leave Europe to the radical left or the radical right. People who trample on our fundamental democratic values out of greed, ideology, or sheer stupidity must not be the ones who end up destroying our chances of a future worth living. Because tomorrow belongs to those who are committed not to fear, but to hope.

I don’t believe in heritage, tradition, and nationalism. Although I was born in Germany, I do not feel German at all, but as a citizen of the world who is dedicated to the wonders and possibilities of all the different cultures this planet provides. For me, the idea of a unified Europe is the logical step away from restrictive borders and towards an open society characterized by a wide variety of people, cultures, and views. Thanks to the benefits, safeguards, and support of the European Union, I have met countless amazing people from different corners of the Earth that I would never have been able to meet without the opportunities of a united continent.

We should be happy to be part of Europe because it strengthens us financially, socially, and culturally. The European Union must be led by people who have only one goal in mind: To improve our community and the lives of us all. By casting my vote, I have helped to ensure that we are hopefully spared a dystopian future in which radicals, fascists, and populists, under the guise of democracy, aim to undermine and destroy it and our very own existences following thereafter. Committing ourselves to the European idea is the best chance we have of a realistic utopia in this period of human history. We are united in diversity, we are the future, we are Europe.

You Can Have Alone Time When You’re Dead

You Can Have Alone Time When You’re Dead

My biggest concern when I started college wasn’t about the courses, the professors, or future fears about what I would do with the degree, but how the other students would react to my age. While the president of the university gave a speech on the first day, the campus was packed with young people scurrying back and forth, equally confused and full of nervousness. In between the guided tours, through the buildings, the city, and the room where the beer fridge throned, I got into conversation with my fellow students. Gradually, the more or less fashionably dressed puppets turned into interesting characters with names, pasts, and humor

When I entered the cafeteria the following Monday, the first familiar heads were already smiling at me. Hey, Marcel! I heard from one of the tables cheerfully call over. Of course, I’m still the old fart. Just like Kerstin is the stoner, Jonas is the farter, and Dana is the one who got mounted in a fire truck. I’m not the only one who gets stupid looks from other students I don’t know yet, no, everyone has to carry their baggage in whatever way. Since that fateful first week, various friendships have emerged from the hundreds of encounters that have taken me all over the city, to buoyant apartments, clubs, and bars.

No matter where I go, I see familiar faces everywhere. Not only from university, but also from friends, roommates, and relationships of those who didn’t avoid me because of my difference, but, on the contrary, invited me into their lives with open arms. As we stumble out of Iveta’s apartment, hooting loudly, and smelling of tequila, wine, and popcorn schnapps, into the nearest convenience store to buy a few more road beers, I glance down the brightly lit street. I am now part of this scenery. Because I have dared to do something and have not closed myself off from the unknown. Since one truth is certain: You can have alone time when you’re dead.