Daniel Mollé has lived in the Oberlausitz region since 2005. He is one of the very few Americans that remain here for a longer time.
[Half way round the world: Daniel Mollé (24) from California has lived in Herrnhut since 2005; Jürgen Klinsmann from Göppingen (former partner region of Löbau-Zittau) lives in California yet again.] (this caption accompanied Jürgen Klinsmann's and my picture)
Snow? Not much. Where Daniel Mollé comes from, there are palm trees; and the last time it snowed was in 1976. Such is what most likely attracts Germans like Jürgen Klinsmann to the hot and sunny American west coast. Yet, Mollé made his way four and a half years ago in the opposite direction: that is, from the big city of San José in California to the serene and placid Herrnhut, Saxony. And after a long winter, though he looks forward to the Spring, he says it's going well for him here.
"I thought, 'German sounds good.'"
Coming to Germany had been Daniel's desire ever since he was in school. Back then, he had to decide on a foreign language and he didn't want to learn Spanish or French like everyone else. "I thought, 'German sounds good.'" he recalls today. Sitting in a small Herrnhut Café and shop belonging to the Christliches Zentrum church, he retells of his life on the other side of the globe. It was back then that he quickly grew an interest for German; but to spend a year in Germany on foreign exchange didn't work out. So instead, Daniel Mollé focused on his second big dream: making music. As early as childhood, he had a go at the Piano, later learned the Trombone and then the Guitar. By the time he finished school, he studied composition in College in Saratoga, California and played with his trombone in Jazz Bands and Orchestras. It was then through his home church that he learned of Herrnhut. Donations made it possible for him to come and live here in the Summer of 2005. And since then he has voluntarily worked in the Christliches Zentrum church congregation teaching music. He also composes and plays his trombone in the local Kreismusikschule music school.
One wouldn't notice right away that this slim and slender, brown eyed and wavy haired man originally comes from America. The popular stereotypes – hectic, superficial, hamburger in hand while wearing a baseball cap – don't fit him. Daniel Mollé attentively listens, ponders, speaks quietly and concentrated. That blends much better with the small town of Herrnhut than it does with a pulsating metropolis like San José. He doesn't miss the city and its west coast climate though. So he says, he had often been at his grandfather's home in the countryside as a child. He fit in well there. Now he can't wait for the golden-yellow rapeseed fields that come in the summer. "It's like their painted with a brush," he says smiling. He is one of 266 Americans who have come into the counties of Bautzen and Görlitz over the past years. Not many stay as long as him though: "Three quarters make their way back within four years," says Brita Schröder with the Statistics office of Saxony in Kamenz.
Homeward bound once a year
Daniel Mollé has made up his mind for the Oberlausitz (Upper Lusatia) region. Once a year he visits his homeland, but still looks forward time and again to come back to Herrnhut. He feels comfortable here in the Christian church and is glad that he can pass on something of himself through his music. Yet, he wishes that his family would come visit him here. "I'd like to show them how life is for me here," he says. Now, with his work permit that he recently acquired, he wants to come out of Herrnhut a bit and financially stand on his own two feet. Self-employed, he teaches English in the region, which brings more income than the music. Yet, that's still where he's headed: a point at which he can live from composing and making music. What he composes, he performs and posts on the Internet. His influences spread from Bach to Rammstein. Tomorrow, Mollé will play a mix of modern and classical with German and American influences, bringing California together with the Oberlausitz.
Daniel Mollé: Tomorrow, 7:30 pm, Kulturquartier Löbau, W.-Leuschner-Platz 5, Entrance 5 Euro.