My dog called Genau
A personal story by Luciano

I have always been a “dog” person. During my entire life, which is lasting 41 years so far, I have always had a dog on my side, except for two relatively short periods oftime: 1 year that I lived in USA when I was a teenager and 2 years that I have recently lived in Dresden, Germany. I would like to talk a bit about this second period.

In 2013, I realized that I needed a fresh start in my research and I decided to apply for a guest research position at the Vodafone Chair, hosted by TU Dresden. At that time, I had a dog called Matlab, which was three years old. Since I was planning to stay in Germany for two years, it come to my mind bringing Matlab with me, but bureaucracy won and I left Matlab with my parents in law.

My life inDresden was magical. I loved my work and I made a lot of really good friends (life-time friends in fact) in Dresden. The unique experiences that I had in Dresden changed my personality and the way I see life. I was happier than ever in Dresden and I had a feeling that I belonged in that place. The only thing that was hindering my complete welfare was the fact that I left Matlab behind.

After some months, I realized that Matlab was completely changing the life of my parents in law. They have changed their routine and they were building a new life around my dog. It was clear that I would not be able to reclaim Matlab as “mydog” when I get back home. I had mixed feelings about this situation. I was sad because I was losing my dog, but also happy because Matlab was improving the life of other people that I deeply care about.

I was talking about this situation with a German friend in a given day and the dialogue we had was more or less the following:

I: I like my life in Dresden, but I miss my dog. Strange feeling, do you know?

He: Genau. Dogs are great. You will have your dog back?

I: I can’t. My mother in law will be very sad.

He: Genau.

I: I will have to get another dog. A Border Collie, perhaps.

He: Genau. Border Collies are very smart and very demanding.

I: Yes, I know. I need to find a good name for it. Something that means a lot to me and can be funny to people that understand its name. Like Matlab.

He: Genau.

At this point, I realized how often German people say “Genau”! That was it! This was going to be the name of my future dog!

The day that I had to leave Dresden came and I had to say “Auf Wiedersehen” to my friends and restart my life in Brazil. Very though days! But looking for Genau somehow helped me to overcome the sadness. After some time, I finally found her. We immediately got connected and I was sure that Genau was going to link my good life in Dresden with my bright future in Brazil.

It has been three years now that Genau is part of my life. And it is a joy to have her around, besides the fact that she is so jealous! It is very funny when someone ask her name and wants to know what “Genau” means. It is a bit hard to find the right translation for this word. But, from time to time, when I say that the name of my dog is Genau, I hear an “Ahhh! Sprichst du Deutsch?”. It is amazing how German culture is present in Brazil, although you need to know a little bit about it to recognize this fact.

So, at the end, Genau is always bridging my old life in Germany with my current life inBrazil, always remembering me the good things in both of them. I still dream about living in Dresden for good. But one thing I am sure. If one day I move back to Dresden, I will not leave Genau behind…