I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago in a family of die hard Bears fans. During football season, every sunday was either at home or at relatives sitting in a comfortable living room with pop and hors d'eurves, or fighting the bitter cold and sometimes snow at Soldier Field in downtown Chicago watching the Bears give their sundays best. The highlight was in 1985 when Mike Ditka's Bears, with NFL record breaking running back Walter Payton, won the Super Bowl. That was my first year in College, representing Chicago in another state.
Directly after that Super Bowl win, my interest in football was replaced with my study of graphic design, and the fun of attending a Big 10 University. Purdue had a fantastic football team, and the games were pretty fun. Especially going to the games with the guys in my fraternity, where the pre-game and post-game parties heavily overshadowed the actual game. But the more I got into design, and going to parties, the less interest I had in following football.
In 1988 after my 3rd year of design school, I spent the summer backpacking through Europe. It was the best vacation I've had in my whole life. Every couple of days I would be in a new city, meeting people from all over the world, sightseeing during the day, and sitting in pubs at night. After 3 months of traveling, I went back to college with the mindset that I would head back to Europe as soon as I graduated. And that's what I did.
2 weeks after graduation, I reduced my belongings down to one suitcase, containing a few items of clothes, some basics for living, as well as my newly finished design portfolio. and and a carry on bag, then flew to Germany. I knew a couple of people whom I had met previously while traveling, who were happy to help me out at first by letting me stay for a couple of days at a time. I also had some relatives in Dortmund. My grandmother was actually born in Dortmund in 1917, but emigrated to the US with her family when she was a little girl. The relatives were my grandmothers cousins, who treated me like family and were very "gastfreundlich". It was good to visit, but then realized that Dortmund wasn't that exciting of a city to stay. So I headed up to Hamburg, where a drawing professor of mine from college had some friends. I had heard that there was a lot of media in hamburg, so I figured there must be a lot of design opportunities there too.
It was June 1990 when I got to hamburg..