It’s easy to talk about the migrant flow into Germany while living in the United States. Not that we’re clueless, but because we’re not facing the reality and dealing with the consequences in everyday life. As this historic movement of people comes in, how are everyday Germans reacting? The New York Times translated a portion of a piece from Der Spiegel reporter Maik Grossekathöfer.

Grossekathöfer mentioned that at first, resettling 700 refugees in his neighborhood seemed like a “good idea.” His neighbors weren’t so thrilled, some worried about their houses losing value, and other moved. But then a greenhouse was demolished to make way for the three story building, and he describes his feelings as “dark thoughts.” He saw many people donate clothing and toys at the town center, only to go back to their posh, affluent neighborhoods. Living next to 700 refugees, however, is a very different experience. After the sexual assaults in Cologne, he defended the refugees and the media while his neighbors attacked them.

Now, Grossekathöfer says he lives with daily mood swings. He says it all might work out with the refugees, they might become friends. Or they might have a police visit at least once every three days. He’s also frustrated how the local people have little say in any matters, with most decisions feeling like they’re coming from high up in the government.

I think Grossekathöfer’s mood swings are complexly normal, and people all over the world are feeling this way. But the question is, as time goes on, how will people feel? Will this situation improve, of become increasingly negative? Possibly, only time will tell.

Story and photo from The New York Times.