It has, for a while, been somewhat of a running joke between me and friends: who do I really side with: Germany, my place of birth and where I grew up, or Scotland, where I have lived for over a decade, my home?

Quite often I would answer: “I don’t know, it’s complicated.” One day, when the topic had resurfaced once more, my partner said to me: “Okay, hypothetically, Germany and Scotland are playing against each other in the Euros – who are you cheering for?

It was a simple question, but my scramble to answer it whenever it comes up – “Scotland? No, Germany. No, Scotland. Aaah, I don’t know” – is what has become the joke. The thought sends my brain into a tizzy (almost as much as thinking about the infinite depth of the universe does).

Truthfully, I have never been quite able to answer the question, but with this weekend’s draw for the UEFA Euro 2024, which saw Scotland picked to play the opening match of the tournament against Germany, I have been given a deadline. After more than 10 years, the day I have my allegiances tested is on the horizon and it will happen on June 14, 2024.

So, as a German and – dare I say it – honorary Scot (can I call myself this?) I am in a pickle.

Some might think I am blowing this out of proportion. Those that know me well might even say: you don’t even like football that much. And it’s true. I’ve not had a linear love affair with the beautiful game.

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It isn’t that I don’t enjoy it. It’s just that previously – apart from my short-lived attempts to impress people (boys) when I was in high school – I wasn’t always very exposed to it. I played it sometimes (never well), but I was never fully convinced.

Yet, especially in recent years, living with a partner who does, very much, love football, my interest and affection has grown. I am genuinely interested in watching games on TV and loved attending the Ross County game he took me to, although, I have to say, the tasty half-time pie definitely helped to solidify the experience.

What I have genuinely always loved is what the sport creates. The community, the excitement, the passion (at the same time, I have to admit, also despising the dark sides of some of these things. The hooliganism, the othering between factions, the at times full-on hate some people display in relation to it all). Tournaments, like the Euros, do amplify these feelings, even in those lurking from afar like I did.

I remember the last time Germany hosted a big tournament: The FIFA World Cup in 2006. I was a child but I remember very well how, that summer, the atmosphere felt electric. My town’s market square was buzzing on game days with people coming together to watch the match on a big screen.

Schweinsteiger, Podolski, Klose, and Ballack became our heroes. Our teachers let us wear our football tops displaying the names of our favourites, we owned makeup pens that would paint the German flag on to our faces in one fell swoop, learned all the chants and songs off by heart (one still, very helpfully, makes me remember all the years Germany won the world cup: ‘54, ‘74, ‘90, and now – after the song came out – 2014). I braided my hair and would tie the ends with our three colours: black, red, and gold. I cried tears the day Italy beat Germany in the semi-finals, destroying the dream of world cup glory.

It’s the same buzz I have seen in Scotland. The Euros are more than six months away, but you can feel the collective buzz forming across the nation. I have felt it, too. In the lead-up to the tournament, and Scotland’s stellar performance that would secure them their space in it, I have been cheering on and rooting for The Tartan Army. My heart fills with the same feelings I felt back in 2006: pride, hope, excitement – just that, this time, it is for another team.

However, it really isn’t about football and who I will be cheering or not cheering for. Because, really, I don’t have to choose sides. I can cheer for both teams (especially given that I will, very likely, be watching the game from the comfort of my own home and not in a stadium where I, perhaps, would be receiving some awkward stares).

But the event has thrown up lingering questions within myself about identity. It’s something I never would have seen coming. If you asked me ten years ago, I would have said: “I’m German.” No wavering, no uncertainty. But that was before. I didn’t know how moving to Scotland would change me.

I talked about the transformation before when it came to how my move here and Brexit impacted me. It’s changed my habits: I love a Sunday roast, a good cooked breakfast, milk in my tea, vinegar on my chips, and I think haggis is delicious. It’s changed how I talk. My English sounds nothing like it did when I first arrived here and my German friends don’t hold back in telling me my German sounds incredibly funny now that I speak with the twang of a foreigner. It changed what I care about. These days, I know more about Scottish politics than Germany’s (although I follow both closely).

But, more in line with what I am trying to say, it has changed how I view myself and my identity. Not aligned to one, but experiencing something far more complex. On paper, I am German, but that’s not exactly how I feel.

What I feel is a state of flux. As I grow closer to one, Scotland, I lose parts of the other, Germany, all while never fully being Scottish; my passport says so and people can spot it, too. I get asked “Where are you from?” within minutes, as people can’t place me and my accent. Yet, when I go back to where I came, as I did earlier this year, I can feel the rift that has formed. It feels a bit like your old friend from primary school that you never speak to but still have some fondness towards because of your shared history.

So, the whole “to cheer or not to cheer” debacle has become a form of symbolism of the above. Who's it gonna be? Honestly, I still don’t know the answer to all this. And really, will I ever? As time goes on, I believe these feelings may just get more complicated.

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I’ll definitely be cheering for The Tartan Army. The fact I am rooting for them to do well remains unchanged. But will I not give a little nod to the National Elf (National Eleven, a nickname for the German team), too? I think I might.

Although I have been threatened with divorce (side note: we are not even married yet) by my partner for the suggestion, there is a chance I might have to get a little half and half face paint on the go for June 14.