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In 1954 the family moved again, to Berlin, where as the legal adviser to the U.S. mission, Richard got a longed-for chance to be part of history being made. And John got his first taste of another world. Traveling through communist East Germany, "I actually noticed a very perceptible difference the darkness, the lack of automobiles, the dark clothes. It just seemed bleak. And I sensed the foreboding unwelcomeness to it." One day he went so far as to ride his bike through Checkpoint Charlie and into East Berlin to look around and visit Hitler's bunker. When Richard realized where his son had gone, John recalls, "My dad was not thrilled. He explained to me that I could have [caused] an international incident. I think he took my passport. I think I got grounded passport grounded."
And soon he got sent away. Feeling that English boarding schools were too stuffy, Rosemary and Richard sent John to the Institut Montana Zugerberg near Zurich, a strict place with only a handful of English-speaking boys. "At first I was homesick as hell," Kerry says. Raised a Catholic, Kerry says he found comfort and company in church, becoming quite religious and serving as an altar boy. "I remember him writing me to remember to say my prayers," Peggy recalls. Cam, on the other hand, recalls how John learned to swear in Italian. "That part I do remember. Him coming back from vacation and spouting 'Spaccare la faccia, porco!'" Cam says with a laugh. The phrase roughly translates as "Shove it in your face, pig" and was "probably one of the milder things he learned," says Cam. "I had to learn Italian to get food at the table," John recalls. "I could make a sailor blush in Italian, no question about it."
Having a mother who grew up in Europe and a father who worked to reshape it, going to school abroad and learning French, Italian and German meant that Kerry developed a comfort with other cultures and other points of view that abides to this day. He's an affirmed multilateralist and proud regular at the yearly World Economic Forum in Davos, and he is married to a woman Teresa who speaks even more languages than he does. When he and his brother are on a conference call and want to talk privately, they have been known to break into French. But when he tried to flaunt his credentials as a favorite of foreign leaders and a better bet to navigate the now hostile waters of world opinion, the Republicans pounced, suggesting that he is some kind of Eurosnob forcing Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, to remind people that he had fought for his country and has served it as a public official for most of his adult life.