German by birth, Boris Douglas Garbe spent his childhood in Nicaragua. But his “citizen of the world” status was cemented in 1979 when his family relocated to Winter Park for a rather drastic reason: to escape a political revolution.
“It was life-changing,” he recalls. I had to learn a new language and a new set of customs.”
Suffice it to say he came through with flying colors. In the decades since, he’s become a teacher of both Spanish and sign language (including doing some work with Koko, the famous signing gorilla), then a realtor, and finally the fine-art impresario Central Florida now knows him as. Among his many accomplishments in the latter field, he’s the curator of the celebrated Mills Gallery and was also Visual Arts Chair of the Timucua Arts Foundation until 2018.
Not that he’s completely lost touch with the land of his birth: “I visit Germany every three years to see my relatives,” he says, adding that he speaks both German and Spanish with his parents. And he’s been known to pop the occasional German candy – “but for the most part, my tastes are pure American.
“I love the U.S.” he says. “I consider it my home.”