Every time one of my friends has said something that would work well as a blog title, I’ve noted it, bringing you today’s title by Beulah. This was said after recalling the horrendous first day’s trek through Berlin, after not bringing her camera along to capture the day’s sights. I say horrendous and you may be thinking, “Ann Lundy, you were in Berlin. Come on now. What could be so horrible?” and I am thinking right back at you of getting off of the plane after too many hours awake, of lugging my hefty suitcase around, of arriving at the hotel, to a fresh, welcoming bed, only to be forbidden to sleep and to be whisked right into the city for a full day of activities. I made that sound like hell and that is sure what it felt like after climbing the Tower of Victory’s 280-something stairs and trudging through the crowds at the Brandenburg Gate on no sleep. BUT I mostly say all of those things with humor because although that first day was really challenging, I understood that to make it through the harder parts of jet-lag, we had to begin our day on German time to become adjusted for the remainder of the week. So. Even though the first few days were rough, I am thankful for our schedule and where we are now. Even if Beulah was a crab (AKA crabby person) who didn’t think to bring her camera along for the first day of sightseeing.
That was a really long paragraph just to explain the meaning of my silly title. Apologies. On to new information.
Some notes from the past few days:
- My host family does not eat sweet potatoes. They eat a lot of delicious foods and Jutta is an incredible cook but I mentioned sweet potatoes the other day because it seems Germany is the king of potato eating (which is fine and dandy with me because this gal sure loves any kind of potato) but they were like, “those orange ones?” A little taken aback, I explained that although I am really no good at cooking, I can definitely make some good sweet taters. This bring us to yesterday, where Jutta and I bought some SP at Aldi (yes, the second trip was just as good as the first!!) and I *made* some for dinner last night (made surrounded by asterisks because I really just chopped them and seasoned them and machine cooked them for us). Side note: I made cheesecake, too, at the request of Jutta, because she said she had some at one point in NY so I promised her I could rival the NY cheesecake (I can’t cook but I def can bake). Although I talked a big game, I didn’t account for no measuring cups (they use another system of measuring) and the real vanilla that is ground in a pepper-like-grinder-thing. The cheesecake was FINE but def not as lit as a NY cheesecake. Another side note: although I thought my SPs and cheesecake were v average, Jutta, the grandpa (who comes in on weekends) and the neighbor had high praise for my efforts and proceeded to spend a good deal of time looking up the benefits of SPs.
- Apparently, there are more castles in Germany than in most other places (in the world, in the continent, in the northern hemisphere? Not sure what I’m comparing the castle ratios to.) but I didn’t fact check that so don’t quote me. I mentioned last post the castle that Jutta lived in; that castle is around the corner and after a delightful, extended breakfast today, I took a walk there and explored the paths all around the area. The grandpa later mentioned that I had to see the Versailles-look-alike castle in neighboring village, Nordkirchen. Definitely didn’t oppose this offer so we took off to check it out. I don’t know anything about the castle in the REAL Versailles, but this was GORGEOUS. Again, feeling very Elizabeth Bennet among the massive buildings with the intricate architecture. This castle boasted a lovely garden with many old sculptures. We walked down a path and me, as a very knowledgeable art historian, immediately put my expertise to work on the first statue I came in contact with. It was a male figure, somewhat clothed, holding a curly head in one hand, and a small pouch in the other. After giving it a couple of up-downs, I was certain it was David holding the head of Goliath. I shared this bit of brilliance with Grandpa who then kindly told me that all of the statues on this pathway were all Greek or Roman gods & goddesses and if I looked closely at the head of the sculpture, I would notice the wings on his helmet, making this most likely Perseus, Hermes, or Mercury. After getting off of my high horse, we continued our walk and encountered magnificent REAL horses, swarms of bikers and walkers, some thug teens with loud music blaring from their trendy cargo pants’ pockets, and more exquisite sculptures, this time portraying famous writers or speakers. It was a delightful afternoon and the exercise gave me life. (P.S. Grandpa took me to get ice cream (and bought it!) but only after first asking if it would mess with my diabetes-everyone is so darn THOUGHTFUL!)
- Breakfasts: there is a lot to say about breakfast. My usual breakfast at home is eggs and toast or a granola bar and an apple, which are snatched from my cabinet and then eaten in the car on the way to school. Breakfasts are, however, in quite a different league here in Germany. First of all, on the weekends, we sleep in till however long we would like and then we plop down at the kitchen table, where we have coffee, the usual bread/butter/cheese/meat combo, and whatever else is around. Yesterday, Jutta made delicious scrambled eggs for our toast. Today, we ate leftover cheesecake. The best thing about these breakfasts are that you can take them however you’d like, which is usually in bed. Jutta and Lily watched movies and Grandpa and I sat at the table for two hours, just reading! There is no rush and taking your time is encouraged. I have always struggled with knowing how to rest ( in the midst of the daily go-go-go) and I feel that slow breakfasts are the way to go. Testimonies from my siblings affirm this, as Ed and Van have both shared with me before that they wake up an entire hour or so earlier than needed, just to have some time to read and enjoy their coffee/morning time. I appreciate this so much.
- Friday night we had a party at one of the host families’ houses. Shelby turned 22 and her host family invited all of us into their beautiful IKEA home, where they fed us many breads and sausages, candies and cakes, chips and sodas, and we played catchphrase for hours. Some of the other student-teachers brought party hats and those things that make annoying honking sounds when you blow them. The family more than obligingly partook in the silly party attire and were so kind and generous to us. The grandma that lives next door to the IKEA host family even baked Shelby a home-made lemon-y cheesecake and the neighbors brought her gifts! Shoutout to the families that have welcomed us into their homes and have shared their lives/friends/homes/communities/food/sheets/bathrooms with us.
Thankful for this weekend of rejuvenation and rest. Excited to spend our final week of school with the Anne Frank Gymnasium kiddos!