Being in Germany

15 Nov

Although I have been living in sort of an “enchanted” corner of Germany… often spoiled with an English-speaking Canadian and good sported English-speaking Germans here at the secret world of the Seminar Haus, I am… nonetheless… living in Germany.  Things are different here and my regular American ways… don’t always have a way here.  Sometimes it is just little things… like the washing and hanging of the laundry here that is more like a ritual or an art or my hostess wondering what we call tea towels in the United States or what sort of towels we use to dry our dishes… the answer being, of course, in many homes…the dishwasher.  The other day a few of us were having a conversation and my hostess was searching for an English translation for what she was describing in German… the English term was… “plastic surgeon”… which sent them laughing… It was explained to me that in Germany plastic is “taboo” and materials such as glass…. more quality and basic things… are much more revered.  So to have a doctor called a plastic surgeons sounded odd to say the least.

After big seminars on the weekends we often have much left over food.  My American ways have trained me to pack it all up in the fridge and throw anything away at the first sign of spoiling.  Around here… things are allowed to linger a little bit more.  And while things are still healthy… food stays around longer before it is tossed away.  Jörn, the German man who has been living and working here for about the past month or so, once was surprised at me when I threw some food out.  I attempted to explain to him that it was just my experience and culture as an American.  He then shared with me that his parents lived in Germany after the second world war, when there was almost no food and he was raised by parents still living with fear that there might not be enough.  I was told that at that time people around here were literally starving. So in Jörn’s house growing up… food was kept around… and reused for days… and really, not thrown away.

And more and more, with my American porch companion gone…more  German is spoken at the Seminar Haus.  Seems natural as we are in Germany, but I suppose I got spoiled with everyone speaking English around me.  I have dipped my toe into the German language pool… and will continue to do so… but sometimes it is challenging for me to be sitting in a room filled with German conversations… and not understand.  Incidentally, I learned that the German language has something like 75,000 words and the English language has over 200,000 words…Sometimes I find I just love the sound of German and find it comforting to hear.  The other day traveling back from Hamburg, I can remember actually feeling a sigh of relief hearing the German announcement on the trains before we were to leave.  A strange modicum of  familiarity.  Sometimes I can pick out words or phrases that I understand.  But other times it is tough… and I feel disconnected from the people and the conversations that are happening and at times it takes some effort for me not to feel left out.

We have a new but familiar visitor this week at the Seminar Haus.  The woman who was the caretaker here before Dan is here.  She too is a Reiki Master and has come to assist the larger effort required this week as we prepare for a group twice as large as our typical weekend.  Furniture is being moved, beds rearranged… and typical cleaning and preparation.

It is a cool autumn night.  The coals in the fireplace still have some burning embers that will need to be fed before I go to sleep.  I have to smile as I notice my acceptance and appreciation of the cool air in my being… a feeling I haven’t felt for so long.  It has seemed like a long day… and it is time for a little rest… tonight surrounded by the frozen gardens of Wettenbostel under the cool night skies… being in Germany.

3 Responses to “Being in Germany”

  1. hereandthere40_Lucas Rokosz 15/11/2011 at 19:34 #

    Very well put together. Narration made me feel as though I was right there with you. Thanks for taking the time to share. -Lucas

    • nancieteresa 15/11/2011 at 21:58 #

      Thanks Lucas! Thanks for taking the time to read it!

  2. Amberr Meadows 15/11/2011 at 22:05 #

    The way you describe everything invokes the senses, and if I close my eyes, I can almost visualize myself there. Love the post!

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