Gratitude

2 Dec

Here I am.  In the little village of Hilpertsau.  Surrounded by friendly welcoming hills nestled in the valley. It is now December and I am reminded by Imke, my hostess here, that the temperature is happily 10 degrees warmer than is usual for this area.  It is a juicy morning and I am filled with gratitude for the hospitality and peace I feel in my new location.

I am in the home of Michael and Imke, with the young and warm spirits of their children Skadi, 5 and Svante, 8. Michael and Imke both speak very good English and Skadi and Svante have mastered the art of hello, thank you, good night with some extra words on the side. It is very sweet to hear them call my name, “Teresa, Teresa!” with their openness and enthusiasm.  Skadi and Svante have begun to be teachers to me, pointing to new things and saying it in German.  Correcting me when my pronunciation is a little bent to my American speaking ways. The other night, perhaps to put me at ease, Michael shared a quote that a clever man can learn English in one week, French in one month, and German… in one year.  Hmmm.  So for now, I wander a little aimlessly in this German world offering a word or two that I know as I can.  Still grateful for the English served up to me on a daily basis.

This village is quite beautiful.  Quiet and connected to surrounding areas, the “S” train just steps from their home. The other day I took a leisurely stroll to the neighborhood castle… about an hours walk from here offering some fresh air and a beautiful view of the area.  I am beginning to learn and feel my own rhythm in this new place folded into the lives of this family.

Michael and Imke are both easy, light people to be around.  They have interests in philosophy and alternative healing. They are very generous offering me their gracious hospitality with still much space and time for me to do, be, and see as I want in the area.  I have a nice private room in their ground floor and am content to have some privacy as well as some time connected to the family and the kids.

So far I do a little babysitting.  Watching the kids during runs to the store and the like.  The other night I babysat after the kids had gone to bed, Michael and Imke grabbing a meal and a little time.   They tucked in the kids, then fed the DVD player with the latest episodes of “House” and fed me with potato chips and cashews.  A grueling evening as you can imagine.  One little visit from Skadi, showing her face downstairs in typical 5-year old fashion… not wanting to be in bed.  We looked at each other and smiled and without language… I gently ushered her back into her bedroom.

I feel very welcome in this relaxed German home.  Already offered a traditional meal of sauerkraut and a promise for a ride on the Audubon in his speedy BMW, the company car.  I have learned little German expressions like “That is not my beer” instead of, that is not my cup of tea.  And of course, some earnest sharing in the area of the history of Nazi Germany, Michael sharing that at least for the next 200 years Germans will be compelled to be as kind and friendly to others as possible.

In the quiet, safe village of Hilpertsau it is taking me a little time to adjust to the idea that… there is no crime.  They leave their doors open and, according to Michael… there are no guns.  Well, perhaps he said some old rusty hunting gun owned by a grandpa down the street, long forgotten about.  My years of living in New Orleans at times hearing gun fire down the street, or hearing about  murder in my own neighborhood have put me a little on edge… a little walking through the world feeling protective.

Today the Black Forest awaits me.  Much to explore.  Waiting to see how the weather unfolds… perhaps a day for a hike.  But undoubtedly I am … grateful.  Grateful for some sweetness and kindness of a generous warm family, a softness and good spirit in the air, and…a little adventurous spirit in me!

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