Looking ahead, looking behind

Marla and I were looking at our calendar this week, trying to see what was ahead of us. It seemed like our time was running out, despite having more than three months left. I think it has mostly to do with some weekend travel plans during the warmer months ahead. But it seems now like the last six months have gone by quite quickly. Our daily/weekly routines have become quite normal and it seems difficult to remember what our Winnipeg routines were like.

It has been gratifying to see the progress many of our students have made. Some have left us to join formal classes and have returned quite confident and comfortable speaking German. And many return to our monthly potlucks just to say hi. We realize that not everyone will stay around to learn German, but we hope that Friedenshaus will remain a place where new and old visitors will feel welcome.

We enjoyed our second Sewing Circle this evening. While Marla and Jen were downstairs working on quilts, I was able to spend my time with some of the children. We played games, drew a bit and just hung out together. It’s lovely to see these children enjoying growing up in a safe place, going to school and simply “being kids”. I shudder to imagine where some of them have been and what they’ve experienced. But this evening, they were just kids.

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In class earlier today, we discussed a song by a German group called “Die Prinzen”. The song (“Deutschland ist”/Germany is) discusses the many aspects of German life in a humorous but also critical way. And in the chorus, the band shares that “all of this is Germany”. I asked my students to reflect how they would complete the sentence “Germany is….” Many mentioned safety, protection for our children, order, respect for elders. I asked them to consider how Germany might look in twenty years and how they have an opportunity to complete that sentence themselves and shape the future of this country. I certainly look forward to seeing how Germany will change with time.

German Word of the Week: “Sicherheitskontrolle” (security check). When our students mentioned security as something “Germany is”, we were reminded of our visit to a soccer game on Saturday. On the way in, security guards (standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the entrance) let us know that we could not bring our backpacks in. We had packed some extra jackets and snacks and thought they would simply look in the bags, but we had to walk back and check our bags for 5 €. If you have nothing to hide, security should be comforting. But …

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