I know this blog title may seem like “rubbing it in” to our friends and family back in Winnipeg, but the weather has definitely turned a corner here in Germany. The days are getting longer (we finally moved our clocks forward this past weekend) and the temperatures are climbing consistently higher each week. And just like back home, everyone is itching to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. And there’s no grey boulevards full of salt, sand and snow.
We had our monthly potluck again – this week on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. We didn’t expect to see everyone there, so when approx. 40 people joined us, it felt good to share food and even sit outside together. It certainly had a different feel than during the colder months when people were itching to get out of the house and meet others. After clean up, Marla and I went for a walk and saw so many people out strolling and enjoying the greening trees and blooming flowers.
After church on Sunday, we jumped on our bikes and set out for Bad Dürkheim, a pretty town located approx. 25 km away along the “Wine route”. After arriving, we sought out a hiking trail which gave us a lovely view of Ludwigshafen, back east where we came from. The trails in Germany are usually well marked, but one still needs a map to read them correctly. It was fortunate that I had my phone along with a “Map App” (thank you Jonah) that helped us find our way back to where our bikes were locked.
It seemed that everyone else in the area had the same idea as we stood in line to get our ice cream. We needed to refuel for our ride home. So many families were out on the bike trails enjoying the day. Germans take their Sundays very seriously. Since most stores (other than cafes and ice creams shops) are closed, hiking and biking are almost mandatory activities for Germans – (besides sitting outside at cafes)!
And, almost as expected, Monday morning found our classes a little smaller as well. We supposed it was harder to come out and spend the morning inside when the days are so nice. This afternoon, I had to think back to my students back home, who beg to go outside for class as soon as we hit double-digit temperatures! It didn’t take much to convince me to have our class outside today. Our advanced class was reviewing new vocabulary to use when discussing “Streit mit Nachbarn” (conflict with neighbours). This topic came up last week when one student shared his frustrations with sharing a room, while trying to study at the same time. So, in truly Anabaptist fashion, I am introducing Conflict Resolution to our instruction. (Or perhaps one should simply leave to avoid the conflict – another Anabaptist theme for another day). Hopefully, we can learn to mediate some conflicts in German.
German Word(s) of the Week: “die Nachbarschaftsstreitigkeiten” (neighbourhood conflicts). Besides being a great German compound word, it encompasses all the things that can happen when people live in close quarters. You can suffer from “Lärmbelästigung” (noise annoyance) or “Schlafstörung” (sleep disturbance) and need to express how these things are “beunruhigen” (upsetting) you. Everyone in an apartment building needs to follow the “Hausordnung” (house rules) in order for people to get along. Especially when someone has a different “Toleranzschwelle” (level of tolerance) than you have. In the end, it’s all about “Zuhören” (listening).