Goodbye, Mühlheim!

FEG
This was my last work week at FEG. The kids celebrated with me a little, my landlady said goodbye, and I had a lovely Abschiedsfeier (farewell party) with my colleagues and several of my local friends today. I will treasure my time in Germany as long as I live. Auf Wiedersehen, Deutschland!

Marienkirche

MarienkircheIt’s not every day that I can see an entire cathedral through a window in a stone wall. Gelnhausen offers this unusual experience to tourists who are interested enough to hike up a hill, climb some stairs, and search for this particular view.

Gelnhausen

DSC_0363mod
Another of my coworkers, Britta, invited me along to attend a “public viewing” in Gelnhausen. While that might sound morbid, the phrase “public viewing” is actually Denglisch for a sports screening. I would be missing an important facet of German culture if I didn’t attend at least one of these during the World Cup. It’s also the only time of year that Germans fly their national flags out of house windows and on cars.

I’ve been informed that there’s a game between Germany and the USA on Thursday. Part of me wants to show up to a screening with an American flag cape, just to see how many people throw things at me. Then again, maybe not.

A Bit of Serendipity


One perk of having attended an international high school is that my old classmates seem to pop up wherever I go.

Last week, an alum from my high school found me on LinkedIn and got in contact to say she, too, was spending time in Germany, and then suggested we meet up for a day trip in Würzburg. Turns out she and I both teach English, were embassy brats, graduated in ’08, and had the same summer internship with the same boss. How did we not cross paths until now?

Festspiele

Festspiele
Distracted by raucous flute and drum music, I’d look out the living room window of this family’s museum-house and see 17th century soldiers marching down the street. We had made it out here in time for the Festspiele, in which people theatrically recreate the culture and events of the 1630s in Franconia– specifically, the siege of Rothenburg.

In principle, this celebration is comparable to a Renaissance Fair, except it’s (somewhat) more historically accurate and (tragically) lacking in men who wear kilts.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Markus Tower, Rothenburg
A very generous FEG family invited me to join them on a weekend trip to their vacation home in Rothenburg, a lovely corner of Bavaria where people insist they are Franconians, not Bavarians. As we drove in, it was clear that the town is a tourist haven because of its sprawling and very well-preserved Altstadt– which is exactly where we stopped, right between all the hundreds-of-years-old architecture, and disembarked in front of a looming entryway with a doorknob in the middle like a hobbit hole.

“Here we are!”

The house we stayed in was a relic full of ancient portraits, spiral staircases, and collected artifacts, not to mention a few modern additions like a refrigerator and WiFi router. In other words, we overnighted in a museum.

Side note: That is a stork’s nest by the Markus Tower in the Altstadt. That stork looks pretty cozy up there.

Austausch/Exchange

Is it possible to teach English and learn German at the same time? Here’s one attempt at it, anyway. The conversation is very slow and awkward, but it picks up pace about halfway through and touches on topics such as language immersion, grammar, dialects, and stereotypes.