04 April 2010
daffodils on the Chapel lawn at Valpo, early morning
After Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day, it was not so strange anymore to not be with family for Easter. I have discovered a sort of quiet enjoyment with celebrating the holidays alone. Besides, I am never really alone - I have the comapany and fellowship of other people. In that way, I especially love the church I have found here. From the beginning the people have been welcoming and friendly, so despite the language differences sometimes, I have experienced comfort of being in the presence of another kind of family. And the holidays - well, some family has invited me over for each one of them, so I am never left alone in my room to pass the day away as if it is any other.
Unlike previous Easters, I had no chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, dying of eggs, and all the usual things that accompany the holiday - though I did buy myself a large bouquet of pink and white tulips, which lasted through the holy week. Instead, this Easter gave me the opportunity to celebrate it not as merely a holiday, but a true time of remembrance and joy. Here Germany (and especially down south here with the large Catholic population) you get all the major (and many of the minor) religious holidays off from work, which meant I had both Good Friday and Easter Monday free. My first true break from work since beginning. Ahhhh....it was relaxing!
Easter Sunday I went to church and then afterwards, Jon Larson (the other VIEP person here) and I went over to Julie Sheetz' house for a late lunch. Julie participated in both the Reutlingen and Tuebingen program while an adult scholar at Valpo in the 90's and lived in the German House (where I'll live next year), during its first year. She now lives permanently in German and works for Reutlingen Hochschule. It was really nice eat a nice hot meal and just sit and talk with another Valpo person. Plus we got to learn all about how pear schnapps are made, ha. Apparently they really do tie bottles on trees to get the pears to grow inside of the bottles.
We spent Easter Monday with the Nehring family, the same family I spent Christmas Eve with. Michael and Lydia have a beautiful 2nd floor house in a small village outside of Reutlingen, in the Swabian Alps, and two great children, Hannah and Daniel, who are always fun to play games with. Last time we were with them, we also got to meet John Pearson, who is from the US, and his wife and children. Michael plays guitar and John Pearson the mountain dulcimer, which he brought over. With Jon Larson on the djembe, we spent half of that evening just singing songs together. It was so refreshing and wonderful!
We didn't get to play songs this time. Instead, Guenther and Elizabeth (more friends from church) went with us to the Nehrings, where we first had lunch and then took a hike up to a local cave. Lunch was oh-so-typical-but-delicious German Swabian - green salad, homemade maultaschen and potato salad, and wiener wuerstchen. Yum Yum Yum. I'll give you an idea of what it all looks like:
Maultaschen (I call it the German ravioli):
Potato Salad (Lydia makes the best!):
Dessert, Mohnkuchen (poppyseed cake made by Elizabeth):
...and Sauer kirschkuchen (sour cherry cake, made by Hannah):
The day was full - lunch, hiking, trecking through the cave, stopping at the Kinderfest (children's festival), coffee and dessert, playing many rounds of UNO, talking about various things.... I go to work again tomorrow rested, relaxed, and thankful for the many friends who have welcomed me into their home so many times over the past months!
Jesus truly binds all nations and peoples with his love!
at 7:16 PM