Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February 3, 2010: Germany, part five: the second weekend

Saturday, January 30th, had been planned for months: the M family, who used to live in Germany but had since moved to Belgium and then on to England, was going to be in Germany for the weekend, so planned to come to breakfast. Then my brother-and-law and his wife were going to drive from Hessen (well over three hours one way) to have lunch and spend the afternoon with us. Well, a few weeks ago, the M family had already let us know that they unfortunately weren't going to make it to Germany after all, so I was able to arrange for my friend Andrea (who was, like Caro, one of "my" first mothers at my La Leche League meetings) and her family to come for breakfast. Silas is 14 months younger than Katie, but although Katie is by no means petite, he was taller than she was when she was two and he was one--now at not quite 3 1/2 he towers over her. And seven-week-old Carlotta could easily pass for a four-month-old! Just before they arrived, my brother-in-law called to say that after 45 minutes of shoveling snow, he still couldn't get his car out of the driveway, so they weren't going to be able to come after all, so we ended up inviting Andrea and Christian to stay for lunch, as well, and telephoned another family, Amanda and Raymond with their two-year-old Isaac, to come for coffee. Just as Andrea and her family were leaving, Amanda and Raymond arrived. They weren't able to stay long, but it was very pleasant, and having a quiet evening wasn't bad, either.

Sunday, January 31st: Jörn and Jacob left at 8:30 in Brad's car for the first service at our church, as Jörn was sharing at both services, and the rest of us joined them for the second service. We had a "faith lunch" (IBCD-ese for pot-luck) afterwards, so got to spend more time with a lot of people we wouldn't otherwise have seen, and as our family was told to go through the line first, we even got to eat something! (At our good-bye party, people were talking to us non-stop and by the time I got to go get food, a lot of people had already had seconds and there was no meat left, no bread, and not a lot of much else, either, so I confess to having much appreciated getting to go first this time.) We stayed until just about everyone had left, and then realized that if we left then, we would be 45 minutes too early to the M family's house in Dinslaken, which is WAY too early to arrive at a German home. (Five minutes at the most is acceptable, generally.) Judy pointed out that Daniel was sleeping and we'd be more than welcome to come hang out with her for awhile, which we very happily did. We'd been hoping to have lunch with her the week before, but she'd had to cancel because she wasn't feeling well, so it was great getting to spend some time with just her.

We then drove to Dinslaken for coffee and cake at Frank and Ulla's, with their three children, Daniel, Christina, and Benjamin. They used to live in Mülheim and I knew Ulla from Mutter-Kind-Kreis, but they'd moved to Dinslaken quite awhile ago (about six years ago, I think). However, we've kept in touch all this time, mostly with phone calls, and a very few-and-far-between visits. The last time they visited us they only had Benjamin with them, who is a year older than Lukas, so most of the children didn't even remember Daniel (18) and Christina (15). In the car Katie asked me again where we were going (it's been rather confusing to the children in any case!), and when I said "to Ulla and Frank, with their children Daniel, Christina, and Benjamin," she said, "No, the papa's name is Thomas!" I repeated all their names, not understanding at all why she was so sure that Frank must be Thomas...until Marie pointed out that our friends the H family, Ute and Thomas, who have seven children, also have a Daniel, a Christina, and a Benjamin! And "Ute" sounds pretty similar to "Ulla", so I could then understand quite well why Katie was so convinced that I had "the papa's" name wrong. :-)

Except for the tuba demonstration (Benjamin is learning to play the tuba, and for all I know, is doing very well, but it happened to be Jacob and Lukas doing the demontration...), we enjoyed the afternoon very much, and being "just us" for dinner for the second evening in a row once we got home wasn't bad either. Not that I actually had any dinner--once again, we had been completely filled up with the wonderful German "coffee and cake" time, which never, but never, includes only one type of cake, and obviously, one wants to taste the various types, all home-made. Far too delicious. Most of the others didn't eat much--except for Jacob, of course. And then we all, as always, collapsed into bed.

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