The weekend after the Greece trip we stayed in town. We've made a tradition now of having pancakes on the weekends we are home (it's not many so we weren't being too unhealthy). The only chocolate chips available here are teeny and come in a very small and expensive box. So we have taken to making M&M or Smarties pancakes, a la Ye Olde Waffle (the Tarheels know). Smarties, for those who may not know, are the Euro version of M&Ms. However, I feel there is something off about them--they don't exactly taste the same...
After our pancakes, we had a leisurely day of reading or computer time and then joined my co-worker and her husband for dinner. She teaches the other sections of medical English with me and is also an American. She's been here five years now since she married a German man back in the States. It was nice to have a dinner in Marburg and spend time with another couple. We tried to connect with my husband's family who were all in California for my brother-in-law's graduation from medical school. Turned out they were trying so hard to talk to us because said brother-in-law was now engaged to his "med-school sweetheart". He and his fiancée are planning a wedding for next summer :-)
Sunday was low-key as well, with a walk by the river. There is a nice path near our house and we even found a mini-golf course back there. We had an early dinner and then headed into town to find a place to watch the soccer/football game with a crowd. As we were looking over the drink menu, a woman approached and was looking at us. I don't really know many people where we live (obviously) and I thought this was weird. My husband finally looked up and said hello--he knew her from work. She and her husband were on their way to see an outdoor play, but they stopped to join us for a drink. Very nice couple, he's French. It's very strange to begin seeing people we know. In our first week, I began to recognize some of the same people out and about. Our town really is pretty small. But now my husband has run into at least three colleagues while we are out. We're simply not used to even listening for our names because we assume we know no one so I think people we see think we are strange for acting so shocked to know someone.
During the week I conducted two interviews with holistic practitioners in the area for a school assignment. Turns out one of the practitioners knew an American who owned an apartment we had considered renting. Six degrees of separation they say? It has been a bit harder for me to do my schoolwork that involves looking at my community while we are living here, but it has given me the opportunity to learn more than I would have ordinarily and also to meet more people.
This past weekend we were home again. More pancakes, and then we attended a small family birthday party for our landlord. We had had a short visit with the couple the weekend before when we brought them the olive oil we had gotten for them in Greece. They really don't speak English, but their daughter (who lives in the same building) was there and also another daughter who lives in Frankfurt. It was enough for translating and we all learned from each other. We felt very welcomed and a part of the family. Wanting to contribute something cultural, we brought chocolate chip cookies I made from a mix found in the "America" section of the grocery store. They certainly don't live up to our homemade variety we are used to making, but our hosts didn't know the difference and seemed to really enjoy them. We decided the biggest difference was that they clearly didn't contain vanilla--I know the difference since I accidentally made a batch of cookies without it once. (They don't have vanilla extract here, by the way.) We also brought our landlord potted red gerbera daisies we bought at the farmer's market that morning. And we ran into the previously mentioned American from whom we almost rented the apartment. I am no longer surprised.
Monday afternoon I went to the local Christian hospital to observe in the labor and delivery and gynecology units. My German conversation partner is a GYN and new one of the doctors there from school and had asked her to show me around. It was really very nice of her and I learned a few things that are a different from the US, but we are pretty similar. Afterwards we were talking and knowing how small the world really is now, I asked if she knew the American with whom I teach medical English. Yes, she knew her. Of course, I thought.
Tuesday night I taught my second to last class of medical English. The students were doing presentations on controversial issues in medicine and they really did very well. Since a couple are unable to attend the last class, they presented me with a "thank you" gift that night--an Universität Marburg hoodie:-) I was very touched.
Brice is out of town this week so I'm trying to make the most of my alone time. The landlord's daughter invited me to join her, her boyfriend and other friends for the game tonight at the biergarten across the street so as long as the weather is nice I'll probably do that. My traveler husband has been planning a trip to Heidelberg for us this weekend so we'll leave Saturday morning for just an overnight.
In just a few weeks we'll have our first visitors--my parents! They are busy planning for their first trip to Europe and they are so excited.
Now that we're all caught up on what's happening with us I'll be posting some reviews of the books I've been reading so stay tuned for those. Thanks for sticking with me through this longer-than-I-expected-it-to-be update!