Friends! Hello! It’s been a few days! I assure you I am alive and well. For my last few days in Germany, I wanted to soak up everything and took the time off from blogging, I am back now and am recapping my last couple of days in Hannover.
6 January 2019
Neele and I said farewell to Berlin and took the train back to Hannover where her mom, Ute, picked us up. For the duration of the afternoon, Neele and I relaxed and I did some laundry. We shared with Dirk and Ute our adventures and my photographs. At this point, I was on day three of having no voice so Dirk teased me and told me “I left my voice in Berlin.”
In the evening, myself, Neele, and her parents went out to dinner at a Spanish restaurant. The Lange’s Spanish friend was going to join us, however, a family matter came up so I was unable to meet him. Next time! We chatted, ate tapas for dinner, and I drank my first German beer! I will not fool you though, my drink was a traditional half and half concoction of beer and sprite. Neele suggested I order this drink because German beer has a distinct taste that most likely the non-drinking American would not enjoy. I am glad I have Neele watching out for me. She suggests all of the good German food and drinks (not lying!) The half and half concoction was delicious and I highly recommend ordering it if you are not a huge beer drinker.
7 January 2019
Another morning of relaxing, laundry, and catching up on sleep!
After a lunch of kebab, Neele, Ute, and I drove to see Oma (Ute’s mother, Neele’s grandmother) at her apartment retirement community.
Once we arrived, Oma greeted me with a firm handshake, huge smile, and a ‘Hallo!’ Neele played translator between everyone, since Oma does not speak any English. I was given a tour of the apartment and saw the CUTEST pictures of a toddler-size Neele. Oma beamed with pride and happiness when she showed me photos of her grandchildren. We then sat down to have some afternoon coffee and cake. Oma had the table set with the blue and white china, matching paper blue napkins, and dessert forks. We ate cake, chatted, and smiled. When we wrapped up our tea and cake, Oma presented me with a gift. I was so touched by the gesture. She gave me German chocolate and a pair of knitted sock/slippers (I have since coined the term “sloppers” for them: a fusion of slippers + socks.) I will forever wear my sloppers with pride, Oma!
What I found so beautiful about the whole afternoon is that communication can still occur despite a language barrier. Gratitude, happiness, compassion, and more can be conveyed through gestures, smiling, and touch. To me, interactions where neither persons know what are going on are profound and powerful because you come to the realization that all humans are the same. Skin color, language, socioeconomic status, body type, and nationality are merely labels and characteristics. Despite appearance, upbringing, and education, all of humanity wants to be loved and respected both of which can be conveyed without words. We, meaning the world and its people, all smile in the same language. Never forget that, friends!
Ute, Neele, and I headed back to Hannover. We dropped Ute off at home and Neele and I went to the grocery store to buy wine and cigarettes for a get-together with Neele’s friend, Nadine. I learned wine is very inexpensive at the grocery store and that cigarettes are dispensed through a dispenser at the checkout. Above the checkout belt is a metal cabinet with the different types of cigarettes. You simply press the button for the type you would like and they slide down a little chute onto the conveyor belt. No attendant needed like in the United States.
Once 7 o’clock rolled around, Neele and I trekked through her neighbors’ yards to Nadine’s house. Neele and Nadine cooked Thai chicken curry. While dinner cooked, we drank wine, talked, and listened to German music on Spotify. Neele and I did not leave until 12 am. The evening was relaxed, fun, and a time I will never forget.
Leave a positive impression,