Sunday, April 24, 2011


It seems like I am redefining that word everyday. Does it lie in the place that you live?  In the people that you know or love?  In the connections you make with real people in this world?  Can community truly be found on the internet like the creators of Facebook would like you to think? 

Since moving to Germany I have had trouble finding community.  The definitions of it that I am used to don't seem to apply here, as far as I have seen.  Their are no friendly families watering their gardens and waving hello as you take your morning jog.  And, neighbors tend to try and avoid each other instead of stopping in for a cup of sugar and a little gossip.  I once went into a small gift/decor shop in town and started rambling on in broken German about how I loved all things birds and the shopkeeper seemed to get embarrassed hearing so much personal information about my decorating preferences.  It's certainly a far cry from the friendly, warm faces that work my favorite used book shop in Auburn or the neighborhood restaurant that I went to with my parents while I was home for Christmas.  The waiter there not only greeted my parents with a handshake and huge smile but also with their favorite beers served just the way they like them (out of the bottle). 

The lack of a friendly smile or a cheery "good morning" has, on occasion, made me feel sad over here in my adoptive home.  But, I have done my best to find community in new places.  Take for instance the German course that I took this fall and winter.  We had our own little community there.  We shared differences and similarities; recipes and good advice; (broken) conversation and the challenges of being foreigners.  In the coldness that can be Germany, our little class could be a warm, comforting shelter from the storm. 

And while I don't think I will ever believe that the Internet is a good substitute for the real deal, it can offer a bit of extra community when you need it.  That is something I have also noticed since moving to Germany.  Take for example the hundreds of blogs devoted to answering the questions of American's abroad.  But, by far my favorite right now is a blog called Haus Maus by Holly Becker.  Holly is an American decorator and writer living in Hannover.  She also has a great decorating blog called decor8 that I just love.  She has proved to me that it isn't always as hard to decorate in Germany as I always complain it is because she has done a great job on her place and has even written a book. 

But, I am getting off track.  What I love about Holly Becker's blog is how much I can identify with her and her German journey.  From dealing with the cold dark winters to relying on the people you love, she knows what it is like to be far from home and to forge your own unique path through unfamiliar territory.  She's definitely a role model and a woman truly succeeding in a situation that could bring others down.  Now, I don't think I am so lucky as to even have two people read this blog (well, excluding my mom and dad), but I like to think that I am adding to that community. 

No matter where you are, there are always good days and bad ones.  And it's the people that you can rely on to share your ups and downs that make it worth it.   They may serve you a coffee in the morning and brighten your day with a smile or they may sit down in their own living room one morning and share story about navigating a foreign country with a couple thousand of their closest friends.  They are your community and with out them life would be lonely and sad. 

Now, in honor of Easter, here are some pictures from this beautiful, warm and breezy weekend we have been having. 
Peter enjoying the sun.

Me enjoying the sun...and trying to get used to the bangs.

The new "thing" in Germany: slack lining.

Beautiful blossoming trees in the small fountain garden near our apartment.

Hofgarten, Coburg.

Me and a lazy eye. 

Spring flowers at home.  

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