blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Conversations in German and other distractions

It isn't that I've been doing nothing, while not blogging. On Maundy Thursday, or, in German, Gründonnerstag, 18 members of our German conversation group met at the German Ambassador's house for an Easter brunch, to read an article about Easter eggs and talk about the Easter or springtime traditions in our various places of origin (Czechoslovakia, Egypt, China, Britain, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal ...); that was a pleasant occasion among affectionate friends.

Abla, Gloria, me, Sue, Ursula: Gründonnerstag 2015
German speaking friends bei Gloria, with cake to
celebrate the fact that the German group is now 20 years old
The following week, at Gloria's house, I chose Die Andere Heimat, Edgar Reitz' (latest) film, about 19th century German emigrants to Brazil, as the subject for discussion, a subject that resonated with us, because most of us in the group have come from places far away, and at Abla's house on the 16th we read extracts from a little book by Luci's German cousin: Eine Kindheit im Krieg––Erinnerungen 1938-1945. That got us talking about our various but not dissimilar personal memories or (grand)parents' stories of childhood and wartime, in Poland, Latvia, Crete, Cairo, Alexandria, Germany (Hildesheim, München), Canada. Uschi's father and mine, for example, had both been prisoners of war, but on different sides, and I commented on the marvel that here we all were, now, sharing these things as friends, and someone said, "Oh yes, we were enemies, once." (Damals waren wir Feinde.)

On the way home from Lachute: view over PTN's nose
On Easter Sunday Chris and I flew PTN to Lachute and back and the following weekend on the 12th we had a flight to Kingston and back and a walk and picnic at Lemoine Point on the shore of Lake Ontario from which the winter's ice was fast disappearing. Lovely views, on both occasions. Last weekend Uschi and her husband Jörn came for their own flight in PTN, and revelled in their views too.

Ice melting from the Mississippi River, near Almonte

View of Collins Bay, Lake Ontario, from Lemoine Point

Edge of the lake ice, seen on take-off from Kingston
The weather has been warm!

Otherwise, I've been busy with the first of the year's gardening jobs and by our preparations for China, our two requests for a Chinese Visa for instance, which took days to process at the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre on Laurier Avenue, costing $290. I've been revising the Chinese phrases I know and trying to learn some more, thanked the girl behind the counter for her help in Mandarin (saying xiexie nide bangzhu), but she chuckled and told me I needed to do more practice, so obviously my pronunciation leaves something to be desired. At least we now have our passports back with the requisite stamps in them.

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