Our German conversation group has been in existence for over 20 years now, started by a lady from the German Embassy; I joined it in 1996. There's something very worthwhile in our Thursday mornings together. It's not so much our shared interest in the German language as the mutual affection. Every summer we take a break and tend to miss one another's company. In the autumn the group resumes its weekly get-togethers at one another's houses. From time to time we do have male guests or a hostess' husband join in, but we're basically a group of women.
Last Thursday we went to Abla's house for our first Konversation of the season; Lolan, Sue and I arrived a few minutes late and the friendly atmosphere in the room when we walked in was palpable. Everyone was smiling. Two new ladies had been invited along and seemed to appreciate the genuine warmth of their welcome.
|Eight of us together last June|
My responsibility is usually to bring along something to read and talk about, but, on this occasion, the obvious thing to do was to introduce ourselves to the newcomers, one at a time, and have them tell us about themselves. Since 15 of us were present, this took nearly an hour, so there wasn't time for any reading, although I did have copies of a funny article from Der Spiegel in my bag, that Uschi had found for us, about snails. We'll get round to it next week.
Since the group began, we have been expressing ourselves in German to various degrees of fluency. For some it's their mother tongue; others are just beginning to use the language. It struck me as worth recording who's part of this, and where we all come from. In the circle last week, for instance, were Rosemary, Leila, Lolan, Judith, Christiane, Luci, Ursula, Elvira, Vija, Johanna, Abla, Sue, Nadia, Mira, Uschi and me. Barbara, Dagmar, Tatiana, Ulli and Paule were missing. Only Sue is a native-born Canadian (and even then, her mother is German); the rest of us in the current group are from Germany (5 ladies), from the USA, Egypt, China, Austria, Luxembourg, Brazil, Switzerland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Lebanon, Italy (Mira's family is Polish, though) Russia and England (me). We're expecting a Czech lady to join us soon, and a lovely person from the Slovak Republic left us to return home this summer. The other one we were really sorry to say goodbye to, this year, went home to Portugal. In the past, we've had Konversationsgruppe members from distant countries like Myanmar, Benin, New Zealand, India and Japan, as well. I remember others from Estonia, Croatia, Macedonia, Belgium, Ireland, the Ukraine ...
Das, was wir miteinander gemeinsam haben, ist unser Gefühl von anderswo.