December 2nd, 2018
I hope you had an enjoyable Thanksgiving and a good start into the holiday season. The days are short, and it is cold outside. But the snow and all the seasonal activities make it a wonderful time of the year.
I’m looking forward to celebrating the Advent season, symbolized by an evergreen wreath in my house. The wreath has 4 candles, symbolizing hope, peace, joy and love. The first candle is lit on the first Sunday of December. Then, on each subsequent Sunday, an additional candle is lit. So, when Christmas comes, all four candles will have been lit. Today is the First Advent and I have just lit the first candle.
Colors of Advent
In a nutshell, November was a busy month. The midterm elections took place on November 6th, and the 100th anniversary of World War I was on the 11th. This month, I also enjoyed great food with friends and family, played some great tennis matches, and had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration in New York.
November 6th, election day
Our family had arrived in Minnesota in December 1992. Therefore, this is our 26th anniversary! Becoming a US citizen was not a simple decision for me. But finally, in 2006, I became a citizen. Before that I had to learn about the history and the constitution of the country and then pass a test.
I still remember the naturalization ceremony. It was a very emotional event and I had felt both joy and pride. I am also thankful to my family, friends and co-workers for their presence at the ceremony. Later, I had received a letter from president George Bush, congratulating me for becoming a part of a great and blessed Nation. Since my naturalization, I’m able to participate in the electoral process and it makes me happy to participate in democracy.
It was exactly one hundred years ago, that the World War I had ended. I grow up in Germany. My grandfather was a soldier in World War I, and later, in World War II, my father and uncles had to fight too. Since then, I’m the first generation in my family not to have to fight in a war. The heritage from my grandparents and parents were their memories of wars, losses and griefs. This is superbly expressed in the poem “Der gute Kamerad” (The Good Comrade) by Ludwig Uhland (1809), which is now a traditional lament of the German Armed Forces. It tells about the experience of a soldier losing a comrade in battle, detached from all political or national ideology.
The good Comrade
I had a comrade, and a better one you could not find. They beat on the drums to sound the battle, and he went by my side step for step at the same pace. A bullet came flying: was it meant for me or you?
It tore him away and he lay at my feet as if he were a part of me. He wanted still to reach me his hand, but I had to load my musket just then. I cannot give you my hand - may you rest in eternal peace, my good comrade!
In November I had great food with friends and family. I went to the Stammtisch at the GAI (German American Institute) and enjoyed Helga's culinary German cuisine. Looking forward to the next Stammtisch with great food and conversations.
What a game! I had no idea when I had started to play how complex tennis is. OK, I played tennis a long time ago but without understanding its complexity. Now, I’m discovering its technical, strategic and physical parts. The most difficult part is to decide how to play in less than half a second on every played shot. I play in two leagues, singles and doubles. There are big differences between those games. Tennis single is the battle of two competing players whereas tennis double is a team effort. There is a huge benefit to double matches, to have a friend to shares the ups and downs, fighting and laughing together. Picture Post from Fernanda: Victory today in doubles. Picture with coach Paul.
We had to celebrate our victory and Fernanda invited me to a Brazilian restaurant. This was the first time for me to eat Brazilian food. It was delicious. Thank you, Fernanda!
Thanksgiving in New York
This year we celebrated Thanksgiving in New York together with our son Ilias. I was a little bit nervous having to travel during Thanksgiving, but everything went fine. The highlight for us was of course spending time with our son. We went to a restaurant for the TG dinner. It had great food and exceptional service. The wine menu included wines from Château Petrus and Château Lafite Rothschild, with one bottle for $ 5,000. We didn’t order it, but may be on my 100th birthday! We ordered a lot of food and one dish was better than the other one. The restaurant was busy, and everyone was happy. We finished the dinner with Rasmalai, a nicely presented dessert.
Later, when I had shared this with my best friend Henriette, she told me that this was a Michelin star restaurant. I learned something, had a great time and a wonderful TG!