Sunday, September 16, 2007
Every Wednesday and Sunday we have a farmer's market on the square (St. Johanner Markt). It is starting to get really beautiful with fall colors--flowers, pumpkins, zucchini and plums. Yesterday I got yogurt, goat cheese, strawberries, plums and mozzarella. They have German honey, local eggs/poultry/sausage...fruits from local orchards and vegetables from local farms. I absolutely love the atmosphere here. I hope they still have pumpkins when October rolls around...
Yesterday afternoon I was invited to an English teacher's house. I arrived around 4:00 and there were already some colleagues there. We started out with Kaffee und Kuchen, a typical German afternoon pastime. The coffee was great and there were atleast five different kinds of cake: plum cake, strawberry torte, some kind of nut cake, chocolate cake, and a regional specialty of Picardie (France). So delicious...
Then we played boules, or bocce ball. It was so much fun. They have this big sand box in their backyard for playing. Some of these guys were really, really good. For me it is mostly luck still, but some of them could stand at the edge of the box and throw their ball and exactly knock someone else's ball away, maybe 5 meters away. Wow.
By the way, this was pretty much all in French. The teachers are all from the German-French Gymnasium, and I think there were two to three native Germans and then four to six native French. It was so much fun...after boules I played "badminton" with this little girl for a while, who has a French and a German parent. We counted as we hit back and forth, first German and then French and then English...and then we played where you said a word every time you hit the birdie and the other person had to translate French-German or German-French. Man, that was hard to do so fast. I really enjoyed having a chance to practice my French speaking with all the other teachers.
After a few rounds of boules and ping-pong (yup, same word) we moved on to round two of the meal, which was very saarländisch. They have this kind of grill in the Saarland called a "Schwenker", which you place over a fire and the grill hangs on a tripod and swings over the flames to cook the meat. I actually just looked at Wikipedia and there's a picture if you want to see it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schwenker
We sat outside on an outdoor terrace, where they had a kind of heater on the table. It was just warm enough to be able to sit outside comfortably. For dinner we had Schwenkbraten, and of course two kinds of Wurst, a French specialty and a normal lighter-colored Wurst. With that there was a potato salad, melon, bread, green salad, red wine from Alsace...and then came the cheese course with five (!) kinds of cheeses. I love it. I love it. America needs to import some more food culture from France. Again the French language dominated the dinner table conversation, with occasional side-conversations in German about soccer between the two men at one end. It was such a great evening. Good to get to know some other teachers a bit outside of the teachers' lounge, and good to experience some local culture at a bilingual, bicultural home. I just feel so lucky to be in the Saarland where French and German come together and to have experiences like this one last night.