I went on a little weekend trip to a small village near the border of Neidersachen (the ''state'' I live in now) and Nord-Something Westphalia. I can't remember the name exactly of the state. It is here that my neighbor Birdgit (who taught me German back home in Lima) grew up. Her mother still lives there and I spent a couple days with her. It was very interesting. The barns and houses in this little village, called Frille, are absolutely beautiful.. and are very typical german with the wooden beams in the walls and the quotes written over the doors. The nearby city, called Minden, was also very beautiful and has a rather large Cathedral for it's size (only 80,000 people). There is a lot of history in the area, ranging from the 30 Years War, Charlemagne, a sizable Catholic influence, and the 2nd World War.
The city and countryside were absolutely destroyed when the Allies bombed Germany. It is unbelievable to see what the damage was from pictures and to listen to some of the stories of people who lived durning those hard times. It also rather frighten's me to know that the Americans even bombed small villages like Esens. What reason would there ever be to lay waste to every organized town, city, and village in a country? I got a first hand acount (from both Birdgit's mother and from a museum we visited) the absolute devestation Germany experienced and the hardships. Only a very small glimpse, but enough to make my skin crawl. It also makes me realize why WWII was supposed to be the war to end all wars. I learned an awful lot in the past 2 days. It is hard to put to words exactly everything and how I feel. Hearing things like ''We didn't know they were burning the Jews'' makes your heart skip a beat.
But other than that... there were lot of other things we did. There was a record player in my room (more of a huge, extremely comfortable and cozy living room tucked into an upstairs corner) and we played christmas songs for an hour or so friday night. I also watched a chistmas program from Bavaria (and am extremely glad I was not sent to Bavaria!... although they have a lot of pretty snow). And a little old Russian lady (over 80!) that lives across the street came over for breakfast sunday morning and we all walked to church together. A Russian accent in German is really tough to understand, although not at all uncommon. There were Russians that I met only last weekend on the train who were going for vacation here in East Frisa! Fancy that... but I guess it is a lot warmer here than Russia at the moment. The little old lady in Frilla came to Germany about 10 years ago with her family. She is rather really adorable. But I feel sorry for her. She has the same teary eyes as the germans I met in East Germany. Although I think they are due more to the unfortune that her 25 year old daughter is dying of cancer. She is, however, still very adorable in a small and dainty with a determined little heart, little old grandmotherly way. I can only imagine what she has seen in her years.
I can only say it was a very unique and inspiring experience to visit ''Oma'' here in Deutschland.