Friday, January 27, 2006

19th Century living!... or may just simply country life




I finally remembered to take some pictures while it is light out. I got a few of the windmills and one of the house. There are 3 windparks right nearby, one to the east and to the west of the house, one lonely little windmill right behind the house, and a larger one closer to the coast that cannot be seen from the house. Literally windmills in every direction. Each windpark has between 20-50 windmills. Like normal, you can click on the pictures to make them bigger.

The house is taken from the south side... I know that because it is positioned exactly north-south-east-west. The sun is still up (only 6 hours of light in the winter!... 6 hours of ''dark'' in the summer... but even then it is not total darkness) so I couldn't take a picture from the north. The right hand door on the balcony goes to my room. I found a hammock under the couch yesterday that can be tied up there as well. Since it faces south, lots of good sun! The computer and piano room is on the corner, right under my room, and the two windows on the corner belong to that room as well. The kitchen is the middle window in the front of the house and the back window on the side of the house belongs to the living room. It doesn't look like it from the picture, but the house is surrounded by country side, as far as the eye can see. The neighbors own a lot of cows and so sometimes you get some real nice ''country air,'' but always fresh milk! We get eggs and chickens from some people further up the road. All the other types of meat we buy at the store, but only relatively local (ostfriesland) meat and vegatables are sold here. I think we get more tractor traffic on the road here than cars.

Wednesday was Clemens birthday, so the neighbors came over for dinner. It's been freezing the past two weeks (-7 degrees Celsius!) and the roads were really icy wednesday morning, so school got cancelled, of course, an hour after we got there, so Clemens had to come and get us. He played taxi most of the day, unfortunately. But back to dinner, dinner was great because Brigitte made a lasagna (it was almost as good as mom's at home!!) and I had this really good red wine. Everyone was really friendly, but I had a horrible time understanding what was being said because mostly plattdeutsch was spoken the whole night. It is very unfortunate to discover German is useless in Germany. Of course if the schools here would teach in platt, then I would have no problems, but the Gymnasiums (high schools) have to prepare for standardized testing and globalization. In fact a new law was just passed that eliminates the 11th year of school (the year that most german students go abroad because it is the lightest) and now all Gymnasium students in Niedersachsen have only 12 years of schooling. My head master claims that after gymnasium students (not all students go to high school, about 2/3 go to varying levels of vocational schools and apprenticeship programs) finish school, and then add a year of mandated military service (or community service disguised as cheep labor in many cases), and then Universtiy schooling, which takes several years longer due to class size and financial limitations, kids aren't getting into the work fields and starting a life until about 30. Therefore, Niedersachen is attempting to ''globalize'' their school system. And apparently, all the other West German states are following suit. The East German states already have 12 years in their Gymnasium program because of Soviet control.

But back to platt... you see, I just don't understand, when Ostfriesland is such an isolated, unique area of Germany, and STILL is a remote farming and costal culture (up until 30 years ago, everyone still used metal fire stoves and a lot of the kitchen and farm tools that Americans used at the end of the 1800's... excepting, ''modern'' versions... and many people still use some of the things...but mostly the people really out in the country.... like Roggestede. They aren't common anymore, but not impossible to find), then wouldn't it be easier to still use the FARMING and COASTAL language of the land? I wish I could be learning platt and german at the same time. But that is simply not possible. I guess my use of Hochdeutsch will forever make me a stranger in this land. Hochdeutsch (regular german) is the language of the tourists and the young. It finally makes sense to me why all these American influences bother me so much.... because it is simply so out of place. (However, everytime I have been in a city environment... the '''americanized, world cluture just seems to fit in and be the norm). On the other hand, I always wanted to know what it is like to live in the 18oo's. I always thought it would be interesting. Well... to be honest, it's really not that extreme here, but I'm privalleged to get a modern glimpse of it. To be serious... it's actually somewhat charming. And it proves to me that it is possible to live a more down to earth, natural lifestyle in a modern society.

As for other things, i'm leaving for France to visit Trevor Kellogg tomorrow, so I got a few last minute things I still got to do and hopefully slip in some tea time as well! Until later....

4 comments:

Grandpa Volzer said...

DARN IT, I HIT THE WRONG KEY AGAIN !!!!! And it was such an interesting comment, too. Stay safe and have fun. Grandpa V.

Grandpa Volzer said...

When you are at Wooster and want some of that feeling, you only have to travel 30km south to Amish territory. Do you remember any trips there? They live a basic type lifestyle. Also on my LGB train layout, I have a German farmhouse erily like your host has. Of course since it was a German company that made it, it should look like that. Just a side note. Love Grampa V. and I darn well better NOT hit the wrong key again !!!!

David said...

Don't worry, you'll get it sooner or later gandpa, haha. very interesting to see the windmill parks. Seems like you're having an excellent time, and have a lot of fun with trevor this week!

Grandma M. said...

OOPS! I missed seeing this before you left for France. Too busy caring for Grandpa, I guess. I love seeing the pictures of your new home and area. Be prepared for lots of questions from Grandpa on windmills!! We, too, experienced different dialects in language when living in Europe. Keeps you guessing, right?