Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Home Again

Lulu clowning around

We hit Indian soil early yesterday morning. It was my first morning landing, because most of Lufthansa's flights from Germany normally get here after midnight or thereabouts. So now it is a return, from plush surroundings and well fed children and adults to foggy skies and babies abandoned in trains, kids getting run over by buses and shopkeepers and normal citizens getting mugged just by the way (all in today's papers).

Still, I am happy to be back, and put it down to the aging factor. Whereas earlier it used to take me weeks to get over my misery at having to leave all the good things of life, I now find that the "good things" are actually back home. I'm happy to be eating Indian food again, happy to chat with A and S and generally to be back on my balcony after four weeks.

Here are some pics from my last few days in Prien and in Aufkirchen. Aufkirchen is a small hamlet near the airport in Munich, where my parents and I stayed a day or two before flying back. It's a real one horse town or even a half horse town because there is absolutely nothing to do there, at least around our hotel. We were forced to stay in Aufkirchen because all the hotel rooms in the city were booked on account of the Oktober Fest - a mad festival highlighting beer, crowds and drunken revelry. While we were there Walter and Anja visited us because they said it is closer to where they live, than Prien. Anja and Walter conduct workshops in self awareness and specialize in "Water rebalancing" which has to do with therapy in a swimming pool (to simulate the experience of the pre-natal months).

Claudia who
plans to help the training group in 2009

Ayse, as usual in good cheer

"Horse" Petra (because she rides and trains horses)



Saturday, September 20, 2008

Morning At The Kindergarten

Two years back when I was in Prien nursing a broken leg, Felix, who was then about four, wanted me desperately to come with him to the kindergarten where he was enrolled. That time Ariela explained to him that I couldn't make it because most likely the wheel chair wouldn't go through the door. His spontaneous suggestion was, well then, why not organise a smaller wheelchair for me? Soon after that he dropped out of KG altogether and this Tuesday was the first time he had been back, in almost two years. This time too, I was able to go with him.

Yesterday morning Ariela dropped us both off there and I spent quite an interesting morning with about twenty kids who seemed to range in age from three to six years. The youngest was a little girl whose mother had dropped her off and gone back home, who spent a good twenty minutes shrieking her heart out. Felix sat there with a grim expression on his face and fingers stuck in his ears and soon the other kids followed suit.

The kids were all curious, not so much about my colour or where I was from but what had happened to my leg. To simplifiy matters I told them that I had broken it some time back. So I heard from various boys and girls how they had broken a finger or some other part of the body, one boy told me his father had burned his hand and another one said he had broken a leg that very morning but that now he was fine.

It was a treat, to see them play, sometimes led by the teacher, sometimes doing their own thing. I saw that in Germany kids are given a lot of freedom to play on their own and do what they feel like doing. One of the joint activities had to do with sculpting a snail out of dough. At this point Thomas arrived to take me to the bank where I needed to change some cheques and we left, with Felix crying and whining a bit that he wanted to come with us. Finally he agreed to stay back with the other kids on the condition that Thomas would come and fetch him soon after we were through with the bank.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sunshine Again!

After two days of rain and cold weather, it has turned sunny again. Living here you notice how the sun lifts your spirits - unlike in Bombay where cloudy skies relieve the searing heat of the sun.

These last couple of days have been quite hectic with friends turning up, and some last minute things to do. Ruth, who took great care of me the time I broke my leg, came over on Tuesday and we borrowed Ariela's car and drove around a bit. She helped me with some essential chores, among other things, mailing a heavy packet of jaggery to Bibsi in Kempten. I had taken the stupid parcel all the way to Switzerland, knowing that Thomas would drop me at Bibsi's on the way back, then I forgot to pack it into the backpack which I took with me to Kempten.

Yesterday Sabine, who lives in Frankfurt came over for the day. Her mother has a summer house in a place not far from Prien, which she visits quite frequently. She had driven there on Tuesday and Prien being just about 20 minutes away, she decided to come and meet me.
Was great catching up with her after almost two years and we spent a bit of time recapturing the past with a lot of nostalgia. Sabine has sold the pharmacy which she used to run and now lives a happy retired life, though still very active, what with looking after her daughter's dog, her grandson, travelling, attending workshops and offering cranio sacral sessions herself, a field in which she trained some years ago.

(pic on left shows Lilly with the muffins she's baked.)

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At home meanwhile, all the kids are back in school and Felix has started going to Kindergarten again after almost a two year break. (He said it was "okay" yesterday, and that he enjoyed parts of the day and one boy was very nice to him, though he didn't know his name). (In the topmost pic you see Felix making his scary dinosaur face. Hope you're all suitably terrified). Lilly and Lulu are also back behind the desk and it is peaceful once again at home.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

German Titbits

So last week Marlis took the train down from Berlin and we spent two days together in a nearby pension. Most places here offer bed and breakfast including the hotels. So here too we got a breakfast which was okay, meaning not quite as lavish as the other places but it filled our stomachs. A typical breakfast here consists for example, of coffee or tea, rolls (a little bit like our gutli in India), butter, marmelade and salami and ham or some such thing.

Marlis who had gone to the pension to deposit her bags and collect the key, came to fetch me from Ariela's place, full of apologies because she felt the place was too dingy, seedy, badly kept etc and just looked like a German version of a cheap Indian hotel room. I expected the worst so was pleasantly surprised to see that it really wasn't as bad as she made it sound. It looked quite clean, the windows looked out onto the porch, which was a nice place for breakfast, and it was big enough for the two of us.

We rented a car the next day and explored the countryide around Prien, which is very pretty. Wherever you go you are surrounded by the Bavarian part of the Alps. It is all green, rolling terrain and here and there you find hotels and restaurants. We stopped at one place which looked very exclusive and discovered that it was so exclusive they wouldn't serve us lunch because we were not staying at the hotel. But they deigned to serve us drinks so I had a beer and Marlis had a "Radler" which is a Shandy (half beer half lemonade). The only people around seemed to be elderly (maybe they were the only ones who could afford it).

M and I got deep into a conversation about the workshop we had attended at Samuel's and were somewhat startled when an elderly gentleman approached us and told us in an irritated voice that he wanted us to know he and his wife could hear every word we were speaking. Well several rude retorts came to mind but we were very polite, hastily paid up for our beer and drove down to another cafe along a river which was more congenial.

Back in Prien we continued to have good weather for a few days but the last two days it has been cold and wet. Oh well, can't complain, I think I had my share of sunshine this time and anyway now we are getting into autumn. So I guess I'll be glad to get back to the warmth!

view from an outdoor cafe in prien

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Life in Germany

It's been more than a month since I've been able to blog and even now time is short but I thought that before I lapse into a comatose state altogether I'd put in a word. Well for one thing I'm back from Switzerland, from our workshop there - back in Prien that is, with Ariela. On the way back from Switzerland Thomas dropped me at a friend's place in Kempten (also in Bavaria).

Bibsi happens to be among my "original German contacts", that is, among the first people I met here in Germany, whom I got to know very well in the late eighties and with whom I visited Samuel's first workshop years ago. Bibsi emigrated to Canada some time in the late nineties, where she lived alone on an eighty acre farm, in a trailer, with three cats. Schatzie is the only one of the three who managed to accompany her to Germany. Bibsi suspects that Zotl, the black cat was eaten up by the neighbour's dog when she was away for a few weeks though the neighbour was supposed to have taken care of the cats at the time.

Gisela and Bibsi at the Italian restaurant where we had dinner


Anyway I caught up with Bibsi after seven years, the last time having been in Canada where my parents and I visited her on her farm in British Colombia. She now lives alone in this rather big house, with a splendid view of the mountains, and with a sprawling garden adjoining the patio. We went out one afternoon to get a glimpse of the snow mountains and one of the lakes in the vicinity and on the way back saw this herd of cows being shepherded by a cowboy on a motor bike. That made quite a funny picture.

Back in Prien, Felix and I have been playing and chatting and watching movies. Watched "Mary Poppins" this afternoon after I dont know how many years. Feli was very taken up with the parts where the kids together with Burt and MP walk into a picture he has drawn on the sidewalk as part of his effort to earn some money, and also the part where everyone floats up into the air laughing.

Sammy the greedy cat in Prien