Wednesday, September 20, 2017

August Highs and Lows 2017, the Forgotten Edition

Oops. I was a week into September when I remembered my traditional "Highs and Lows" post. And then I was too busy. And then too tired. And then too apathetic.

But today*, on my five-year "Expativersary" (I moved to Germany permanently five years ago today), I thought I'd finally run through my highs and lows from last month.

our pretty little town
I keep saying I've moved to Germany permanently because I can't imagine anything changing that. If M gets tired of me, I'll just move in with his mother, who is a dear friend of mine. That's unlikely to happen, though. He and I are so much in sync that we feel completely out of whack when we're not together. We balance each other, and we're better people when we're together.

*Disclaimer: My five-year anniversary was actually yesterday (19. September), but I fell asleep on the sofa last night while writing this blog post, and so I had to finish and publish it today.

On to last month's events...


  • Kaffee in Nagold with a new acquaintance, an English teacher at the high school with whom I have quite a bit in common. It was fun to have a fully Denglish conversation - I thoroughly enjoy talking with people when one language is as good as the other. If I can't find a word in English, I say the German word and vice versa. It was the same for him.

  • meeting one of my former students in Tübingen, though I'd misread the date we'd agreed upon, and I caught the poor guy at the Bahnhof on his way to buy some furniture for his Studentenwohnung. He turned around and came to meet me, not even mentioning my obvious mistake until afterwards.

  • meeting my friend and Sprachpartnerin, Hedda, and then driving together to Tübingen (yes, I really like this town!). We had lunch, I bought a pair of incredibly comfortable shoes at her recommendation, and we met my former student again for tea and a chat.

  • the books I read in August. They were poignant, compelling, disturbing, suspenseful, and enjoyable even though the subject matter was heavy.
  • I took over another class at the VHS, starting at level A1.2. My students this time hail from: Poland, Syria, Chile, Scotland, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Iraq, and Romania.

  • spending yet another afternoon in Tübingen, this time with four of my former students (one of whom I hadn't seen in more than a year!) and his girlfriend. We'd come up with the idea to do a Stadtführung (town tour), which I was happy to lead! I really enjoyed it, and they seemed to as well. I took them into the main church and told them everything I knew, and then we went up the steeple for a great view of the town. We walked around afterwards and I gave them some more information, and then we all got hungry. We had lunch at a Türkischer Imbiss and they recommended what I should try, and then we found an Arabic bakery with delicious treats for dessert! We all agreed that we should do it again, and there is much more of the town I can show them.
I drove because the train was sketchy that day,
and if you know me, you know I hate driving in Germany.
Hence the face.

  • meeting another new friend of mine, a retired English teacher, for Kaffee (it ended up being just water because it was too darn hot to enjoy coffee) at our house. She has subbed for me, and again we have much in common and lots to talk about.

  • not failing at several experiments in the kitchen: Zitronenkuchen, Spaghetti Carbonara, and Kohlrabi-Möhren-Gratin


  • I don't know if this is a low, but it felt like it at first. I learned in August that something I've believed my whole life from Sunday and Bible School stories, movies, etc. is simply not true. I've asked others this question - "Who, from what you've understood, built the pyramids in Egypt?" Slaves, right? The Hebrew slaves from the Moses/Exodus story, right?

    Yeah, no. Fake news. Perhaps the original fake news. In 1990 the builders' village was discovered, and the ornamentation of the graves shows that those buried there were honored and valued. They could not have been slaves.

    Besides that, the pyramids were built around 2600 BC, whereas the Exodus story happened around 1300 BC. The Bible never mentions the pyramids, so this is just a common misconception that came from who knows where. But many people I've asked have answered as I thought - the pyramids were built by the Hebrew slaves of the Exodus story.

    There is no mention of Hebrews or Israelites in Egypt until around 1300 BC.

    The fun part of all of this was when M first responded to my statement "Slaves built the pyramids" with "No they didn't," and after some frantic googling and much reading, I stomped through the living room where M was watching TV, and declared, "I'm calling your mother!" She's been interested in Egyptology for many years, has read more than I have time left in my lifetime to read, and has been to Egypt many times.

    She reminded me that the Frenchman who deciphered the hieroglyphs in the 19th century (Champollion) was ordered by the Catholic church to not publish his discovery, in part because they were pretty sure his findings would prove the pyramids existed long before Christians believed they did.

    Don't misunderstand - I'm not saying the Exodus story didn't happen. I'm saying I have learned that the slaves Moses freed did not build the pyramids. They were probably building temples and great statues.
My parents a few years ago,
with two of the pyramids not built by slaves behind them.
The laborers lived hard and short lives, but evidence discovered
by archeologists points strongly to them being highly valued and respected
for their skills.
  • with the exception of M and my Schwiegermutter, not a single other person I mentioned the above to seemed even mildy interested. I definitely get excited about learning. When I hear something I have a hard time believing, I want to look into it. I need to learn to share the things I'm interested in and new knowledge I acquire only with M and my Schwiegermutter. She and I emailed back and forth much of that weekend because she is as enthusiastic about learning and sharing what she knows as I am.

I'm sure there were other lows, but I've forgotten them by now which means they weren't very important ones.

Here's hoping you had a good August (and are having a pleasant September)!!


  1. EXCUSE ME I was interested in the pyramid thing (though certainly not as much as you) I was just at work when you were messaging me about it!

    1. Oops. Sorry, Töchterchen. I misinterpreted your workiness as disinterest. :-)

  2. I find the pyramid thing interesting. Although if you had asked me who built the pyramids I would probably have stared blankly and then said "Egyptians?!". I don't remember ever learning the Exodus story, although I suppose it must have been mentioned at some point in primary school (I never went to Sunday school).

    1. Sunday School was where parents could send their little brats during church services so they (the parents) could worship in peace. Volunteers taught us whatever Bible story was in that week/day, we colored corresponding pictures, glued popsicle sticks together to make crosses, sang children's church songs ("Jesus loves me, this I know...") and stuff like that. I found the stories interesting, to be honest, though I didn't like going.

      Your answer "Egyptians" is far more correct than what I believed!

    2. My parents didn't go to church so there was no need to send us to Sunday school while they worshipped :-)