My husband arrived on October 15, and this changed everything. What a treat to have someone who listens patiently to my evolving project ideas and who insists that I get a printer and a warm winter coat. He was here the day my book was turned down, and we talked about it over roast chicken and potato salad until everything was back in proportion again. We went together to the Fulbright Alumni Welcoming Conference in Frankfurt the weekend of November 4 and had a wonderful time meeting present and former Fulbrighters, both German and American. The Friday evening gathering was at a bar called the Proletariat, and we all sat at one long table for 30 sharing apfelwein and archive stories. Saturday morning there was a group of over a hundred and we met our regional representatives, some of whom are planning Thanksgiving dinners, and we had choices of workshops such as how to get into consulting or how to get along in Germany (not that it is difficult, but being away from home for a year can be hard no matter where you are). The skyscrapers and department stores of Frankfurt were dazzling after the cozy streets of Wolfenbüttel!
Daily research at the Bibliothek continues, but now leisure time planning has become interesting too. Recently we went to the movie theater to see a new German production of “Tom Sawyer.” It was a convincing recreation of Hannibal, Missouri, all filmed in Thüringen and Brandenburg. No matter how your German is, if you know the story you will enjoy all those familiar scenes of Tom whitewashing the fence, Tom and Huck showing up at their own funeral, and Tom and Becky lost in the cave.
Sometimes research blends with socializing. One October evening we were invited to visit the apothecary of a friend I met here in August, and Chuck contentedly read his ebook while I was fascinated with the inside view of how an apothecary works. My host and I were about the same age, both trained in medical fields back in the days of test tubes and Bunsen burners, before digital inventory tracking, so we enjoyed sharing experiences of the changing world of medicine.
Leisure time also includes Christmas shopping, hoping to go home with something a little different in a couple of weeks. I love passing by the Wolfenbüttel Weihnachtsmarkt every day, usually yielding to the temptation of warm roasted sugared almonds. Last weekend we visited the Göttingen market, enjoying the ambiance of the university town where our son spent 5 months a few years ago. We had a delicious Christmas feast in a vaulted stone cellar—me with roast goose, red and green cabbage, potato dumplings and gravy, Chuck with schnitzel with mushrooms, pommes and a fresh salad. We took the train home, and spent the evening listening to a recording of “Lord of the Rings.” Yes, the quality of leisure time has certainly improved!