Sunday, 8 June 2008

This is....my favourite holiday memory

Eek - has it really been a week since I posted last? 7 whole days? No one nicked any....positive? I guess being my second last week at work, I was unusually busy. Colleagues finally realised I was GOING for 6 months and that if they wanted anything from me, now would be a really good time.

So, thanks to Hila, here is my favourite travel memory.

You may or may not know that Beloved is German, from a small village not too far from Cologne. When I say small, I mean 550 people. His family has lived there for nearly 900 years, and he is related to about half the inhabitants! We try and visit every 1 - 2 years (although that is of course less possible now with kids and costs), and I love going back. It's very grounding.

We went for Christmas 2004, and as Beloved's godson was having his first communion at Easter in 2005, we decided that I would take leave without pay and stay there for the in-between time. We found out 2 days before we left that I was pregnant with Pirate Jim.

Beloved returned to Australia at the end of January, and I stayed with his younger brother, his wife and their 3 months old daughter. (The very same who visited us earlier this year, although Miss M is now 3 years old of course). I had a fabulous time. My German improved out of sight, I got to experience a Karneval in the village, and did some travelling around to visit friends and family all over the country. Nothing like getting caught on an inter-city train without the correct ticket to give one's language skills a run!

This photo was taken a few days before Beloved left the village to return to Australia. The village is nestled in a little valley between several mountains; I am standing on top of Limberg, with the village and it distinctive spire behind me (although you cant actually see that! But what you can see is a bit more than half the village).





There was snow, and there would be a lot more that winter, but it was a period of several warm-ish, rainy days - hence the patchiness of the snow and the umbrella I'm carrying.

It was my first "white Christmas", and very very strange to be celebrating all rugged up with short, cold, overcast days, when Ive only ever had long, balmy (or baking) days in swimsuits and sundresses with post-feast naps in the shade. Athough the post-feast nap is apparently universal.

I have a dozen travel memories I can draw on, but I think this is my favourite because its the time when I really felt that I became part of my German family. It also gave a very strong appreciation of just how hard it was for Beloved to leave here and relocate to Australia (Bundaberg) in his 20s, with no family and only school English.

And PJ was there too!

11 comments:

Michelle said...

You are lucky to have a family so great as the German Family!

Janet McKinney said...

Having grown up not far from Bundaberg - I recognise that life would not have been easy coming from Germany - there was not a lot of acceptance of multi-cultural ideas in this part of Australia - hopefully it has got better now...

Bells said...

I've heard you tell various bits of this story but had never quite twigged that you stayed for all that time on your own! I think that must have been lovely. A great way to make a bit of your own space there with the Germans. I want to hear more about it some time!

MadMad said...

Oh, that is such a cool story, too. (I just came over from Bells...) I love this theme!

kms said...

what a great memory, i think its great how close you guys are even tho youre so far apart!

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

A tummy full of turkey at Christmas is the easiest and quickest way to get me to sleep. :)

I would join in on the meme but I think that the world has heard enough of my favorite travel/holiday memory.

Lisa said...

It sounds like your extended stay was a precious time and great way to connect with your beloved's family.

Amazing that his family have been in that spot for 900 years.

Alwen said...

Except for it being mostly-flatter here (glaciers'll do that to a landscape), it looks like home!

Em said...

That's a wonderful story, it's awesome that you had the opportunity to get to know the German Family so well, and that you got your first "white Christmas." Do all the silly carols make sense now?

I can't imagine having family that's become such an integral part of a place. How amazing for your Beloved, to come from so much history.

Maureen said...

That is a wonderful travel story, and how fortunate to be able to truly realize what your Beloved came from...see his roots/

What took him to Australia? (other than to meet you ;-)...)

Donna Lee said...

Great story, Georgie. I have no other language than English and am envious of your chance to learn German. I can't imagine leaving Germany for Australia at 20 with limited language. Beloved is an adventurer.