Sunday, September 8, 2013

All about food…

Jesus said "I AM the bread of life, Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."  As we continue to have these opportunities to work in places that enable this message to be delivered to those that have not heard it, we also benefit from a wide variety of daily bread.  Our first weeks here in at the Eurasia Regional Office, while busy getting oriented to the life and work, has also been filled with lots of food and fellowship.

Since the ladies here seem to bake a lot, we often have very delicious coffee breaks. Coffee breaks, twice a day, are a real German tradition. Being a regional office, however, we’re not all German (and we realize that two breaks, with baked goods each day, would undo all good intentions about weight and our health). But maybe that’s why the Germans and Swiss folks spend so much time riding their bicycles and walking – to wear off some of those coffee-break calories, never mind that they live in some of the most beautiful countryside in the world!

All that to say that I took a couple dozen cookies to work to share – we enjoyed those and a special cake that Cezi (CHEH-zee) had baked for Martin for their 1st wedding anniversary!  We were invited to their home for dinner, so we took some cookies to them as well. They live in the “Pink Palace” a 3-plex apartment building 2 doors behind our blue office building. Cezi is Albanian and loves to cook (we met her in 2006 at a youth conference in Macedonia when she was a student in Italy).  Since she’s well-traveled and knows 4 languages, she can cook in many languages too!  She treated us to salad, Italian bruschetta, and a garlic almond chicken dish with rice – and we all talked constantly!  It was great to know them better as Martin is responsible for finances on this region.  We moved to the living room and Cezi brought out her version of tiramisu and it was wonderful too!

Tuesday, the 4 MNU students who are here treated the full staff to a morning coffee break with pastries so we could all meet each other.  Nazarenes always meet around food…

Wednesday morning, Dan and I got moving early so we could get to the closest local store to get some bread and milk for breakfast. We’d heard that they get a delivery of Brot (say “brote”) baked at a nearby farm, and that the bread is usually gone before 9AM. We arrived at 8, just as the shop owner was opening the store and as the farmer was delivering the bread.  Needless to say, we picked out a rustic loaf of bread and a carton of milch, returning home for a meal of fresh bread and granola cereal – a great start to our day!

Wednesday evening was book club in Stetten, at the home of Lindsay, one of the women from church. Nancy had invited me to go with her and it was only a 10-minute ride to the nearby town. We’re reading “The Artist’s Daughter” by Alexandra Kuykendall (I downloaded it onto my Kindle the night before and got started) and I highly recommend it!  A lady named Michelle brought an apple cobbler that we thoroughly enjoyed.  It was a very fun evening, 6 of us sharing our life experiences along with the discussion about the girl in the book. 

Thursday, we had another invitation to dinner, in the apartment right below ours. Gina and Andrew Pottenger prepared ham crepes for dinner and do-it-yourself sweet crepes for dessert. What a nice evening it was, getting to know them better; she’s the editor for the Eurasia Region’s “Where Worlds Meet” and for “Engage Magazine”-- 2 of my favorite email newsletters about Nazarene missions. And she welcomed my offer to help proof articles before publication!

Sabine “Sib” is a German lady we’ve worked with before during NYI events in past years.  She works now in finance for the Region. She’s a great cook of Indian food (having traveled there often) so, when she offered to have a Friday “curry night," Nancy and Brad quickly offered their home and about 20 of us enjoyed Indian chicken and rice, chapatis, lentil-and-spinach dal – that woman can cook!

After all that food, Dan and I wanted to do something special for our 17th wedding anniversary on Saturday, so we decided to walk to Schaffhausen and back that day.  It was a beautiful autumn day, warm and sunny, so we took a back road up some hills and through a dense woods.
We went the way that would take us the Heils Armee (Salvation Army) brocki (second-hand store, say BRO-kee), since I’d been there and Dan hadn’t. This warehouse has a fabulous variety of clothing, books, appliances, furniture. It’s a real field trip!

Our GPS showed us where to go after that to get to the old town part of Schaffhausen where the shopping and dining area is only for pedestrians (or emergency vehicles). There’s a charming variety of shops and buildings in the quaint town with cobbled streets; I had to take lots of pictures.
Flash Mob !
All of a sudden, though, we heard a woman singing, maybe yodeling. Then, people in blue t-shirts (and some who were putting on blue t-shirts) started singing with her – it was a flash mob!! I was thrilled! Ever since I’d seen videos on, I’ve wanted to see or be in a flash mob – and it was right before us in the plaza! Dan and I both whipped out our cameras and thoroughly enjoyed the little show that was to advertise some musical concerts and services for a 100th anniversary of a local Catholic church.  If you are interested, here is a link to the video Dan made of the experience:

After that fun surprise, we made our way further into the narrow streets and found a café for lunch (photo at the top). Wandering further, we just had to try some gelato to sustain us (wink!) on our 4 km walk back to Büsingen along the Rhine River. By the time we got back to our apartment, we had walked 11+ km (about 7 miles). What a beautiful day so far - do we really get to do these things?!

One more food experience, though, was on our agenda for our anniversary – we wanted to try an Italian restaurant that’s less than a block from our apartment so we did, right after we cleaned up from our long walk! It was certainly a day to remember – and lots of photos (and a video) to prove it!

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