Sunday, September 1, 2013

Eurasia week 1 - adjusting to life in Busingen

We arrived at the Zurich airport on Monday, August 26, and were amazed at how quickly we were able to get through Customs! Brad and Nancy Firestone were waiting for us on this gray day and the 45 minutes to Büsingen passed quickly as we enjoyed the countryside on our way. It took very little time for us to unpack our things in our nice apartment. We took a look at the groceries already stocked in our kitchen(!) and made a list of additional things we’d like to have on hand.  After walking back down the main street past the Eurasia Regional Office building and about another block, we arrived where Dan will work with Brad. The back of that building is the Firestones’ apartment.  Piling into their car, we crossed the border (as we’ll do many times each week) to shop at a store called Lidl (similar to Aldi, lots of those here too!) to get additional groceries. Then, the Firestones treated us to dinner out at a German/Italian restaurant.  We rode around through several small towns – in both Germany and Switzerland; all these towns are close together but with beautiful, rolling, farmland between.
Tuesday, we met the rest of the staff and were invited to join them for lunch out – at the Goldener Drache (Golden Dragon), an Asian restaurant right across the side street from our blue office building with a “running sushi bar”, definitely NOT something we expected to encounter in Germany!  I returned to our apartment for a nap while Dan walked back to visit Brad in their office. When he returned, we went to Judy’s apartment next door; she’s a long-term volunteer who was also entertaining 5 MNU students for dinner – they’re in Europe for quite a few weeks of study (some online), touring, and ministry projects.

Wednesday, we slept well enough that we felt like we could get to work mid-morning. I was placed in a large, sunny, corner office and learned what projects I’ll be helping Nancy with. We enjoyed our first weekly staff devotions at 2PM, as our friend Cezi led a time of devotions and prayer.

Thursday, we began work in earnest, later going out to dinner at a Turkish restaurant with Nancy and Brad. We loved the kebap (very much like Greek gyros) and stocked up on more groceries at Real (their version of Wal-Mart Super Store) in nearby Singen.  Interestingly, if you shop in Germany and take your groceries across the Swiss border, it’s necessary to get your grocery receipts stamped at border in order for the taxes to be credited on your next visit to that particular store.   Some border crossings are not open after 8PM, so we had to take a longer way back to go through a border stop that is open 24 hours.

We’re sleeping better about every other night; almost over the jet lag!

Brad and Nancy started us out with our first Saturday adventure – to RheinFall, biggest river waterfall in all of Europe. It's beautiful! Back home to pack a lunch, we then walked back to Firestones’ to meet up with Gina and Andrew, a missionary/volunteer couple.
The plan was for Nancy and me to investigate a couple of brocki (second-hand stores, say “BRO-kee”) while the other 4 ride bicycles the 9 miles to Stein am Rhein, where we would meet for lunch. Nancy and I explored the filled-to-the-ceilings warehouses, then met the 4 cyclists with the lunches. After we ate, 3 of us rode in the car up the steep hilly roads (Brad rode his bike) to Burg Hohenklingen, a castle that we explored and took lots of photos of.
Stein am Rhein
 Back down to the town a while later, we met Andrew and Gina in the village for gelato! This town is unique; the houses and buildings were built side-by side, attached, in order to make a fort. We walked the historic cobbled streets and onto a bridge over the Rhein River.
Nancy and I rode back in the car, stopping for groceries, and got back to the house at the same time as our cyclists!

Sunday, Büsingen International COTN is right across the quad from our apartment. We were welcomed and we so enjoyed the familiar music (Nancy sings with the worship team and Brad plays bass). Our Albanian friend Cezi (say CHEH-zee) preached, in English, about mercy.  Fellowship follows the service, every Sunday, in the lower level with coffee and home-baked treats, enabling us to meet people from many countries.  We had a late lunch of minute steaks and small potatoes, then I baked cookies to take to the Firestones’ for a Dessert-and-Game night.

God certainly provided for our every need this week, especially fellowship and friendship, as we adjusted to the time zone, the culture, and the rich-in-history landmarks in this beautiful part of the world!

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