Sunday, September 29, 2013

Regional meetings and Ludwigsburg palace tour

Work in the Regional Office was quite different this week! There were meetings mid-week; the Field Strategy Coordinators were in for meetings, convening for the last time with out-going Regional Director, Gustavo Crocker.  Dr. Crocker was recently elected as one of our newest Nazarene General Superintendents!

I was drafted to help with the breaks and lunch on Wednesday; it was great to meet Dr. Crocker and the other fellows who I’d only communicated with by email.  It was actually fun to be part of the “catering team” that made their schedule work efficiently.

Our off-time was busy too; three evenings this week, we had scheduled Skype sessions with 2 of the missions candidates that we’re coaching and one with our coaching leader.

And, Friday night, we felt like we were part of a little piece of history as the Eurasia team of workers had a dinner to say farewell to Gustavo and Rachel Crocker, thanking them for their friendship and working together for the last 10 years. We’ll be especially interested to watch them as they serve all over the world, helping to lead the Nazarene Church.

Our tour group for the day.
Saturday, ten of us met at 8:00AM to take a day trip by train to Ludwigsburg!  Thankfully, the 3 legs of the trip were quite easy with Sabine “Sib”, our German friend and coworker who’s experienced in travel here!  The Ludwigsburg Palace is a replica of Versailles palace in France and is quite rich in history! The outside gardens were enormous, lush, and colorful. The palace itself has over 400 rooms and we were glad to see over 50 of them on the guided tour (in English), including a theater.  There were several chapels too, all busy with weddings on this Saturday in autumn! The decorating included lots of baroque style – gold trims and tapestried walls, mirrors, and fancy furniture.

Outside, on the grounds, was a fantastic treat – there was a Kürbissuppe (Pumpkin Soup) festival going on! There were several vendors of LOTS of varieties of squash and gourds and statues made from pumpkins and gourds that looked like oversized Olympic athletes! Of course, there were food vendors too and we took advantage of the opportunity to try Kürbis Frites (pumpkin fries) and muffins and flavored pumpkin seeds. Dan and I also got to see part of the kids’ area of the grounds, with fairy tale characters’ stories recreated in small houses along a path up a large hill; at the top was a stone tower with Rapunzel’s braid hanging out of the top!

Since it’s fall, many villages are having Oktoberfest celebrations so we saw LOTS of young men dressed in lederhosen and girls in dirndl skirts, especially in the train stations. We’re told that it’s a recent thing for the young people to be interested again in the traditional attire (comparable to a kilt in Scotland or a cowboy hat in the US). It just made the whole day feel more festive!

The train ride home was several hours of time to connect and have fun, as 8 of us got to sit together and gab all the way back.  Relationships, after all, make the whole experience - wherever we - are worthwhile!

P.S. More photos of this week are shown in a slide show in the right panel of this blog.

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