Saturday, September 26, 2009

Schreiben in einem Café

[ Writing in a Cafe ]

Traveling to Munich for Oktoberfest weekend started as a quick, last minute adventure, and it turned out to become a huge and exciting experience. Such a big weekend, in fact, that it took me almost an entire week to catch up on all the great stories and picture-posting to just serve it justice.

This has been my last full week here in Saarbrücken, and it has been extremely busy with school and spending as much time with my host family as possible. I have taken a bit of time for myself, however, to escape for a moment and try to document Munich as best I could, and I figured I would follow through with my goal of revisiting the tiny French town of Saareguemines at least once during the week to sit in a cafe and just write.


After class one afternoon I took the detour from my normal rout home and hopped onto the train to France - as matter of fact as that. With my laptop in my backpack, I picked out the cute little cafe run by the little Muslim Turkish woman to say hello. She remembered my face - but I had overestimated how much German she knew. I was so happy to see her and went off on a tangent in German asking about Eid ul-Fitr, which is the great celebration after the long fasting month of Ramadan. I asked her if she had made many delicious dishes... and she just stared back blankly... and then rambled something off in French. I then said in German that I didn't understand, and she said "a little English?" - so then I said nice and slowly - How was your celebration?...

... blank face and a smile

English was also a no go. She caught the name of the holiday at least and I think understood that I was asking about it. She finally mimed that there was a lot of eating since she motioned nibbling food from her fingers and smacking her lips.

It was a funny language barrier moment, but it brought laughs out of both of us. When I ordered a pastry and coffee, she pointed to black coffee and I corrected her and fumbled, Pardon, avec le lait si'l vous plait. [ check me out trying a little parle du Français]

She laughed. It turned out she was only charging me for the black coffee since she was being nice. [ She calls it the "student price"... but clearly she just makes up prices as she goes since it is late in the day and she has to clear the shelves and/or she has taken a liking to us American "regulars"]

She served me my coffee and pastry - délicieux - and I began to type away - so much to cover. I reviewed some pictures, had some smiles and laughs to myself, and amidst my clicking away at my keyboard, I noticed the little French women come in and out and gossiping away over their croissants and coffees.


The setting was perfect - French café, writing, coffee... give me a béret and the image would be complete. I churned out some of my stories and after leaving and saying goodbye -merci! au revoir! - I was completely satisfied with the feeling. Cobblestone streets, contently cafinated and on a suger-rush from my pastry - it was a moment you want to bottle up [ meaning making a mental note to write about it later...]. I really enjoy writing, reflecting, and exploring, and that afternoon had elements of all of that.


I still had more to write... so I just shamelessly repeated everything the next day. [ And continued reading on the train about Julia Child creating sumptuously detailed dishes like sole à la normande while living abroad in France - how fitting!]


I tried a new cafe and got a delicious Pain au Chocolat - a new favorite, flaky, buttery with dark chocolate inside - and a black coffee [ uh oh, I have only a few days to get a hot chocolate - or else I might loose some readership ;) ]. Once again, the setting was perfect.



Reflecting is important to me, and I constantly find myself reflecting and writing - either in the blog, or my personal journal, or daydreaming during German grammar lectures [oops... ] - and it is hard to find time amongst the excitement everyday of living abroad to document it [ usually equating to less sleep ]. Luckily I satisfied my desire to return to Saareguemines - just to say , oh today I went to France after school - once more, and to feel like that typical French café-goer pondering the best adjective to describe his croissant while jotting notes into a journal.