Monday, August 2, 2010

dritte Platz

[ Third place ]

The world cup is now over, but watching Germany come in 3rd place was quite the ride. Of course we were all cheering to see Germany face the Netherlands in the finals, but nevertheless, I witnessed an extremely exciting event that really brought the nation to celebration and only comes around every four years.

World cup fever was incomparable to see not only in Europe, but in Germany, one of the most Fuβball frenzied nations on earth. City-centers all around over the month and a half international tournament were always clustered with people, and big screen tv's lined the streets, from open air pubs, even to the local gelato shoppe. Göttingen, being the young and diverse uni-city that it is, always had clusters of all kinds of fans to fill up seats and give a fun crowd. I probably learned more expletives in more foreign languages than I ever had in my life as well - German might be fun, but Italian reigns supreme for most creativity and drama.

[ Ganzelieselplatz ]

As the brackets narrowed down though, everyone [well, except my Spanish friends ] all began full-heartedly supporting their host nation, and we joined the crowds and celebrations including flags, lei's and cheering. Over the tournament I had seen games at home, as well as at public venues in the city, and public viewings in Göttingen and Berlin.

The photos I have display a very vibrant and exciting patriotism that swept Germany over the few weeks - but this is something that is only just becoming the norm. The 2006 World Cup held in Germany sparked a new pride within the German people, and flags and the German colors began to make a strong presence as the tournament took place. Four years later, I have heard from many that the support and patriotism has only increased - cars whizzing by with flags and decals, and cheering fans in the streets clad in Jerseys all day on game days. A German flag is rare to see anywhere in Germany and still is repressed by many, but the World Cup represents a special time of patriotism and pride for German fans where they all come together for the same cause.

The world cup has been an excellent opportunity to partake in some of the best celebrations I have seen all year in Germany, and possibly one of the best cultural opportunities to connect with German people in my host city and learn what the world cup means to them [ described by one, "the Super Bowl x 20" ], as well as international friends sharing the experience with me as well!


Content, happy, pleased, satisfied, comfortable, settled, * to be one with the world

The definitions are many and broad when one translates the German word "zufrieden" . It just doesn't really translate, but it means all of the above words. Germans work hard and are serious people, but behind the stern facades that some of them have, caught in the right environment, they could be completely in a state of being zufrieden.

[ The failed raft ]

Small road trips with my host family, time with family and friends, soccer matches, BBQ's - summer time here in Germany is going great.

Fruchthaus Schwieger

[ Fruit house Schwieger ]

This post has been one that I have been anxious to put up for a while. Maybe I mentioned it in passing, but Andreas, my host dad, runs the family business, and it is an iconic corner fruit market within central Göttingen.

Some times this year, while riding my bike through town, I would ride by and see Andreas, usually leaving with a crisp apple that he would toss to me over the counter. At home, I was spoiled to fresh veggies and fruit that Inga would use from the shop in great lunches and desserts. Speaking of meals, one of the best things this year was the importance of having the family together at our prompt 1:15 lunches which was the main meal of the day.

Some of the shelves in the store were just as ecclectic as the market I proudly presented a few weeks ago - various oils and vinegars, bright colors of greens, purples and reds, nuts, berries - it is quite a sight.

Unfortunately, winter was long [ very long... ] in Germany, and even after the grey half year passed, construction season began and the front of the store was blocked off where crates of produce usually line the corner.

As my final days were ticking down, I had to finally just get in and snap a few photos - the store was too much of a figure in my mind of the city to pass up. The funny thing to add is that working in the store for so long, Andreas really doesn't even like vegetables!