4/18/15

Auf Wiedersehen...

This has been a week of saying our goodbyes here in Germany. We don't come back to the states until April 29th, but since we are heading out on a 10 day trip to Austria and Poland Sunday morning, the goodbyes here in Schorndorf were - for the most part - done this week.

One of our main lunch spots, the Deutsches Haus, ended on Friday with an offer of letting us choose whatever we wanted off of the menu and the owner, Luigi Greco, only charged us the lunch special price. He had also prepared a wonderful dessert for us (baked apple, frozen ice cream and covered with almonds and pistachios).

All smiles and full after a great final group meal at our restaurant here in Schorndorf...

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Luigi and his mother (she does all the cooking)...

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I had a wonderful Zwiebelrostbraten for my final meal from their Lava Grill. Yum!

We said goodbye to Herr Helmut Elsen on Thursday. He was the afternoon German grammar teacher for the students. We bought him a Simpson College hat and a nice Columbia jacket from the Simpson College bookstore that also has the school name on it.

Helmut had a gift for me of a CD as he sings and plays in a band from Stuttgart (polkas, waltzes, etc...). Here he is in the classroom saying goodbye to us...

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Opening his gifts we gave him in the classroom...

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Then we took him out for his favorite ice cream and coffee after class...

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We had a final coffee and cake meeting with the First Mayor of Schorndorf,  Edgar Hemmerich, and our host families at Cafe Mack on Friday afternoon. Evidently, according to the mayor, I am now known in Schorndorf as "Bruce, the guy with the big red bike" (my Specialized Roubaix size 64cm stands out in the crowd). I had a nice 2 hour visit with Edgar (Eddy) the First Mayor, and said goodbye to all of the host families. We took a group picture on the steps of the Rathaus...

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The mayor gave me a history book of Schorndorf as a going away present. We also said goodbye to Beate Wolf Kohnert who was in charge of lining up the host families, and helped me organize a trip with the host families that we took back in February. We will see her again the day we leave, but due to how our 10 day trip to Vienna/Krakow/Berlin falls, we said the main goodbye to everyone this week.

There are more goodbyes, sweet tears, memories to be had today and tomorrow - as well as the evening of the 27th and 28th before some of us come home on the 29th. 7 of the students are staying in Europe for another few weeks to months traveling on their own or with family, friends, May Term trips, etc... .

I am saying goodbye to this part of Germany today and tomorrow on my bike by riding my two favorite loops. One today, and the other tomorrow morning before getting on the plane to Vienna. I am treating my hostess on the 28th to a nice meal and to thank her for letting me stay in her home for the semester. Tonight, we are going to a play/musical about Russian Nomads and Mongolians in a theater that is a converted barn. Sounds interesting....!

I am also looking forward to the visit in Vienna. Between taking the students to all of the sights in Vienna, I will be seeing a few old friends to catch up. I just got off the phone with my old singing colleague and good friend, Janusz Monarcha. We will hook up on Monday or Tuesday to catch up with each other. I am hoping to meet with Jeremy and Stephanie Pick. Wednesday I will spend the afternoon/evening with Bruce Murray. I will catch up with Morten Frank Larsen. And Alexa and I will see Thomas Hampson tomorrow night in concert.

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