Wednesday, 29 October 2014

October

October has been a really busy month. 

Our church has a community centre where I volunteer a few times a week doing various things, and there have also been monthly church services there. However, these services are now twice a month, which is awesome. That means, since September I've been running the pre-school kids program during the service. You're welcome to pray with me that more kids come, and bring their parents! 
These two Sundays a month are definitely a highlight for us! 


There was also a 24/7 prayer week, where we prayed in rotation for a full week. Malcolm and I filled ourselves in for a few early morning slots, and it was so good to sit and pray and intercede for our neighbourhood while it slept. I absolutely love this place, and it feels so much like home to me. 


Then, at work we also had a big conference at the start of the month which I attended. I walked away feeling so inspired and called, and it put my work into a fuller framework so I can see where my work fits in to the bigger idea. 


October also includes the Tag der Deutschen Einheit. We weren't really sure what was all happening for it, but we ended up at the local dairy open day seeing the cows that produce milk locally, and then at a street festival celebrating all the different cultures in Marburg. It was such a great atmosphere walking through the street looking at all the different food and things from various cultures. 




Besides being kept busy within Marburg, we also traveled to Heidelberg in early October, and then to Vienna this last weekend. 





October really was filled with all sorts of different things, and the weather especially has made a drastic change! Now we wait in anticipation for friends from South Africa to come and visit us on Friday, finishing this month off with even more fun :) 



Heidelberg

We’ve been wanting to visit Heidelberg for some time now. But, thinking it’d be no fun in bad weather, or Deutsche Bahn striking, or having other plans already, it was tricky to actually get around to it.

Finally, early October, we saw that the weather would be good, we had a free Saturday, so we went for it.

A train journey characterised by delays due to maintenance on the tracks, and we made it. I’m glad that we went early because it meant we beat everybody else who planned to take advantage of the sunshine.

We headed straight for the tourist info centre and got a map, then walked to the Altstadt, stopping at a grocery store to get a pic-nic lunch for later.

We walked along towards the marktplatz, and passed by the old Jesuit church. It’s absolutely beautiful and it’s the first of the kind we’ve seen – until now it’s mostly been gothic, dark churches.



The main town square was next, and although it was packed and there are a LOT of kitch souvenirs, it was a nice atmosphere with people soaking in the sunshine.






My favourite part of our time in Heidelberg was as we wandered over the bridge, feeling oh so in love in the romantic atmosphere of the old bridge, violin music playing and breeze blowing (my hair all over...). 




We walked to the other side and sat on a bank overlooking the river to have our picnic lunch. It was there that Malcolm checked his phone and saw that he had a message from his parents with the sad news that their dog who they’ve had since Malcolm was 10, died. It was really sad, and the romantic violin music suddenly seemed just sad and lonely. We prepared the baguette with the things we’d bought, and toasted the life of sweet teddy.


After lunch, we went on with our exploration. We went back over the bridge and then made our way up the castle. Thank goodness we are used to the hills of Marburg and the walk up to the castle wasn’t all that exhausting. We didn’t go into the castle, but wandered around it, saw the view, and enjoyed the park.








Having seen the castle, we walked back down, via the University library which is really impressive. Along the main street we bought icecream, wandered in and out of shops, and headed back to the train station.

We said goodbye to Heidelberg, having enjoyed it thoroughly. 

While in the train, we decided that since we had a half-hour stop in Frankfurt, we’d make the most of it and extend it to an hour stop. We went to the street directly by the station and found an Italian restaurant with candle light. 


We stopped and had a spontaneous date sharing Pizza, then hurried back to the station to catch the train back to Marburg. 


We missed it by a minute and were in time to see it’s lights in the distance disappear. Not a problem, we thought, we’ll catch the next one in half an hour. However, on checking again, we realised we actually had an hour and 20 minutes to wait. We looked at just about everything in a bookstore in the station, and were really glad to finally get onto the train. It wasn’t the most fun ride back, with loud soccer-fans also on board after a game.

But, despite delays, the adventure was fun and it was wonderful and we made it back home.

September

September was great - It was my birthday month and a fun one.

We moved from our very kind host-family who took us in for 2 months, into a different student residence. We won’t be able to move back into our apartment this year – but hopefully early next year (that’s a minimum of 6 months that we’ll have been out) we can go back.


We’re happy where we are now... in a 2 room apartment that’s intended for a flat-share. Malcolm and I each have our own post box, since we technically each rent a room, and he’s a pretty cool house mate.


Our first evening, after cleaning and sorting things out at the other place, we got to our flat and I was excited to bake pizza. However, after opening the oven and seeing how dirty it was, student-digs-mode kicked in and we ended up making pizza in the frying pan. Since we have no couch, we spent the evening eating pizza and drinking wine (bought and mostly used to make Risotto) out of coffee mugs in bed while watching How I Met your Mother and Dragon Ball episodes. A good start to our time here!


For my birthday, we celebrated the weekend before with a bike ride out to try and find a field of Sunflowers that I’d seen when driving with somebody back to Marburg. We weren’t sure if we’d find it, but, after riding through various one-blink-towns, I was delighted when we did. Malcolm bought me a bunch of them and we had a picnic, then rode back to Marburg.





That weekend we also went to the Marburg Open Air Cinema to Watch Monsieur Claude und Seine Tochter. It was super-romantic and lots of fun, plus the movie is hilarious.


On my actual birthday, I was thoroughly spoiled with chocolate brownies and coffee in bed for breakfast. Malcolm also gave me the most beautiful necklace, made by his dad. Seeing as so many people who visit Africa have some piece of jewelry to reflect it, I thought that it’s about time I have a piece of my favourite and birth continent too. Malcolm, knowing my mind, organised it and I love it.


That evening some friends came over to have a picnic in our empty room (since we don’t have enough chairs...), which was really good.


The weekend after my birthday, Petra came to visit and we got to show off Marburg and its splendour. We wandered around to see the castle, E-kirche, the old cobble stone city, had lunch at 1900 (finally had auflauf...!), and had a look at the Sudviertel market. It was really fun and good to see her again.





Of course, there were also late afternoon walks through the forest enjoying the autumn leaves and soft sunlight. Also time spent sitting at the Lahn (ubiquitous graffiti has become invisible to us until I see it in photos...).


All in all, September was great. It’s still odd, having my birthday in Autumn instead of Spring, but it’s rather nice, with Autumn being nearly as colourful as Spring anyway.