Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas to everyone at home! I have spent a good part of this afternoon catching up with my family and wishing them a Merry Christmas. I have now experienced my first Christmas in Germany. It was really quite refreshing because the season is very understated compared to the States. They open their gifts on the evening of the 24th and have a quiet family gathering. I shared the evening with the family that owns the home where I am living, the Knaups. It was an interesting evening in many respects because there were several generations in the house, so the conversation spanned the time period before the 2nd world war to cell phones and modern technology. When talking about the war, today's generation said that the Germans as a community knew that something wasn't quite right with what Hitler was proposing to make Germany a world power, but he provided them with food and a decent lifestyle, even if it was under strict control of the government, so they just looked the other way during the time of the Holocaust. After the war, they said there was nothing left of Germany, not "any stone on stone" and the added dilemma of there being no men left. Millions of men had died fighting, consequently, it was the women who did a lot of the work to rebuild Germany. It was also sobering to hear that Hitler sacrificed men in his own army at one battle when they were surrounded by the Russians and he refused to let them retreat. 200,000 German men died as a result. Hitler viewed fighting in a war as a way to make the strongest men rise to the top and if they got killed, it was because they were weak and needed to be eliminated anyway. War to us in America is something that happens somewhere else, not on our home turf. It was very interesting to speak to people that had actually lived it. On the lighter side, at one point the conversation turned to Germany's obsession with separating the garbage and even they had to laugh at themselves when it came to the example of how to throw away a teabag. The paper tag went with the paper, the tea bag went into the organic container, the staple on the paper to the tin can container and the string to the household waste container. The population as a whole is much more well versed on world politics than the average American. I think that must be because in America we feel so removed from the rest of the world, it isn't that important. But when you live in the European community, you are very close to all the problems that we only read about. I can tell you that George Bush is VERY unpopular here in Germany. The time is going quickly now and I will be leaving for FL on Jan. 9. I have to go to Amsterdam for the day on Jan. 3 to take a safety course to get certified in precautions on a 747 and an MD-11 so that I can travel as part of the crew on the cargo plane that will take us to Miami. That will be something unusual to add to my resume'! We are looking forward to some FL sunshine, it has been hovering in the 30's here and very gray, no snow to speak of. The horses will be glad to get home so they can enjoy some turnout time. They are super fit, even after 7 days straight of work, today they were like kites on the end of the lead shank when I took them out to graze!


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