Okay, I hope I don’t wear you out reading this. If you’re already tired, just read one more sentence and you’ll have our trip in a nutshell! We had a truly marvelous and memorable trip to Europe for Jon and Linda’s wedding. I’m going to try to put up some pictures on FaceBook, so I’ll mostly write my reflections with just a very few pix.
The plane flew up to 687 mph. in order to make up for starting an hour late. I’ve never flown so fast in a plane before! (The flight plan also said it was —55° F. outside!) On our drive between Munich and Marktbergel, on the other hand, we were zooming along at an incredible 21 kph for the first couple of hours, fighting construction and the Friday night exodus from Munich and Nuremberg.
Mike and Grace live in a truly idyllic setting! In the morning, we’d head out for fresh milk from the dairy farm two blocks down the street (yes, the dairy barn is right in the little village!), over to the bakery for fresh bread and pastries, to the butcher shop for whatever meat we might need for the day, and to the grocery store for fruits and veggies plus whatever. It was TOO fun, and everything is so fresh and wonderful.
The wedding lasted from 1:30 pm—4:30 am (Alan and I only made it until 12:30 am) and was truly amazing and memorable. After the wedding service (which was not short), there was a first reception in the church yard with cookies and punch, then there was a break for pictures, followed by a coffee and cake reception (CAKES, a buffet of delicious desserts…every friend’s specialty) at a nearby banqueting hall, and then the real meal deal. The appetizer course was so involved that we all thought it was the main course, and Aaron loaded his plate right down. By the way, one of the ladies took several pictures of Aaron, exclaiming to me (in fun) that “Johnny Depp has come to the wedding! I want to show my friends!” In between courses (the cheeses were served after midnight) there were toasts and introductions, wonderful games, a precious slide show, skits, a treasure hunt (for Jon and Linda), and all sorts of fun. One of my favorites was Linda’s parents singing a song they made up about Jon and Gerlinde’s courtship to the tune of “Daisy, Daisy, Give Me Your Answer Do.” Aaron and Michael provided a skit called “The Duvay,” pretending an argument about how to sleep at night. German couples each have their own blanket rather than the American tradition of a shared bedspread! By midnight when most of the adults were fading, they started dancing, and I think that’s what lasted through the night, although I don’t know! The next morning all the close friends from out of town and family gathered at the Jaeschkes’ home for brunch…lunch…tea…and on! The party finally ended after a wonderful brunch on Monday to celebrate Linda’s birthday, and then Jon was finally able to swoop away his bride to a gorgeous condo in the Swiss Alps (compliments of an ENT doc and his wife, family friends from their church) where they spent their honeymoon mountain climbing and attempting to recuperate from all the excitement of the wedding. And that—my friends—is how they do it in Germany! Oh, one last, very touching tradition. The bride and groom give both mothers a gorgeous “bridal bouquet” that looks just like the bride’s…an extravagant expression of love and appreciation for the parents as the young couple leave their father and mother to become “one flesh” and start a new family of their own!
(Joel, Stephen, Alan, Sarah, Christoph, Johannes [Gerlinde’s older brother, who’s working on a Ph.D. in chemical engineering in Norway], and Suzanna, his lovely wife)
But, the Jaesckes were not finished with their hospitality just because Jon and Linda were gone. They toured us around Erlangen, Wurtzberg, and Nuremberg on following days. Sarah (Mama) is just two weeks younger than I am, but Christoph (Papa) is eight years older and told stories of growing up in Nuremberg. He was born in 1942. One of his earliest memories of his father was one night when his father was able to come home to visit. His father was not a Nazi but was conscripted into the army (as were all “men” 16 or over). He remembers being allowed to crawl into bed with his parents and being amazed that his father had “so many feathers on his chest!” As a youngster, he remembers exploring all the rubble of Nuremberg with other little boys (which was high adventure and strictly off limits because it was so dangerous)…searching for buried treasure…perhaps a crystal off a chandelier that looked like a diamond to them, or some other bit of treasure. Christoph comes from a long line of ministers (his grandfather pastored in the gorgeous church where the ceremony took place). His mother was a doctor, and after the war his parents were missionaries to New Guinea, and from there Christoph went to Australia at the age of 11 for boarding school. What a difficult childhood, although it has made him into a very deep, devout, and thoughtful person! He studied art history before going into the ministry himself, and he knows so much about history, architecture, and art that his tours were truly “THE BEST!” He is a scholar as well as a theologian! Eventually, he married Sarah, who is actually from Ireland but met him while visiting his church with a group of Christian young people. After they married, they became missionaries to Tanzania. Gerlinde is the second of four children (all of whom we met and think are super!), and she spent her early years as a little blonde, blue-eyed dolly playing with very black cuties from Africa. She still loves very hot weather and thinks Florida is great…even in the heat. So, Gerlinde knows both German and English…and Swahili, and maybe a little French and whatever too. She is a tireless worker, and for any of you who may not know, she is also a speech pathologist. (To be continued on another post so I can get the rest of my pictures on…)