Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Last US Visitors

Our very last American visitors came a few weeks ago. It was the first time that my well-traveled aunt and uncle had visited and we had an excellent time together.

The Mr. was off skiing with his friends in a previously planned trip for the majority of their time here. It was a pity to miss him and we all fit into my VW Touran easier.

Uncle J is a master builder and showed great enthusiasm and patience in building with PJ. Together they built one complicated work of Lego art after another. Uncle J also helped PJ continue to learn that Legos don't break; Legos come apart, giving us another opportunity to build something even better.

Aunt P and little Jelly Bean bonded as well. By the fifth day, Bean wanted Aunt P to help her wake up in the morning.

We all went to Heidelberg together. There we introduced our visitors to Döner and Yufka. All things food inspire Bean and the entire family seemed to enjoy the food. It was excellent to have the chance to say goodbye to our favorite Döner place as well.

I also voted for my first primary ever while in Germany. Check out all the swag I got, even a Thin Mint cookie from the Girl Scouts!

While it wasn't always peaceful, and PJ still struggles with transitions and over-excitement, there continue to be many moments of laughter and sibling learning. Like this one while waiting for a bus in Heidelberg.

And this one at the Heidelberg castle.

And this one in the Schwetzingen castle garden. Both wanted to hold my hand to make "big-big-big" shadows.

Together we also went to Wörms and experienced Jewish history returned to life. We toured Schwetzingen. We went to Speyer. These are places that I've spent a good slice of time in while living here for work and while touring with visitors. I wouldn't have taken the time to say goodbye to each and now, with some time for reflection and even closer to our move, I'm so thankful that I did.

Once the Mr. returned, we even went to Straussbourgh, France.

The entire crew on a boat, in the sun. Fabulous French eclairs in our bellies.

While I've reached out to my aunt a handful of times for advice and feel an almost instant comfort with her, I haven't really spent all that much time with her or my uncle J. She lives on one coast and I lived first at home and then at college and then in Europe. This trip offered a chance to learn more about both.

For example, my uncle takes really good pictures and he takes taking pictures seriously. He can also fix anything and enjoys the process as well as the result. He has traveled extensively; gets frustrated (first time I ever felt that!); and has a very quiet and musical faith and practice of his faith. He is also giving of his experience and his wisdom, providing powerful input into the paperwork side of our move.

My aunt is far more forgiving and generous of her experience, her mistakes, her wisdom, and her struggles than even I expected. She has mothered two very different children into adulthood and is (to date) the most clear and supportive ally in my life who offered me realistic, loving feedback about my parenting and my children when asked.
Together they have been married almost 35 years. They are serious and they are hilarious.
They live both. And it is gorgeous to be a part of and watch from nearby.

Thanks for your time, Aunt P and Uncle J.


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