It was an early morning at the train station. My high-speed ICE train was leaving the Amsterdam Centraal station a few minutes after 8am so I wanted to be there by 7:30 latest and the way the train schedules worked out, I got there at about 7:10am.
As part of my ticket booking process, I reserved a seat on the train. But you don’t really “have” to sit in that specific seat unless someone makes a stink about it. And someone did; apparently I was taking a seat that had been reserved as part of a large school group or something and they all wanted to sit together. Understandable; but I moved a bit grudgingly. I went and found my specific seat and everything was fine. Then, a little while later, we had to make an unscheduled stop at a train station platform because the rear half (4 train cars) of the train was having a technical problem and so everyone in the back half hand to get off the train, walk forward to the front half (4 train cars) and find open seats. I had found a seat free and then the guy that made a stink about me being in the group’s seat walked by me. In my mind I was grinning devilishly and snickering under my breath “yea, where’s your reserved seat now!” I know… I’m bad and I sort of reprimanded myself; NOT NICE!
I was expecting to stop somewhere at the border of Netherlands and Germany and that someone would check my passport…. but nope. We flew across the border. Because of the delay of moving train cars due to some technical problem, my connection time in Siegburg/Bonn decreased from about 45 minutes to 15 minutes. Hopped on the train to Betzdorf and was there approximately 45 minutes later.
When I got off the train, my sister wasn’t immediately there and I was thinking hmmm… she said she would be here. Maybe something came up and she’ll be late. Should I start walking to Dickendorf. But I waited maybe 2 or 3 minutes and then she pulled in! Her sister-in-law Lydia was with her. I haven’t seen my older sister since the end of May 2014 at her wedding to her husband Janek.
On the way back to Dickendorf we made a stop at a supermarket to pick up a few things and then went to her “flat” (what they call an apartment in Germany). We stopped at Lydia’s house though to drop her and some groceries off. I brought my stuff into Sarah’s flat and then just went with Sarah for whatever she had to do really. A little while later I went to see my Dad who was also visiting Sarah. I haven’t seen Dad since I left to fly to Bangkok back in October. While there, I saw Janek and said hello. Also saw some other old friends.
We all ate lunch together at Lydia’s house. Something you should know; my brother-in-law is Polish and they live in Germany. His parents were there and they only know Polish. My sister, Janek, Janek’s brother Marek and Lydia both know Germany, English, and Polish. So the lunch table was a mash of English, Polish, and German so that everyone could understand what was being said or at least the general topic was known to everyone. I can understand a good bit of German and so can usually pick up the main point of a conversation but I don’t know any Polish with the exception of a Polish tongue twister that a friend taught us a long time ago. 😀
It was nice to just be with my sister and help her with whatever. We got a little silly which we haven’t done in ages! She bought a long black licorice for us to eat together because none of the men (meaning Dad, Janek, or her brother-in-law) like it and so she never buys it from the health food shop.
When we went to the shop, I bought three 500-gram containers of zuckerruben syrup which, literally translated means sugar red, but in English is sugarbeet syrup. It has a very similar consistency to molasses; basically so dark of a brown that it looks black, and is very viscous. I like molasses, but I freaking LOVE sugarbeet syrup. It has a lot of iron in it which is good. 🙂 I put it on toast, on cereal with milk, in yogurt of any kind, on fresh fruit. It might not sound appetizing, but one other thing that I just douse in sugarbeet syrup is a nice piece of toast with mashed up perfect avocado… my mouth is watering just imagining it. So yes, I have a 1.5kilo-stockpile of this stuff waiting for me at home. I sent those containers with Dad because I didn’t have room and didn’t want the weight in my backpack for the rest of my trip. Also, they would be gone by the time I got home anyway. And if a drop of it is gone when I get there, well… I’ll leave it there. 😀 I’m a little possessive of my sugarbeet syrup.
My sister and her husband work for the church I grew up in; the Sabbath Rest Advent Church (or Sabbatruhe Advent Gemeinschaft). The “headquarters” is here in Dickendorf, Germany. They have done a lot of work to this place and now have a beautiful health food shop where they sell mostly (if not all) organic produce, and a lot of healthy foods that they get from sources they know is healthy and how it is made or they produce it themselves in a large production area within the main building. Products they produce themselves include a lot of bread, vegan ice cream (it’s delicious, I tried some!), granola, bread spreads, and many other things. They also have a farm where they grow all organic produce which they sell in the shop. The shop has quite the regular stream of happy customers from the area. I borrowed some pictures that were on Google Maps for the shop. See below.
There are also two or three medical doctors that have a practice here and offer more alternative/natural remedies. I personally have only been a patient once; years ago (back in 2005 or 2006) I was riding a bike and went to get on the sidewalk at a driveway where the curb was lowered but somehow still managed to crash and cut one of my knuckles wide open. I still have a little bit of a scar from it…or maybe it’s just me knowing it happened and I’m picturing the scar. Anyway, yea, I got my finger cleaned and bandaged up. I was a little sore from that crash for a day or two.
The church also runs a vegan restaurant in another big town about an hour away.
Ok, on to today; Wednesday. Janek works in construction and does remodeling projects. My Dad went over to help with a project they’re currently working on. They’re remodeling what used to be a kindergarten. I helped with the kindergarten for between two and three months back when I was there in 2005/2006. It’s funny to see one little rascally whipper-snapper I knew way back then now as a young adult. 😀
My sister and I helped Janek and Dad with the construction. First we did a little cleaning of the construction area and then we given the task to put up a few sheets of sheetrock (or gypsum board). Some of the sheetrock had to have holes drilled in them to fit around pipes. So, measuring, marking, drilling, placing, and screwing the boards to the metal studs. It was fun! But goodness, women (meaning me and my sister at least) just don’t have vast experience in construction and so we ended up doing things probably the longer and harder way. When we had a question or an issue, we would ask Dad and Janek; they would come over and be like “so, what’s the problem?” and just like that, bing bang boom, problem solved… why didn’t we think of that? 😀 Oh goodness. Sarah said “well we’re not getting paid by the hour so that’s good”… Sarah and I would be a very expensive construction crew.
Here’s a few pictures of working together with the family:
Just a short video panorama of the area where we were working. This area is being remodeled from kindergarten to a hydrotherapy office.
That’s the extent of the photos I have together with my Dad and my sister. Working, working, working….
Lunch was again at Lydia’s house and was a mash of German, English, and Polish. The food is always delicious and you leave stuffed because Polish folks won’t have it any other way.
This morning I didn’t do much other than get ready for the day and go through my big pack, organize, refold, sort, and pull out everything that I wasn’t using and that Dad could take home with him so I didn’t have to pay more shipping. I worked on my blog a bit as well and/or did some travel planning and make reservations. In the afternoon, we all went swimming together at Marienbad, an indoor swimming pool in Bad Marienberg. I haven’t been there since 2005/2006. Flashback to way back when. 🙂 There’s a water slide you can go down and so Sarah, Dad, Janek, Janek’s Dad, and I went down it quite a few times, trying to make bigger and bigger splashes by twisting and turning as we went down. Such a blast. 😀
We had lunch shortly after we got back from swimming. Janek’s family and Lydia had made an epically huge and delicious bowl of Polish potato salad. Wow, you didn’t want to stop eating it. It was SO good!
Woke up and while eating breakfast I noticed how the sun was coming up making the frost shine like sparkles on the grass.
My sister went to college to be a nurse and is now an internationally quality Registered Nurse. 🙂 She had an interview this morning at a local hospital and so I decided to go with her (partly to make sure she was on schedule/on time) but partly just to be with her for a little longer. While she was in the hospital, I wandered around the town where the hospital was; Hachenburg, Germany. It’s a nice town. I walked through the old part of the town which had a really nice village square, some shops and little restaurants. I also walked up around the exterior of an old castle that was really pretty.
Was getting fancy with photography of the castle-type building with close proximity to an old telephone booth and playing with reflections.
The telephone booth was that as well as a small library apparently. there were shelves in there and a bunch of books.
I had told my sister I would meet her back at the hospital at 11AM so that if she was done already we could head back and if she wasn’t done I would just wait in the reception area of the hospital. Well, I walked up to the parking area where I remembered that we parked the car and…. her car is gone. And so I’m thinking “Sarah probably got out of her interview and forgot I was here with her and so left me and went back to Dickendorf.” It didn’t totally surprise me. I almost laughed thinking “well, as soon as she gets back to Dickendorf someone will ask her where I am and then she’ll race back to Hachenburg and pick me up.” But then I thought, wait…. I didn’t go up to the hospital reception area yet. So I walked up and sure enough, as I was walking towards the door, Sarah was walking towards me. She had moved the car to a different area because the hospital let her out of a paid parking area for free.
We stopped at a shop so Sarah could get some new clothing items and then went home. We had to get dinner on the table quickly and we started to eat because I had to be back at the Betzdorf train station for my 2:28pm train to Munich. When the time to leave was fast approaching, I found myself wanting to stay; do I have to leave? Do I have to keep moving? Yess!!! I have friends I have appointments with this weekend; people I haven’t seen in two years or more. More places to see, things to do, little bit more money to spend, adventures to have. Not done yet…come on body, get into gear!
Over the course of the few days I was there, my sister showed me some new and interesting cooking ideas. This little tool is a frother or some such ‘dohikamajig’ (I came up with that word by combining doohiky and thingamjig on the fly) for making coffee/lattes. But you can make really good coffee alternatives so you don’t have the caffeine and other stuff that’s in regular coffee. Then, she combined carob icecream with the “coffee” she had made and gave me icecream coffee – ganz lecker (or super tasty/delicious in English).
My sister also had me and Dad try a yummy drink made with probably 3 or 4 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice, a heaping large spoon of sugarbeet syrup (mixed together so that the sugarbeet syrup is dissolved into the juice, and then you add sparkling mineral water by pouring it from up high to get that beer-like foam on the top. It was really yummy. I will be making that at home. I mean, come on…it has sugarbeet syrup in it so of course I loved it! 😀