My Introduction to Germany

I have arrived and find my introduction to Germany to be both entertaining and challenging. The city of Gütersloh is quite upscale. I love the clean, varied residential areas. What I’ve seen so far is a combination of post-war housing and more contemporary homes. As would be expected, the older buildings are in the center of the town.  

Cultural Activities  

In my first week, I went to a film in German, attended a rock concert, went to a jazz concert, and was introduced to televised rugby games. The film and concerts are free each week during the summer into September, underwritten by the city and/or businesses. What a pleasant way to spend late afternoons.  

Gütersloh buildings surrounding the Martin Luther Church –

My hosts are still here. Now that their kids have moved out, they are making their three-story house into rooms and an apartment. The apartment has taken them much longer to build that they expected. They will probably leave about the time you read this and I will be on my own. They are very lovely people and it has been a joy to live in a family situation after so many years. The husband, Henry, is a rugby referee and player, so we have watched several games, a sport which is new to me.  

New Challenges  

My introduction to Germany has also pushed me into the 21st Century. The home I’m staying in for the next 2-1/2 months is for me high tech. I have had to learn how to operate a Krups coffee machine, not the kind with the small packets of ground coffee, but an installation with built in water supply and bean grinder. I think I have mastered this.  

Gütersloh Historic Water Tower

Then there is the fancy microwave and oven. They require choosing time and temperature and figuring out many buttons to push depending on what you are heating/baking. I think I have this down. At least, I can heat porridge (oatmeal) in the morning. I did bake a loaf of banana bread last Saturday. Veronica, the wife, has been coaching me so I’ll be able to operate the home after they leave.  

As if those were not enough, my introduction to Germany has meant trying to fathom a large-screen television. I have not had a television since 2006. The challenges have been to get all the right buttons pushed to get basic channels. I have yet to learn how to go beyond those to get the myriad of channels possible. Henry set some of this up for me. Since my German is almost not existent, I want to have some English-language news and programs to watch. There’s nothing like challenges to keep me young.  

Going to Town  

Gütersloh Germany

I’ve been into the town square a few of times, but I need to get back there again to discover the stores and restaurants. I hope to take some pictures. The second time I went in, I got lost coming back. I had to ask several people how to get home. I discovered that all the younger people could answer me in English while the older people could not. On top of that barrier, I was caught in a pretty dreadful rain storm with branches falling (I pulled one out of the street so cars wouldn’t have to drive around it). I was totally soaked by the time I did get home. It took two days to dry out my shoes.  

I think I’m really going to like living in Gütersloh. When it isn’t raining (which has been a daily occurrence), there are a lot of paths, bike ways, and sidewalks to discover. I also have a wonderful home in which to spend my time. I’ll keep you posted.  

Fact: Gütersloh developed in the 19th century around the textile and meat-processing industries
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