Stories of this Canadian girl's adventures exploring Europe...join me!

Friday, December 31, 2010

family

Well, friends, I apologize for my blog silence, and am so happy that if you're reading this you have continued to check for new posts.  Thank you.  Greetings on the last day of the year.


On Sunday, great guy and I managed to get the car started, with best friend entrusted to keep finicky Pelletti happy, and we headed for the autobahn.  With our tom tom navi (GPS) telling us our fastest route would only be 350 kms we were excited.  But, technology, as I found with my unloadable handy (cellphone) and the unreliable internet connections, is not to be trusted.  Seven hours later, after lots of stau (traffic jams) tom tom said that we had arrived at our destination.  Family.


In the coming days I will write about Kempten and M√ľnchen, but today I'm feeling reflective.  This year has brought many changes, probably most years do.  In my case, this year, these changes, were wonderful and good for me; new place, new guy, new career (hopefully), new friends, deepening relationships with older friends, good news, excellent kid time, a great wedding, new york, grid road runs, mojitos, camping, baby k on the way, inspiring interviews, station work, and I could go on.  


I know that, for some of my friends with families, who will be reading this, they will be thinking that nothing much has changed in their lives over the past year.  They might be thinking that life is stale, boring, constant.  But, I look at these lovely families, and see growing babies, exploring toddlers, energetic preschoolers, and constantly evolving children into teenagers into young adults...and the adults who nurture, inspire, dream for and with, encourage, support, and love them.  I love watching these families, and this process of growing children.  It fascinates me, and I think that these changes are really so much more profound and important than the changes brought by a location or career move.  


But, mired in the constant-ness of daily routine, money and life stress, the ways in which we all grow and change can be missed.  Wouldn't it be a good idea to check in with who we were a year ago and who we are now?  What did I learn this past year?  Anything?  What were our children interested in last December? What new words does my kid know now, or I for that matter?  Where did I go this past year and who did I meet?  Was I changed by that person in some way and what was my impact on him or her?  Am I a kinder person?  Some good questions for the last day of the year.


My family will be changing dramatically in 2011, and I can't wait!  I'm so excited for a new little K to be born, the first Canadian K since 1975...and it's about time.  In thinking about my family, over the past week especially, I would like to share my favorite family story (which some of you already know), which my dad told me this summer.


Here it is:


We have a family whistle, and by that I mean that my dad and my brother have a whistle which I, and everyone who knows them, responds to.  Yes, often I have felt like the family pet being called into the house, but mostly it's just plain handy.  In a crowd, even though we're a family of giants and very easy to spot,  our family whistle has always been a comforting, uniquely-our-own, call of home.

This afternoon, sitting across from my dad at his kitchen table, in his idyllic home in the country with the horses grazing outside in the heat of the summer sun, he told me this story:

In 1945, the war having come to an end four months previously, my grandfather, a young, German soldier, had made his way home from Denmark or northern Germany to Oberau-Berchtesgaden, a mountain town deep in south-eastern Germany.  To avoid being caught by the British or the Russians, he had been hidden by a farmer who supplied him with food and civilian clothing, and presumably, directions.  When he set out for home and family he kept close to the British and Russian occupational zone borders, not venturing too far into either territory.  He had slept in ditches during the days and hitched rides on midnight trains, each day getting closer.  As he entered the American Occupation Zone he relaxed a little bit.  Home was near.  He began walking during the daylight. 

And on a warm,  August day in that mountain town, my dad, a month shy of turning 6, sat in a cherry tree outside of their simple, white house.  Suddenly, he heard the whistle , our whistle, coming from down the road.  The war was over.  His dad was home.


My love to all of you this December 31.  Thinking of you.  Nina 

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