Britta's Letters from her life divided between city-life in German's capital Berlin and life in a Bavarian village

Wednesday 29 June 2022

The Joy to be a GrandMa


I love to be a GrandMa, a Grande-Mère. The triplets call me me "Nana", and look blankly when some of the village people speak of me as their "Oma" (and I am not amused - "Oma" makes me feel a hundred and two years old). 

I only see advantages over being a parent (though I was an utterly adoring mother of One): 

I feel that I can give unconditional love. 

(I know that this should be always and everywhere so, but I confess: not always easy for me). 

If you know the Moomin novels by Tove Jansson, (if not: hurry and buy a book - preferable "The Memoirs of Moomin Pappa" or "Tales from Moomin Valley", or "The Moomins and the Great Flood"))" - you also know the "Hemuls" - the ones that always try to better children,  doing "educational games" with them, always watching out that the small orphan moomins hold their little tails in a 90 degree angle,... Hemuls paint the rooms of their strict Bauhaus houses in a "Pisi-brown" (Moomins love little turrets and many angles and curlicues) and play in the brass orchestra. Shudder.   

I do not want to play "educational games". As a GrandMa I am allowed to be childish, giggly, forgiving and utterly adoring. And to smell good with a powdery rose perfume, wear bright colours (preferably pink) and say in the evening: "More fun tomorrow!" 

Parents, even if inside they still are a poetical freedom-loving Mumrik, have to change a bit into the despised "Parkwächter" traffic wardens - parents have the heavy "Pflicht", duty, to educate their child (in our case three at once) to become happy social beings. 

I want that too, of course - but although I obey every rule my son and DiL give, I am more lenient, and more relaxed. 

And that is such a joy! 

Friday 24 June 2022

Strolling, walking, a walk in the park...


I do not know whether the German painter Carl Spitzweg (1808 - 1885 - late (German) Romantik & Biedermeier) is well-known outside Germany. 

He very often did his paintings tongue-in-cheek - though in such a gentle mocking way that nobody felt hurt. 

Above you see my photo from a newspaper, Die Welt, which offered an interesting essay on the cultural history of "The stroll". 

You might call it "walking", if you are more athletic. Or call yourself a "Flaneur", who is more elegant than an athlete. A famous example of a flaneur is the Berlin-author Franz Hessel (1880 - 1941) - a silent observer. 

In the pandemic strolling in the park or woods became a new popular sport. The remembrance of the oh-so-dull Sunday-strolls you had to do with your parents (of that I have drawings in my early diaries when I was about 12 years old) vanished in the pandemic and gave room to a sort of "Lebenslust" - joie de vivre - zest for life - though I have qualms over the term "zest" when I look at Spitzweg's painting "Sunday Stroll" - that family seems more sedate...  

Maybe they are complacent antecedents for the Western discovery of Zen and the Art of Walking

Yours Truly - as you know by now - enjoys her brisk morning walk up the high route - through fields and hilly landscape, which gives me time enough to reflect about "Being Seen": only when I changed my clothes to a fashionable sporting outfit, the inhabitants of the Bavarian village, where I spend great parts of my life now with the triplets, noticed and talked about (and with) me doing "Walking". 

I did it before - in Jeans and a T-shirt - but the phenomenon "Who is she?" when seen WITHOUT the triplets (a phenomenon I noticed too when I was a mother)  - or without sport-dress came into the picture again. 

I miss being a Flaneur in Berlin (nowadays the word-police "created" the "Flaneuse", which I detest) - with little excursions into cafés where you can sit and listen (same blip as with the users of cell-phones: both believe they are invisible and inaudible :-) 

Well, I'll pick a quote from that essay by Claudia Becker in DIE WELT: 

"I can only think when I walk. If I stop my thoughts do the same; my head moves in unison with my legs." Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  (my translation - and hopefully that sentence is only a half-truth) 

If in doubt: Snatch your trainers! 

Sunday 12 June 2022

We've been there, to celebrate them: The Rolling Stones in Munich!


It was such a great show! A travel through time - and the Flying Dutchman and I enjoyed every minute. 

First it seemed that we would not be able to go there: over Munich ramped and raged a storm rainfall. I said: "I won't go if that continues - even the Stones are not worth as much as my health." 

The organisers posted that because of the rain the entry gates would be opened an hour later. 

And suddenly the rain stopped, and the Flying Dutchman (for once much more optimistic than I) said: "Let's go - and when we are at the Olympia Stadion, we'll see if we want to go in or not." 

(= "You can't always get what you want - but if you try some time - you get what you need!")

And so we did. 

At the moment to use Underground and city railway in Munich is no joy - and that will remain so for the next five years - construction areas everywhere. 

The 9 Euro-Ticket (I will write about that mad invention in another post) didn't help: more people on trains, busses and trams than ever. (Though it has funny aspects: the woman sitting beside me in the concert told me: "We came from Hamburg to Munich for 9 Euros - today! - and tonight we'll go back at 4 o'clock." You are allowed only to use the very slow trains - so they got very much travel for their money :-) 

In the stadium: masses of people - many wearing T-shirts from older Stones-concerts, and lots of grey hair - but a third of the fans were really young (and NOT daughters or sons). 

Munich's sky, which had sulked before, suddenly sent a beatyfying smile at the Stones when they started: 

And Yours Truly sang for two hours with the wonderfully alive Stones - bliss! 

And all evening it remained dry!