Monday, July 21, 2014

Mustaches and Head Banging

And then there's this part :)

Oh, and by the way! I did get a part in the Addams Family play. Not for Morticia or Alice... or Gomez... but I got a part as an ancestor so I get to play the part of a ghost!

I can't wait for our first practices tomorrow!

I'm ready...

Ya. This is going to be fun and stuff.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It's all history...

We went and had a little lunch near Thomas' work and then we headed over to see the Maschsee (lake) and the Hannover 96 stadium and gift shop.

Thomas and I had fun watching Marc try to decide which jersey to get for our friend Travis. Travis is a huge soccer fan so when he heard we were going to Hannover he couldn't resist asking us to bring a Hannover 96 Jersey home. Marc was so worried about getting him just the right one at the right price... hee hee! Poor Marc!

We also walked around the lake a little and even got some Mövenpick ice cream... Marc has brought up this certain type of ice cream many times over the years as it was one of his many memories from Hannover. I have to say, I won't forget it either. It was really good.

We visited a few more places to reminisce from Marc's 1988 trip there. It was fun for me to hear him and Thomas laugh and talk about those fun times. During these times, though, we all wished Achim had been there with us.

We then went to the city building of Hannover.

Apparently I had to pull up my pants after taking that shot...

Thomas had been telling us many things about the history of Hannover during WWII and I had no idea how much I didn't understand about the war until I heard him talk about how it affected Hannover. Hannover was devastated. I guess, because I am not a history buff, I just never caught on to how awful this war really was and how many lands and people it affected. Thomas had explained to us how after the war was over most of Hannover was destroyed and the men would go searching for food in the blasted apart homes and the women would gather brick and stone to rebuild homes with. When I was talking to my dad about how much understanding this history better was really affecting me he told me a story about his grandfather who knew of a family that was living in a building on the 3rd story that only had 3 walls. I had no idea. I don't think I really paid attention, it just all went over my head. War just is hard for me to hear about, therefor, I guess it's hard for me to learn about. I've read the "Diary of Anne Frank" and listened to people come talk to us about being prisoners of war or Jews who had been captured and it made my stomach hurt to hear those stories and experiences.

I never realized, though, until I came to a place where much of it had happened, just how devastating it had truly been and to hear all the stories of what people did out of pure fear.

So when we went to the city building and saw the models they had laid out of Hannover prewar, right after the war and the present it was humbling to see what they had been able to build up from the rubble.

Before the war 
Devastation after the war. You can see only a few buildings standing.

Present-day Hannover

It's inspiring to know that even through such tragic adversity that there can still come great things.

Side note: Because of understanding all this better it made watching "The Book Thief" all that much more meaningful and tearful on our plane ride home.

After looking through the inside of the building we were able to go to the top in the world's only elevator to go up on a curve. It was really pretty cool!

From the top we could see the blend of the old, original buildings and the newer ones. (This became even more apparent as we walked the streets afterward.)

Hannover is a very beautiful, tree-filled city. I took so many photos!

Marc had fun taking some too:

That's the Hannover 96 Stadium in the top left...

Then we decided to head down and check out the old down town of Hannover.

We took an elevator most of the way but you had to take the stairs to get to the tippy top.

The first building we walked to was one of the very famous landmarks of Hannover. It is a church that is all completely standing except for the roof after the war. They leave it up in memoriam just as it was after the war. It is really quite beautiful. Marc took a great pic of the outside and I got one of the inside.

It wasn't raining but the clouds were a bit intense for this shot...
Here are a few random things I took pictures of on our walk just because they were cool or funny:
the cow... hee hee...

This is where taking pictures was a lot of fun for me, enjoying all the old architecture.

I even had to take photos of some of the restaurants! They looked like they were set up for a magazine! Very beautiful!

I'd never seen a fisherman fishing in a city canal so I just had to take a picture, but he just had to turn his head...
 On our way back to the car we were able to pass through this awesomely painted tunnel.

I just love empty benches and trees. It's so serene.

When we were coming back to the car Marc saw a car he wished he was going home in...
Brother probably would have tried to get in or at least sit on top of it...

We made reservations at a Spanish restaurant for dinner so while we were waiting for our time Thomas took us for a little drive outside the city more by where he lives. It was beautiful out there. I had taken my camera home at this point so I wasn't able to get any awesome pics... dang.

We talked to Achim on the phone again while driving around. Marc, Thomas and Achim, again, had fun reminiscing about their times in Hannover years ago.

So we finally got to the restaurant. It was a Spanish Restaurant, not a Mexican Restaurant. I don't think I've ever been to a Spain-style restaurant but I am not sure that I am in a hurry to get back... they were fun but just not much flavor... at least not the kind I liked. We had what was called Tapas, which is basically a lot of meat... lots and lots of small pieces of meat... lots of it... 

It was fun, though, to try something different which is why we went there.

And that was our full day tour of Hannover.

Now I'm here at my desk posting about only memories.

It's all history...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hands Down, Hannover

The night we got to Hannover Thomas first drove us to where he and Achim used to live, the same place Marc had visited so many years ago.

Marc's heart was leaping with joy, I could tell. He was so excited to be in a place where there were so many great memories of great friends. Marc and Thomas began to reminisce as Thomas took us on a short tour through Hannover before going to his apartment.

Thomas gave up his room to Marc and I. It was awesome. It was it's own little suite upstairs with great views.

I have no photos of Thomas' apartment... not sure why... well, I lied, I do have one...

I have no idea why this one is the only one can find...

This is from Marc's phone... you can guess where he is sitting for this shot...

Great shower!


That night we were able to talk with the kids, Marc's parents, my parents and my brother Daniel in Illinois! It was so exciting to talk to the kids and see that they are doing well, but it was really surprising to talk to my parents in Illinois! My mom never travels. So her being in Illinois was a bit of a shock. My brother was being put in as a counselor in the Bishopric so my parents wanted to be there for that special occasion.

Our kids were so happy while we  were gone that it made it easier for me to have fun on my time away.

Sister was taking pictures...

I think Lindsey and Ken were having fun too!

So it was good to go to sleep that night knowing all was well.

In the morning we woke up and were on our way to Thomas' work. He had to get some things done and we wanted to see where he works so we decided to go with him and then walk around while he was working.

Before going to his work, we made a little stop to visit Thomas' father in his elderly care home. I pause to tell you about this because it was a sweet and spiritual experience for me.

Thomas is an only child so the care of his father falls on his shoulders.

His father, Heinz, has Alzheimers. Thomas was a bit hesitant to have us see his dad as it is just a sad situation. He doesn't speak and he can't see well.

I have never done well in rest home-type situations.

It always scared me, until I had a special experience with me Grandpa Fred, and now I see them as a more sacred place... hard to explain, but, I hope in telling my experience with Heinz that it will make more sense.

As we entered the room where Thomas' father and a roommate were staying there was a certain pang of fear I felt at the very beginning... I look back now and just realize it was sadness for what our friend, Thomas was facing in his life with his father being so ill.

Heinz's roommate gave me a chuckle when he realized when I spoke that there was a female in the room, he tried to sit up and say hello... what a flirt... tee hee!

Then I looked over to see Thomas talking with his father who was calling out in what sounds like a cry of pain, but maybe he's just singing with the angels who keep him company.

I say this because as I watched Thomas being so tender with his father you could feel the love they have for each other and you could feel the strong spirit of heaven in the room. It was then that I was reminded that we, here on earth, are truly not alone in our suffering. Angels guard and protect us and give us peace in our toughest times here on earth.

I felt and instant connection to Heinz and wanted to say hello to him and let him know Marc and I cared and hoped that he could feel us there and know that his son has friends who care for him.

Heinz, looked blankly unless his son was stroking his head or talking to him.

I got up the nerve to talk to him and when I did, Heinz looked at me! I was so surprised as he hadn't seem to really show much sign of realizing that Marc and I were there.

When he looked at me I wanted to talk to him and bear my testimony to him of what I know about life after this. I wanted to give him comfort... but, somehow, when our spirits connected in that moment, I knew that he already knew this and was just being comforted until his time came. I still wanted to reach out to him but I don't speak German, and he doesn't understand English.

Then it came to me, I could sing him a song. Everyone understands music. Music transcends languages, but I didn't know what song to sing. I kept thinking of Primary songs but I didn't want to make Thomas uncomfortable so I tried to think of some other sweet simple song to sing... then I remembered my Grandpa Willy used to sing a German song to me and the other grandkids all the time and for some reason it came to me in that moment.

So I apologized to Heinz for not being able to speak to him in German, but that I could sing a song to him in German, "Mein hüt est hat drei ecken, drei ecken hast mein hüt..." I could only remember a few lines but, it is My hat, it has 3 corners, 3 corners has my hat... and it goes on.

Heinz's face lit up as he looked at me and Thomas was surprised that I knew such an old song.

We were only there for about 10 minutes, but it was one of the most touching 10 minutes of my life. I appreciate that Thomas allowed Marc and I to share a moment with his father because, hands down, this is what made Hannover one of my favorite cities we visited.

After meeting Heinz, we were able to go to Thomas' work and meet a few of his employees, Mario and Basta. They were a hoot and a half.

We met and talked for a moment and then Marc and I left to go on our walk to the Royal Gardens of Hannover. Just the walk there was beautiful. Tree-lined paths and beautiful green everywhere. Not to mention, the view of my hubby wasn't too bad either (wink).

Then we got to the gardens and I went camera crazy! It was amazing in there!

When we got back to the office I was still camera crazy so I wanted to take a couple work shots:

They look serious at work, but don't let that fool you... they are cray-cray! Hee hee! They really are a lot of fun!

I told Thomas to get his "boss" on...
 Start off hard and end with a smile... 

And that, my friends, is all I have time to blog about today.

I actually have to go make dinner... can you believe that? 
Me, a wife and mother, has to go make dinner...

Tee hee!

Tomorrow I shall blog and make dinner at the same time!


Just kidding!

I'm really not in the mood to do that again...