Monday, July 18, 2011

Auf Wiedersehen does not mean "goodbye"!

I love how the German words for "goodbye" (Auf Wiedersehen) do not even mean "goodbye"; they mean "until I see you again" (wieder means "again" and sehen means "see"). As with our previous moves, the last 4 weeks are busy with catching up with friends, saying "until I see you again" and of course getting caught up with the last minute things that go hand in hand with each move. I had my finals at uni last week and was busy studying for those. I must say here that Zev has been an incredibly supportive and encouraging husband during the length of my Masters of Laws degree here (it started on October 15th last year and I will graduate this Wednesday!) I also give Glory to God for sustaining me and listening to my constant prayer for peace and patience in studying. The language barrier was the biggest challenge of this degree as well as the challenge to keep going when my eyes were tired and the German words didn´t make sense. So, as a result of a busy past couple of weeks, I haven´t had time to post as often as I would like. I do want to record our last few weeks in Germany and remember the awesome friends we have made here, so here is a blog entry with a sneek peek into the past few days.
1. French Baptism

Last Saturday, our dear French friends, Adele and Romain celebrated the baptism of their baby girl, Manon. You may remember that Adele and I first met in German "A1". We have both shed tears of frustration and joy, all because of the incredibly difficult German language! I can´t believe that Manon is already 6 months old. She is a beautiful baby girl and Adele is so in love with her, it´s precious to see. It was fun catching up with Adele and Romain´s family members, who we met at their wedding in France in 2009! I love that we are introduced as "die Amerikaner" and that their French family members smile and nod their head and don´t say much to us if they don´t speak English (a lot of them spoke great English though!) The baptism itself was beautiful. It was all in French so Zev and I did not understand our word and therefore just smiled and nodded our heads, but it WAS a beautiful day and great to say "Auf Wiedersehen" to Adele and Romain who are off to France for a ONE MONTH holiday. We foresee those guys coming to visit us in the States one day....
At "Uferlos at Katherinenlinde" where we had lunch (mny favorite restaurant. I always order the number 413 salad and Zev almost always orders the Jägerschnitzel or the Tellerschnitzel. We both order "Dunkles Bier" which is so dark it looks black but is oh so creamy and yummy!)
Zev inside the French/ German church. It´s all "Greek" to him ;-)))

2. The "local" festival (across the street!)

Also on Saturday, after Manon´s baptism, we went to the local "Wäldenbronn Music Club" festival which takes place in the field across our house each year. It is such a fun event and it was cool to have "oompa loompa" (ie: traditional German) music playing right outside our front yard. It was all fun and games except for the fact that last week was also my finals week at uni and I really had no other place on Saturday or Sunday to study (EVERYTHING is closed here on Sundays!) Thankfully I was able to study with Zev´s extra-strength shooting ear muffs on and everything turned out fine. Our next door neighbor (who happens to be our landlord as well) was singing with his singing club on Saturday, so we came out to support him and have dinner.
3. The "best" way to end the study year.
Last Thursday was my last exam as part of my Masters of Laws degree. It has been a hard degree to complete, because I had to research and write a thesis in German, but it was probably my most rewarding degree and I learnt SO MUCH. In case you´re interested, I wrote my thesis comparing the approaches to applying Juvenile Criminal Law between Germany and the US. The approaches vary vastly. Juveniles between 14 and 18 are ALWAYS adjudicated before a juvenile court, pursuant to the Juvenile Law in all of Germany (they do not have separate laws for each of the 16 "states" or "Bundesländer"). Also, 18 to 21 year olds also come under juvenile law for crimes, if it can be proven that their crimes were juvenile in nature or they committed a "typically" juvenile crime. (Think graffiti, joy riding but also breaking into cars and stealing a CD player or breaking a window intentionally). The German juvenile law affords a much wider range of sanctions that focus on making the juvenile personally pay for their damages and in most cases apologize to the victime and even spend some time in jail as a "short sharp shock". Although in the US we tend to "treat" juveniles as adults under the law a lot earlier than the German system does, the fact is that the crime rate is significantly lower here in Germany and the incarceration rate is much lower in Germany; they have "only" 150 per 100,000 people in prison as opposed to 750 per 100,000 in the US. I learnt some excellent lessons on how we can improve our juvenile law system in the States. My dream is to eventually teach criminal law at a law school. I have heard that it is hard to get a teaching professor´s job but right now I am praying to see if that´s where God wants me to go. So (before my long digression there), I wanted to mention that after my last exam, my dear German friends, Laura, Philipp and Marco, who I met in Kriminologie I last year, were waiting outside the exam room with a bottle of champagne and a present. They totally surprised me and were so sweet to be there to celebrate with me. They gave me one of the BEST presents ever; a handmade calendar with pictures of them in different parts of historic Tübingen and holding up signs with typically "Schäbisch" sayings. It was so sweet. I loved it. Here are some pics.

Zev is finishing up his last few weeks at work and is working hard till the end. I am so proud of him.
Hope you have a great week!
Love Zev and Fi xo