Thursday, February 19, 2009

War Heroes on Ordinary Days

This blog is a little retrospective although it relates to my current situation also. I am living with my Opa (grandfather) in a large house, covered with snow, beside a Bavarian forest. Today's blog is about my Opa and how funny he is. Also, about my days.

I'm having the kinds of days where it takes forty-five minutes to have a cup of tea. I make everything perfect: tea, saucer, teaspoon, honey, music, magazine and then I finally settle down with a magazine full of photographs of Mount Everest and the people who have climbed it, and I day-dream about difficulty.

As for me, difficulty is the furthest thing from my reality. On my first day in Germany Opa sat my down over lunch and gave me a finances talk. Namely: 'When it comes to finances, I don't want you to stress yourself out, I will take care of it.' I wonder what miniscule percentage of the world can say they are facing the economic collapse with that kind of security. In fact, if this crisis is as memorable as the Depression and my grandchildren ask me - 'how was it for you?' I will have to confess to spending it eating luxury European cheeses, drinking mineral water, driving a beautiful Mercedes and living in a house with an average of three rooms per person. *
Regarding the big fall down, Opa says 'God gives, God takes away, I actually couldn't give a toss.'

When I was younger, I found numerous habits of Opa's annoying - sometimes even insulting and infuriating. I think this is because I was a teenager and teenagers are simply too simular to old people to really get along with them - both groups refuse to compromise their way of life, even an inch. As an 'adult' I am finding him endearing and hilarious.

Everytime he finishes a task - however small - he says 'So!' and looks satisfied. I smile and say 'mmhm!' - mostly because I don't know what else to say - congratulating him would surely be patronizing. This is not to say he's a hopeless old man, quite the opposite. For example, he just picked up the phone: 'Frau Kessler! ... Hallo! Now, tell me, did I stand on your toes in some way or what?! You have been impossible to contact!' and then the sound of laughter.

His Humphrey Bogart brand of charm is certainly having a time-warp effect on me, where I actually enjoy cleaning everything up, setting the tables, being sweetly cordial and grateful, because his appreciation for all this is so evident. I can see how men of his generation convinced women to stay in the kitchen! (This, incidentally, is something he greatly regrets, saying he should have convinced Renate, his wife, to return to the workforce after the children were older. He said it was one of the biggest mistakes of his life to talk her out of it).

This rabbit lives on the shelf and I often admire him (I love Lindt Gold Rabbits) and ring his little bell. Opa noticed and said 'you can eat him if you want' and I was horrified! Of course not!

Sunday breakfast. Notice the lovely German buns Opa goes and buys for me and Burkhard.
* My finances are still dire, despite everything. I basically drive Opa's Mercedes in order to kid myself that things are fine. Also, I can't stay here much longer, so I will need to join the workforce like everyone else. Incase any of you were hating me for being so bourgeoise. It's all I deserve for having so many Marxist friends, no one to brag about rich cars to...


Jenna said...

sweet jersey opa!

Elizabiscuit said...

this was a SWELL post. Jesus. Awesome.

Lucinda said...

Your opa looks SO awesome. It's really great not being a teenager and having a head full of hormones anymore. Whee!

T Wench said...

So it is like you are living in a fairy tale; one of those cool ones written by the brothers grimm. Way jealous. Your blog is fantastic by the way. xx