German Lesson: der Brunnen

Some expats new to the area asked about the meaning of the word Brunnen and Brunnenfest in general. The German word Brunnen stands for fountain, well, and natural spring. The town of Oberursel has more than 60 fountains.

For the Oberursel Brunnenfest, each year a new Brunnenkönigin (fountain queen) gets chosen. This years’s Brunnenkönigin, Nadine I. represented Brunnenfest 2016, and one part of her official duties is to inaugurate the next fountain for the year.

This year’s fountain was the Urselbachbrunnen, located at the ‘Haus am Urselbach’. (Urselbach stands for Ursel Creek)

Brunnen in Oberursel

One of the 66 fountains in Oberursel

There are 26 fountains belonging to the town of Oberursel, and about another 40 fountains are in private hands.

German Lesson: der Schießstand

What connection do the Oberstedten/Oberursel Shooting Range Club (Schützenverein) and our current Tax and Revenue Office in Bad Homburg have in common? There is one, and it will take us back to WWII.

First, there is this sign at the corner of the road ‘Im Rosengärtchen’ and ‘Forsthausweg’ with that particular Schießstand located at Forsthausweg 9 (towards the animal shelter). This Schießstand is only about a three-minute walk away from the main road. I must have passed this many times without knowing it.

Schießstand

The sign reminded me of the Schützenvereinfest (shooting club fest), located further into the forest towards Oberstedten, which we went to on Christ Ascension Day, a public holiday, which also happens to be Father’s Day in Germany. We go there every year.

On that day, the Schützenverein serve homemade salads, the young ones are behind the grill, occasionally they have a band playing, and the elderly ladies run the cake stand in the back of the club.

Two weeks ago, we were there again with our French family in town. It was interesting to see no indication whatsoever of its club purpose at their fest. Just beer on the table, happy people on benches, the smell of barbecued Bratwurst, and kids running around.

Schützenverein

When the club manager heard, we had brought Parisians to this little fest, he came out to share a bit more about this place.

This shooting range was used for training by soldiers stationed in Bad Homburg during WWII. They’d walk from Bad Homburg through the village of Oberstedten to get to the shooting range. Their military barracks were located what is now the Tax and Revenue Office (Finanzamt) on the Kaiser-Friedrich-Promenade.

Well, major renovations at the Tax and Revenue Office have been underway since January 2016, and so it has temporarily moved to Norsk-Data-Straße 1, in Ober-Eschbach. The restoration should be completed by late 2017. Add at least another six months, since after all, this is Germany, where any form of construction generally takes longer.

Vocabulary: der Schießstand: schießen (to shoot) + der Stand (stand/range)

Be mindful of the pronunciation. In German, when you have a double vowel such as ‘ie’, you’d pronounce the second vowel ‘e’ (a long e in English) only.

If you mispronounce it, and say it with a long ‘i’ instead, you get ‘scheißen’, which is something completely different.

Vacancy at Frankfurt International School

Posted 18 May 2016

Applications are invited for the following position:

►        Elementary Library Assistant effective 1 August 2016, 83% of TG 6

Applications should be in writing and directed to Peter Baker with copy to Rita De La Cruz within seven working days of this notice.

Frankfurt International School
An der Waldlust 15
61440 Oberursel, Germany
Tel.:         +49 (0) 6171-2024478
www.fis.edu

The Cost of Living in London

Our son has been making noises of returning to London after the completion of his second Masters at Fudan University in Shanghai in 2017. Sure, sounds great, but as mindful parents, we worry about the cost of living there.

Right now, he is still at the London School of Economics (LSE) and enjoying his student life (more or less, depending on his course work) with the costs of tuition, accommodations, and spending money being taken care of.

Holborn, London

Holborn, London

For working in London, and making ends meet, I shared with him the basic rule of salary division: 1/3 for cold rent, 1/3 for utilities, groceries, etc. and 1/3 for fun, holidays, and savings.

When I saw this article Rents In London? If You Have to Ask… in the International Herald Tribune, I forwarded it to him to bring him down to earth, so to speak.

Based on my calculation of a monthly GBP 800 contribution in sharing rent, this would require a first-year salary of GBR 28.000 in net pay. Young people often have to make do with less, and he could do it on maybe half his pay going for rent. But like many parents, we had hoped for the financial support to stop at some point in our life.

We finally decided to consult a friend, whose daughter had found a job and a flat to share in London. We inquired how she was getting on in regards to the financial side of things. This was his reply:

She is getting along fine with the cost of living in London. Her parents, who are financing it, not so well. She shares an apartment with a friend in East London which costs us around 800 pounds a month.

Well, we shall see.

Quote of the Day

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.

~ Henry Adams

Maria with journal in Ireland

With my journal in hand, as usual (Irland, 2015)