Journaling

Some good friends are in Weimar for the weekend, and they sent me this in the mail this morning.

While strolling around the Nationaltheater (national theater), they came across this famous quote by Oscar Wilde, glued onto the cobble stones, and then they thought of me.

Kopfsteinpflaster Weimar

Original quote: “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”

Yes, my friends, well, anybody, always see me carry my journal around. Not only when I’m traveling, but throughout any regular day.

I use it daily. I write first thing in the morning, while the coffee is still brewing. The journal holds my to-do list, any creative ideas, Chinese fortune cookie sayings find a home with a glue stick, and so much more. It’s a great organizer for loose notes as well.

When my children were younger, and dinner service at the restaurant took a bit too long (yes, we are in Germany), I asked them to draw something in it to pass the time. That will be a nice memory to look at someday.

I started journaling in 1992, when I lived in the U.S.A. In the past 24 years, I must have filled about 40 journals or more. The journals look more like a scrap book, because I add more life in form of tickets, photos, etc. to the covers too.

I find writing very soothing. I can have a thoughtful conversation with myself. Sometimes, I’m just happy to be home and ‘visit myself’, while everyone else is out.

Until now, I have used my journals only twice to do some research. One search was for information about Japan, and the other one was looking up a certain date.

So there really isn’t any further usage once I get past the writing. But writing helps me clear my mind, set goals, and stay organized.

Whether you are an expat experiencing a new culture, or a new mom wanting to leave a lasting memory for her child, or your spouse is too bored to listen. Writing is therapeutic.

Sorting Trash in Germany: Organic Waste or Biomüll

Organic waste is Biomüll in German, and since January 2015, we here in Hessen, have to separate our organic waste from the Restmüll (general waste).

General waste contained about 50% of organic waste, which is about 5000 tons of such. This also means in terms of truckload numbers, that those extra 500 organic waste loads used to get taken to the incineration plant at a higher cost. To compare the cost – burning 1000 kg Restmüll costs euro 240, whereas 1000 kg of recycling organic waste costs only euro 60.

What is Biomüll for the good German and law-abiding, trash-sorting citizen? Here is a comprehensive list of what goes into the brown Biotonne (organic-waste container). This list was taken from our local newspaper (issue: September 2014)

  • Leftover and spoiled food
  • Moldy bread
  • Dairy products
  • Meat and fish
  • Bones
  • Hair, feathers, wood shavings
  • Produce (including exotic fruits and peelings)
  • Horticultural waste and trimmings such as grass, tree, bush, as well as flowers, weeds, dead leaves, needles, bark, fallen fruits
  • Tea leaves and coffee grounds incl. paper filters
  • Flower bouquets
  • Decorative plants
  • Old soil
  • Paper towels and paper napkins
  • Nut and egg shells

You can buy biodegradable paper bags or wrap your organic waste in old newspapers to dispose of it.

Organic Waste containers in Germany

Organic Waste containers in Germany

At the moment, our apartment building of 8 families only really makes use of one container. When we inquired, whether we could return one container, we were told we would be charged even more for the pick-up.

That kind of budgeting is waste, too.

Old German Handwriting in the Classroom

This Old German cursive was taught in most German schools from 1915 – 1941.

To create a modern handwriting script, now known as the Sütterlinschrift (Old German hand), the graphic artist Ludwig Sütterlin was commissioned by the Prussian Ministry of Science in 1911.

When the Nazi Party banned Sütterlin, it was replaced it with Latin-type letters. However, many German speakers, such as the generation before me, had been taught only Sütterlin and therefore continued to use it well into the post-war period.

In 3rd grade, we had to learn Sütterlin, a mandatory part our our education. I’m very glad I learned it, because later in life, I was able to decipher old postcards, my father’s documents, and so much more.

I found this Deutsche Schrift (Old German writings) teaching supply at a private flea market in Oberursel the other day. It had come from an elementary school in Oestrich-Winkel (near Rüdesheim), where the seller’s father had worked as the Hausmeister (maintenance man) for many years. When the archives had to be cleared, he was given permission to take this one home.

Now I’ve got it hanging at my place of work.

Deutsche Schrift in der Grundschule

Deutsche Schrift in der Grundschule

Hessische Lehrmittel (Hessian teaching material), rolled up, with yellowed paper on the back

Schriftrolle

 

German Autobahn Trivia and More

The Local Germany has gathered eight interesting facts about the Autobahn. In turn, I have a few of my own to add.

  • Back in 1847, they’d already had speed limits. Based on an archived newsletter from the town of Regensburg dated April of that same year, four people were charged a fine because of speeding in a horse-drawn carriage.
  • In 2015, the car maker VW sold 7.2 million sausages to its employees from its factory-owned sausage production. Those same employees sold 5.82 million cars that same year.
  • When you google Autobahn Germany, you get 535.000 results, whereas for Autobahn Deutschland you get 6.300.000 results
  • How much is a kilometer of Autobahn? The average cost per kilometer runs between 6 million and 20 million euro. Some parts of the Autobahn construction costs can reach astronomical heights, when it comes to adding tunnels and viaducts. Take Berlin, e.g. the extension of the A100 in Berlin by 3.2 km is so far the most expensive stretch of Autobahn: 470 million euro for 3.2 km.
  • German mini-lesson: der Geisterfahrer (literal translation: ghost driver) This is someone driving down the wrong side of the road. You might hear this on the radio: “Attention all drivers on the A xx, there’s a car heading in the wrong direction, please stay on the right-hand lane and do not overtake.” or “An alle Autofahrer, auf der A xx  ist ein Geisterfahrer unterwegs. Bitte fahren Sie auf der rechten Spur.”
Autobahn Deutschland

Autobahn Deutschland

 

Quote of the Day

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.

– according to William A. Ward

Frankfurt/Main

Frankfurt/Main – photo credit: Frank Rumpenhorst