What a crazy Friday!

Oh last Friday, what an exciting crazy filled day. I should have taken the hint from nearly being attacked by a wild pig it was going to be a crazy day.

Yes, I said it. I was nearly attacked by a wild pig. Let me first paint a picture of where I live. Wohltorf is a small town East of Hamburg just south of the river Elbe. In fact it runs right up to our property, I could put my feet in it. Wohltorf is one of those small quiet towns that appear to have nothing happen to it. It’s like Noonday, Texas, nothing happens to this beautiful little lakeside community. Wohltorf is actually the second richest city in Germany to live in--yea I picked ‘em good huh?

So in my sleepy little town that doesn’t have its own post office I went for a walk with our two dogs and the oldest daughter at 4 in the afternoon. It was a gorgeous day and the sun had finally come out after many months of hiding its face. We start out the gate with the dogs and I look to my left and watch the au pair next door letting the police come in. I call out “Alles klar?” Is everything alright? She shrugs that she doesn’t know what is going on. I just laughed because the mistress of that house is notorious for making up wild stories from a tiny portion of truth.
Emily and I headed behind our house where there are many lovely trails crossing over and along the Elbe. About twenty minutes into our walk a man calls out to us. We are at this point in the woods and not many people are around and he looks desperate, but not in a harmful way. He asks, all in German, if we had seen a young man in a black jacket. We said no and told him the direction we had just come from. We run into him a little bit further down the path and he asks for the location of the school and the park. Apparently he was trying to find this young man because he had stolen something from one of our neighbors cars and ran through my next door neighbors backyard. Although a little creeped out by a thief running around, we proceeded ahead.

We turned the corner near the bahn overpass and unaware I kept continuing while Emily stands still and starts to freak out. I see the dogs run off to our left in the brush and begin to taunt this ugly looking beast of an animal. I had no idea what it was--I had never seen something so ugly in my life except on tv. It looked like the massive rodents from Princess Bride. I thought we should just walk away when Emily runs and climbs up a tree. I thought it was absurd and I told her to get down. She told me it was a wild schwein and they could out run us and would eat us. The best thing to do was to climb the tree. So climb the tree I did. I had the two dog leashes and a bag of candy in my hands as I shimmied up this tree to get out of the way of this wild schwein. Eddie came to the base of the tree and began to whine--he is just a 7 month old puppy who has an appetite for my shoes. He’s not the brightest. Easy- the 7 year old dog, begins to get bored and starts swimming in the river. We waited for 5 minutes and it finally had gone away.

We arrived safely at home scared, exhilarated, and with a wonderful story to tell to an over-protective mother, who actually received it with laughter. Our tiny town is not so innocent. There have been several deaths of people falling in the river--this last spring break an old lady of 92 fell in. The Russian mafia actually had a hit out for audi cars and Wohltorf was there main stealing ground. Not the sleepy pocket community of Hamburg as it appears.

Then later that night Adena, the old au pair Maia, and I went to the Reeperbahn, Hamburgs main club strip. I had forgotten that my book had wrote that was the wildest part of town. The street next to it is where you can pick out your prostitute of choice who is sitting in a window. We did not go on that street thankfully. Reeperbahn is like Vegas. Bright lights, loud music, and drunk people everywhere. That is one of the only times I have been insulted for being American. To get into the clubs you either have to pay or have a ticket to get in. People are standing in the pedestrian street picking and choosing who they want to come into the club. You make your way through and choose the best offer you want. Well people somehow knew we were English speakers and automatically started speaking English to us and asking us where we are from. Believe it or not my accent has a bit of a British slant to it because most of the English learnt here is British English. Well, this one guy asked us where we are from and I said the states. He threw his hands up in the air with an gasp of exasperation and walked off. He turned around and made gun noises and a gun gestures with his hands as if he was shooting everyone. Well I had been drinking and I was completely offended so I said “Oh how rude! You don’t even know me!” He then replied “well do you like Obama?” I said yea I do. Then he said “oh, well that makes up for it.”

People here can be really rude that way and they don’t separate the idea of people and the government being different. Sometimes I just want to say I am from South Africa, but many times I want to loudly start singing “And I am proud to be an American…” But I am not ready to get shot and die just yet, so I keep my mouth shut.

Anyways, that night was crazy. To make a long story short, and to not completely expose myself on the internet, Adena and I had a lot of fun, met some fellow southerners from the states, but we drank too much and made complete fools of ourselves. Consequently I have banned myself from the Reeperbahn. Das ist verboten fur mich.

Words of wisdom- don’t go to the Reeperbahn drunk.


Crazy/Funny Things that have happened to me in Germany

*I got locked out on my birthday night and almost had to sleep outside in the freezing cold. That was not fun.

*I was stuck on the Bahn (train) for over 45 minutes one night because some drunk people were on the gleis (the tracks). The police were trying to talk them out of getting them off the tracks. I thought--if we were in Texas, they would have been tasered by now and thrown in jail.

*I was full body checked by an old lady the other day. ( I am not joking. People here don’t really care if you are walking, if you are in their way, they will move you. In grocery stores if you take to long checking out, or really are just standing in line, the person behind you nudges you oh so kindly in the back with their buggy.)

*I quite often see people drinking on the bahn--the craziest is when it is 8 in the morning!! How bad is your life if you are downing a couple of beers before you go to work/school. (They don’t have open container laws here in Germany, people walk around with bottles of vodka and drink from the container. Sometimes it’s a little scary at night when you are the only one on the train and it smells like alcohol before you get inside and there is only one other person….but this is Germany)

*The weather is totally nuts here! One minute rain, then sun, the hail, the sun, the sun and hail, then darkness, then sun and snow. This happened one day in March, it was totally nuts!! When this happens, everyone always says “Ah das ist Hamburg wetter. Komisch” and everyone knows exactly what they mean. I always expect too much out of the weather when it suns, it always disappoints and starts raining when I go outside. Sometimes I think a rain cloud follows me, lol.

*I went to a classical concert the other day with two friends. We saw the Cicinnatti Symphony Orchestra with world renowed pianist Nikolai Lugansky. He played one of the hardest concertos. It was incredible!! He played at the first half and played the most beautiful solo encore. The second half was the orchestra and they played three encores because Hamburgers are known for clapping forever long (yes, they are called Hamburgers J .) We clapped for like 10 minutes straight, my hand hurt so bad!

*The same day Adena and I were coming by train downtown to the Hauptbahnhof (central station) and everywhere we went we were getting hit on left and right. Men in our faces and chasing after us on the station. It was crazy. One pair of guys didn’t get the hint. They asked if we wanted to go dancing (in german of course) I said “Es tut mir leid, wir sprechen kein deutsch.” (Sorry, we don’t speak any German.) (I usually say this when I don’t want to talk to people J .) He kept persisting, saying really I don’t believe you ,come dancing with us. He would leave us be, so I told him “Bitter schon, gehe weg!” (Please, get away!) This is what you tell dogs and animals.

*When we were coming home it was worse, we were getting hit on in every language. I think it was because we were dressed really nice and they all were totally drunk. The soccer game was playing that day, fussball to be correct, and it is a big deal here. People get really drunk and violent… So my words of wisdom, when soccer is playing don’t leave your house.

*On a more fun note, I went to my first German barbecue a few weeks ago. My family has a second house in Jarnsen (small town on the way to Hannover) and there were hunters celebrating their hunting season and we were invited to the party. Adena was spending the weekend with my family and I at their house so we went. It was actually a lot of fun. A bunch of crazy woodsmen, who are actually really well off (financially and educationally), but they looked like the typical small country town German. They were very down to earth and very kind and friendly. They served wild schwein (wild boar) and deer, fabulous potatoe salad (different than our, but OOOhhh soo good!) There was plenty of beer to drink, which I really like German beer, and their were people going around with bottles of fruit liquor and shot glasses. There was a bonfire cooking, what else, but bread. Bread and butter are a staple here, Germans would die without it! The whole party was a lot of fun and the people were so nice to us. It felt like back home when I was a kid when my family used to barbecue all the time.

*Oh, I bought a Justin Timberlake cd for €5! Which is unheard of. I think it was a mistake because most of them were like €17, which is $25, but I grabbed the one from the €5 stack and it is the exact same cd. I thought what a great deal. So Adena and I have been jamming out in the pool to Justin.


Ich war krank...I have been sick.

View outside my window one morning.

Lisa and Charli (respectively)


I have been sick for the last week, so I have been slacking on my communications. Please don't be offended if I am lagging on writing you. I am horrible as it is and without a steady connection to the internet and being sick, I apologize.

Today I went to an English speaking church with Adena. It is an International Baptist Church (IBC). I really liked it--and I never thought I would say that about a baptist church! Yes, I know The Village is baptist, but it isn't really baptist. Not the East Texas Baptist churches I know. It is run by many people who immigrated from Africa, so you know it has soul! Afterwards they have lunch three of the four services a month and it was really good. We were also invited to this guys house for coffee afterwards with a bunch of people from the young adults group. It was really nice to meet people from all over who speak English and German and whatever other language. The young adults group meets on Tuesday nights for bible study and sometimes games. This works out perfectly for me because that is my night off during the week! Adena is going to come with me too which is amazing because she says church normally bores her and she isn't really religious at all. But she really enjoyed going to church with me and meeting everyone because they were so genuinely kind, warm, and inviting--quite a contrast from the people we meet randomly. This is what the body of Christ should be salt and light in a dark place, warmth where there is cold. It should be said of the body of Christ that they were the ones to whom someone who doesn't know Christ feels most accepted and loved, instead of the common comment, that I often heard at home, that wasn't the case from people who don't know Jesus.

I was riding the bahn (the train) and I just started laughing when I realized I have been trying to figure out what I am supposed to do with my life and trying to plan it out and position myself when God had just been doing it. All the time in counseling my counselor would ask me "What do you want to do with your life? What are you passionate about? What do you see yourself doing in ten years?" I never could point out anything specific, but I knew the things I would like it to involve. I would respond that I am passionate about people, specifically children. I feel like God has called me to missions, but I don't know what. I love English, but what on earth am I going to do with an English degree. I love to teach and I love to travel to other countries and learn other cultures. Umm, guess what I am doing? ( I laugh so hard when I realize this) I am an Au Pair in Germany---HELLOOOO!! I work with children every day. I am teaching them English and coming up with my own curriculum (it's so fun.) This is definately missional in sharing Christ in such a spiritually dark place. My home is my missions field in that I am called to serve them and show them the love of Christ in everything I do. The people I come in contact with everyday I am called to share Christ with. I am learning German steadily. The lady I work for said she was very impressed with how good my German is for only being here two months. So does this look like everything I am passionate about or what??

God totally has bigger dreams for me than I could ever imagine. I know this, but it is so funny to think that I am in Germany. There are still many days that I sit in awe thinking "How on earth did I get here??" I had no dream or desire to be here, but God obviously did. I don't know what this year holds for me, but I have no doubt of the sovereignty of God in all of it. He planned this all so perfectly--I didn't see it coming. My heart is overwhelmed with God and humbled that he so intimately writes my story and cares to weave my passions into His great plan. It gives me hope after three years of giving up all my dreams and taking up His. It makes me hope even more. That is the crazy thing of being here, I am filled with so much hope-- for things back home and for what God is going to do in my life and through my life. He will not be silent.

I am also writing a whole lot more before and I feel like God has been revealing so much of Himself to me it is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. I don't know what I am to do with all the writing. I might put it on here as installments. I might send it out to close friends for critique and introspection. I don't know, but I don't feel like it is to be kept to myself.

Over and over again I am so amazed at how God doesn't let me go and still comes after me when I am so foolish enough to chase after my idols. Even though He rescued me once again the week before. My heart is an idol maker and when I don't come to God first to satisfy my heart, doubt crowds in and lies to me, telling me this idol or that idol will satisfy, go ahead and try it. God has been so gracious in rescuing me, even if it is making me sick for a week with the flu. Sometimes I am waiting for Him to say "Caroline, really, again? Have we not been through this all before. I am sorry, you are just going to have to learn the hard way. You have had too many chances." This could be further than what He says. He greets me with "Welcome home! I am so glad to see you again. What do you want to talk about today. No, stop. What are you doing? There is no need for penance. My son's got you covered. Shall we take a walk? The sun is acutally out in Hamburg today and it is quite lovely if I say so myself."---nothing but kindness and love changing my heart to desire Him more than anything else.

Since I have been here I have been struggling with over eating. I wasn't really sure why, but I just never seem satisfied when I ate and always had this fear of starving. --I know ridiculous seeing as I am living with really rich people why should I be starving? I was reading the other day and a light bulb dawned on me. I wrote this about it:

"I have been thinking about my eating disorder. I have a problem wtih eating too much food, eating it too fast, and never feeling satisfied, but overstuffed. I was reading The Wounded Heart and listening to the cds and I began to wonder about this. There was a phrase thaqt caught my attention. Living life on one's own terms is an attempt to avoid relationship with God. The violation of trust and intimacy inflames the determination to live without the pain of unmet longings--and thus live without the raging thirst of a soul that pants for God alone.

The last phrase struck something in me regarding my struggle with eating. My eating so fast is a refusing to feel any hunger. I demand to be full and satisfied. It refuses to acknowledge my need for God to satisfy me alone. I think I need to practice fasting and learn what it feels like to hunger for God. This isn't really a horizontal issue, but rather a vertical one. It is a desire to avoid the reality that we are not home and the peace of Eden has been broken. It also is a lack of hope in God fulfilling all my desires and needs-- not trusting Him once again. So it is great news that I am sick. I believe God to be sovereign in it, to teach my stomach to be empty, but really my heart to hunger for Him alone.".....

It was snowing last week and it was glorious! I will put some picutres on. My girls are so cute.
These are my rambled thoughts. I hope they find you well.