“I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony,
A song of peace that echoes on and never goes away.”
– Coca Cola Ad from 1971
I am still amazed at how much I discover on a daily basis. Every corner I turn puts me in a state of “I can’t believe I’m here!” How long have I not known about this – my whole life, it seems, and why has it taken me so long to get here! Last night after dinner, we went up one U-Bahn stop, just for the fun of it, to Rüdesheimerplatz. We unexpectedly came upon a gorgeous fountain park with a grand horse statue in the center. The wine bar and garden were filled with people enjoying the beautiful evening. Although the trees had lights strung up on their branches, people brought their own candles to add to the ambience. Some had brought a meal still warm in the pot, others simply nibbled on a variety of cheese, fruit and nuts. Best of all, people brought their stories and laughter, while sipping wine from the Rheingau.
There is a real sense of community here. Or at least every neighborhood seems to be delicately designed with community in mind. It’s hard to explain but it really seems to make a big difference. People do need people. I should note that there are amazing picnic areas at The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, Klyde Warren Park in Dallas and the Botanical Gardens in Fort Worth, just to name a few, but this felt a little different. There was a distinct romantic quality to it, almost movie-like. Karina sensed it too. No agenda. No scheduled entertainment to bring the groups of people out. Just people genuinely wanting to sit with other people, embracing the evening in this picturesque neighborhood. Karina, surprisingly, spent the bulk of the evening talking to us and sharing things she normally wouldn’t share. That makes it quite an evening to remember too!
We had dinner with some friends the other night and they have been so overwhelmingly welcoming and kind. People can sometimes seem distant and cold at first – because they tend not to do “small talk” here (which is something I do miss already). However, once you get to know Germans, they can be so warm, generous and a lot of fun to be around. Maybe the alcohol helps.