February 11, 2010

Building Lives Around Celebrations - Bonn

We spent the weekend in Bonn, the birthplace of Beethoven, and former capital city of West Germany.  We decided to build a weekend getaway around attending Deutschland's only annual Luftwaffe Ball. After being cooped up for the last several snowy weeks, the kids and I were scrambling to do some site-seeing out of doors.

We visited the Beethoven-House Museum (this was the actual house where he was born and grew up) and experienced one of his works with 'hands on' digital imaging.  Really cool!  Did you know that he began losing his hearing at 28 and was completely deaf by 41?  So for the last 25 or so years of his life, his compositions were generated totally from his memory of the music.  What an inspiration!! 

After tooling through the heart of the city around the Dom and  University grounds (above), we spent ALL afternoon exploring the German History Museum. I've never seen my children become so enthralled in a museum before, and here's the kicker, it was ALL in German!! We were given a small English translation booklet upon entrance, but I was truly amazed at how the layout and display choices drew us in!! We could have spent the whole day and still not been finished. And it only encompassed the years SINCE WWII !!

 Chris and Sharolyn Graves joined us as we tried to blend in with the German military scene at the ball on Friday night.  Unlike the USAF balls held at every base every September, this is the ONLY annual Luftwaffe ball in the entire country, and this year was extra special since 2010 is the 40th Anniversary of the Deutsch Luftwaffe!  Wow!  There were 1400 in attendance and were were blown away at all the attention to detail, from each lady receiving a long stem red rose when we entered, to the 5x7 photos that were taken and ready for us as we left!!  Did I mention there were 1400 there? 

We knew we were NOT in America when the dancing began.  The second the music began, the dance floor was FULL!!  And we hadn't even eaten yet.....I know from all my ball memories, stateside, it takes those courageous several couples to brave the dance floor alone in order to 'get everyone going'....Not so here!!!  I love that!!  It seems in Germany everything is like that.  Life is built around celebrations. There are always celebrations here:  wine harvests, a whole 6 weeks of Christmas markets,  and Fasching is going on now (kind of like Mardi Gras).    In America we tend to build celebrations around our lives.  Sometimes we're so BUSY with....BUSYNESS that we can't seem to just ENJOY the JOY!!  I want to soak this up and take this trait home with me!!

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