Showing posts from 2009

German Advent Faux Pas!

A "normal" German Advent's wreath

Intercultural Relations Repaired

Seldom before in my life have I experienced how from the depths of despair, life can suddenly turn around into pure joy and pleasure and fresh experiences completely wiping away all bad memories that have gone before.

The mayor of Florange and our daughter (in white) laying a wreath in France on Remembrance Day 2009An ordinary November week started with A., the French exchange pupil we hosted in September, writing to our daughter, saying she would refuse to have anything to do with our daughter Rose once she came to France. It was only days before Rose had to go and stay with this family. The visit was part of a regional Schumann exchange organised by the Education Departments in the four bordering countries and is meant to foster inter-regional understanding.
We were aghast by the turn of events. Even more hurtful was watching the toll it took on our daughter. Both we and her French teacher kept on telling her, not all French are like that. So while all her close friends were packing f…

Intercultural Mis-Communication

We as a family had to this week painfully experience how an intercultural, inter-regional pupil exchange between our daughter and a pupil in the northern French region of Lorraine, barely 60 kilometres from Trier completely collapsed.
For 12 days in September, we played hosts to a homesick 12-year old French pupil from a migrant family in Loraine. We thought we did our best: investing time, energy and money to make her time in Germany special. Every day there was an activity: an outing with French and German pupils or visiting some of our eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One day they had a home-made pizza and film party with 12 French and German girls here in our house. On the Saturday we did a day-trip to Eltz Castle, 100 kilometres away.(c) Anli Serfontein 2009 Eltz CastleAfter receiving no thank you note from her, she deemed it fit to write my daughter an email this week, less than a week before my daughter was to go to France to tell her how she hated her time with us, that my da…

Carsten Semenya: Unfair bigotry?

The World Athletic Championships in Berlin which ended last night should have been a moment of triumph for South African athletes, giving their best performance since returning to the international stage in 1991. Yet bigotry and nastiness of the highest order marred it for those athletes who have spent days and hours to prepare. Sitting in Germany this week, I was getting thoroughly sick of the narrow-mindedness of so many.

A lot have been written about Carsten Semenya but I would like to add my few thoughts.

She looks like a man her accusers say:

I worked as sports stringer for Reuters and SID (Sports Informationsdienst) in the early 1990’s in South Africa. The then long distance star of the day, Elana Meyer also had no breasts, a boyish figure and boyish facial features. She did however have a domineering husband who acted as her manager, which I suppose acted as an alibi. Today she has remarried and has a baby. Maria Mutola, the 800 metre Mozambican star was also not that feminine.


Olewig Wine Festival, Trier

The annual Olewig Wine Festival in Trier, Germany's oldest town is ending tonight.

Once again we celebrated at Weingut Deutschherrenhof. Where else? Good music, good wine, good food. Ate lovely vegetarian Flammkueche.

This is what I wrote in my book about it. On the left vineyards of Olewig.

Rome comes to Trier

Sunday the 24th of May

The faithful gather for outside the Roman Cathedral, dating from the fourth century, in Trier.

(c) Anli Serfontein, 2009

Bishop Stephan Ackermann, Germany's newest and youngest bishop, exists his official residence to go to the Cathedral for the official ceremony.

(c) Anli Serfontein, 2009

Looking for a shady place to sit down in Trier on a hot Sunday, the church bells started peeling at full volume from all directions. Trier has more churches on a square kilometre than any place I know, but today was different: The new bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann was being inducted.

And that is when we ran into a procession of Roman Catholic priests and bishops.

In the hot-humid early summer air ancient traditions mixed with modern times. The procession was headed by a priest carrying a huge old Bible. All the great religions of the world are based on scriptures and this symbolised 2,000 years of Christian tradition. We are just small cogs in the wheel of time.

Trier is not …

Hiking Into a Stupor