I’m sitting in the hotel conference room; a whispy snow dances outside the window.
Things are going well here. I am encouraged that this group is responding in worship, and welcoming me into their tight-knit group as well. They come from different places—France, UK, eastern European countries that end with “-stan”, northern Africa, Canada, and of course Germany and the US. And each one of them has lots of stories to tell.
My eyes are alert to the many subtle differences between my American/Northern California subculture and the one I am now experiencing. Notes and observations from my second day:
• I don’t now if this is true everywhere in Germany, but a standard sheet of paper here is apparently a half inch longer than in America. The papers I have here stick out of my three ring binder.
• For breakfast, they had a plate of cold cuts out, with various unidentified meats and European-looking cheeses. Our culture has very much an egg-based breakfast. The only eggs were boiled and served on little egg stands.
• Speaking of which, there is wine and mineral water at the table for every meal. Since I am trying to experience as much of the food as possible, I feel obligated to indulge in the South African and German table wines.
• I went to the exercise room to work out, and I was able to recognize most all the machines. However, the instructions to use them were different. For example, we are taught never to do lat pulls by pulling the bar behind your head since it strains the back. Here, that is the preferred technique.
• There isn’t a top sheet on my bed. Just a bottom mattress sheet and a comforter. Makes it easier to make the bed.
• Toilet paper here is just as thick, but not quite as soft.
• Of course, I had anticipated that electrical plugs here are different, so I had purchased an adapter prior to leaving. But the first few times I plugged it in, I couldn’t help thinking that I was going to blow something up.
• The urinals here at the hotel look strangely like the water basins that held the holy water in the Catholic church I grew up in. Had to fight the ingrained urge to dip my fingers in it, and make the sign of the cross.
I was able to contact Deb and the family via iChat, so we were able to see one another through the iSight cam and talk too. Yay Mac. I’ve heard horror stories of people who made short phone calls and were billed three figures. We will try to stay in contact this way every day on the trip.
Photo Above: a webcam photo of the Proclaim Gathering Sunday morning just before we entered into worship.