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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just an observation.....

Sometimes I forget that I am living in a foreign country as I pass through
my day without taking notice of the differences in my surroundings that had
kept me so entertained when I first moved here. But then, when I'm not
paying attention, I come across a scene which reminds me that I'm a long way
from home.

Such an event occurred this morning while walking into work. My
office is in a technology park with modern buildings and manicured lawns
which are normally tended by young grounds-keepers as are commonly used in
the US. I was somewhat in a fog due to the lack of caffeine in my system
when I noticed a group of people cleaning the flower beds. As I approached,
I saw that there were four in all, three women and one man, but they weren't
the young crowd that regularly work the grounds. All were easily in their
sixties, which was odd in itself, but it was not their age, rather their
dress, that caught me eye. I saw the man first, as he was nearest to me, he
was wearing the standard overalls that all laborers in Germany wear, but his
outfit seemed to be an earlier edition appearing as though he just popped
out of a black-and-white photo of coal-miners in the 20's. He was heavy set
and a little awkward in his maneuvers but evidently accustomed to physical

Then I saw the women, who were truly unique. All three were hefty,
just as you would imagine a woman would look after eating sausage and 'kraut
for 60 years. Each wore a full-length dress covered in a colorful print
with lace around the neck, arms and hem; each wore an apron over that of
another printed fabric and a cloth wrapped around their heads to tie back
their hair. Heavy black boots finished off the ensemble. They were out of
place in this setting. I could picture them working on their farms,
collecting eggs, shucking corn, cleaning stalls, but they did not belong
here, not today, they would have fit perfectly into the setting of 100 years
ago. I couldn't help but stare as I walked by, one woman couldn't help but
stare back at me.

I had to wonder, what was she thinking?

My lesson learned: Be aware of your surroundings, life is full of little
pleasures that we miss if we're not paying attention.

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