Germania in Canadia

The Bavarian Schuhplattlers

The Bavarian Schuhplattlers

“I am going to go in front of you, because I am older”.

This is the line our 86 year-old friend uses to bee-line in front of us. We exchange a few german words and before long he is off again to gently weasel his way to the front of the bar and successfully orders his 6 Warsteiners before the show.

Standing in front of us is the ex-consul of Germany and he asks Klaus where is from.


“A fellow Leipziger! I come from Leipzig too! Let me buy you a beer”.

As I stand there with a grin, once again witnessing the all too familiar small world moments, we later find ourselves seated together with a fun group who are finishing their graduate studies at the UofA – a few Canadians, a Costa Rican, and an Australian.

Then the show begins. The Heimatabend was titled  “Cirque d’Ole” and the organized event is a fundraiser for the Bavarian Schuhplattlers, whose mission is to preserve the German tradition of folk dancing and culture.

As per Google, Schuhplattler is a traditional dance in the Alpine regions of Bavaria and Austria used back in the day for the men to impress upon young women.

As per Google, Schuhplattler is a traditional dance in the Alpine regions of Bavaria and Austria used back in the day for the men to impress upon young women.

Through our years dabbling with the German Canadian Cultural Association (we are guilty that it is rare), I’ve learned that they are a group of friends who have twined to be more like family, tied through common ancestry and/or interests. Apart from wanting to maintain a smidgen of German culture in a city 7280km away from the mothership, they are more about having fun and creating a microcosm to help some feel more at home.

The lion of the Cirque d'Ole

The lion of the Cirque d’Ole, in lederhosen

Back at the party there is traditional Schuhplattler dancing, live accordion music blaring across the room with elegant ballroom and not-so-coordinated dancers, a variety show with pleasant slap-stick humour, bonding with long-time-no-see friends and mingling with new acquaintances all the while drinking beer and munching on pretzels the size of steering wheels.

The Herr Klein and the ringmaster's assistant

The Herr Klein and the ringmaster’s assistant

Dancing in lederhosen, yodeling, beer and pretzels are representations of the southern part of Germany so that explains why I didn’t see any of this – other than the beer part – while living in Leipzig (East Germany). Although different, it was really nice to be able to practice my rusty German and to be reassured that we fit somewhere in-between.

“My grandfather still lives in Leipzig”, later says our long-time friend at the party. What a small world.

I can’t help but think again that the gap is closing between Edmonton and Leipzig.

Have a Happy Easter everyone!!



Ich bin zu Hause. Oder? – Am I at home?

Einkaufen fur etwas schönes bei Ikea

Einkaufen fur etwas schönes

Deutsch – Ich wohne in Leipzig seit 2 Wochen und meine Welt zur Zeit steht ein bisschen auf dem Kopf. Ich meine, dass es super gut für mich ist. Vorher war ich sehr beschäftigt mit immer viel zu tun und hatte wenig Freizeit zu Hause. Aber jetzt ist mein leben wirklich anders. Was macht man mit so viele Zeit? Na ja, saubermachen, Kaffee trinken mit der Familie, Lebensmittel einkaufen und kochen für einen Mann, der Klaus heißt. Aber ich finde dass es nicht so schlimm ist, weil ich die Arbeit als eine Hausfrau besser zu schätzen weiß und die ist nur vorläufig. Zum Glück fange ich meinen deutschen Unterricht ende Oktober an. Das echte Problem für mich ist, das ich noch nicht fließend in der deutschen Sprache bin. Normalerweise bin ich gesprächig und kann mit jedem reden. Aber jetzt bin ich mehr ruhig und nicht so sicher um mitzureden. Darum habe ich diesen Blog angefangen, um mein deutsch zu verbessern! Hoffentlich wirst du Verbesserung in meinem deutsch sehen, je mehr du liest. Aber ich muss gestehen, dass Klaus mir mit diesem Blog geholfen hat!

English – I’ve been living in Leipzig for over two weeks now and my world has turned a bit upside down, and I mean it in a good way. Before I was always on the go with little time to settle down and relax. But now my life is quite the opposite. What does one do with so much time? Hmm house cleaning, drinking coffee with family, grocery shopping and cooking for a man named Klaus define may days so far. But I don’t find this experience so negative, because I now understand and appreciated the work of a ‘domestic engineer’ – and more so because this is only temporary. Thank goodness for school starting end of October. The real problem for me is, I am still not fluent in the German language. I consider myself pretty talkative and can talk to anyone who comes my way. But I’ve noticed myself being more quiet and less confident to start a conversation. And that’s partly why I am starting this blog, in order to improve and conquer this language called German. Hopefully for the people who can read the text above will see improvement the more they read over time. But I’ll have to admit that Klaus had helped me this time around!

We’re not in Kansas anymore

Fall Market

Fall Market

People watching has been one of my highlights thus far. Our first day in the city centre – heart of all things vibrant for the young and old – we walk into a mixture of things. People working on building a home for the Herbtsmarkt (Fall market) on the beautiful plaza that sits right in front of the old Leipzig City Hall and will last for the entire week.

The quaint wooden shelters where the local vendors set up shop look all just slightly different to create a sense of charm and familiarity. Some are dressed in medieval attire to greet us with wicked baked cheesy goods straight out of the stone oven while others are selling handmade baskets and felted art. People are drinking mulled wine to warm their bodies from the chilly wind and shopping in the market. We see families pushing their loved ones in a wheelchair through the cobbled streets.

Not too far away we walk into servers serving sparkling wine at a high end department store. Friends are drinking their wine while shopping and others are just down the escalator watching a catwalk fashion show. This is at 1:30 in the afternoon my friends. But then again, only in Europe will you find people sipping on coffee with a cup and saucer, looking for children furniture at Ikea.