Monday, April 28, 2014

Oberndorf - Future Home?

Last Saturday, I found myself at a bonfire the size of which I haven't encountered since high school Homecoming week (pallets for days!), but in an entirely different setting.

There were two soccer games in Oberndorf, a small Bavarian village just ten minutes from my house, and Cody was planning on playing in both. I must admit, I am not the biggest soccer fan, but as I've watched more of Cody's games, I've begun to enjoy watching more, too. Nonetheless, I wasn't entirely excited to spend my entire Saturday evening watching soccer, especially since Jill was going to be in Munich for the weekend with a few friends and if it wasn't for the Oberndorf soccer team, Cody and I would be there with her. Cody tried to pique my interest by explaining that if we stayed for both games there would be a bonfire afterwards for the team. I do love me a bonfire! But the idea of standing around a fire where I can't communicate with 95% of the attendees didn't serve to make me overly eager for my night.

I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised!

After Cody's first game he was toasted, and because the 2nd team had enough players, we were able to run home and grab a quick snack and bundle up before the fire. Coming back and watching the end of the second game was more fun with Cody there to explain what has happening (and 2nd team is sometimes just more fun to watch, in general). I was happy to be introduced to a few of the players from the 1st Team who had way better English than I have Deutsch.

The game ended and we all headed into the locker room/common area to have a beer while the team cleaned up. The fire was already way larger than I expected and burning brightly in a field just a ways down a dirt and gravel road from the field. I started on my beer and had the challenge of trying to understand one of the eight brothers from Kazakhstan who was drunkenly speaking Russian to me, while also not glancing around as there were men walking around naked from room to room. I'm very aware that Europeans are more open with nudity than Americans, but that awareness doesn't make me want to look at middle-aged-men's naked behinds! Plus, I think some of the younger men were a bit embarrassed that I was sitting there... but not so embarrassed that they didn't proceed to get naked.

A few hours later, I found myself in the midst of a conversation with a group of college-aged guys and gals in English while we all enjoyed German beer and Jaegermister. There was a bit of dancing involved, a lot of fire-watching, some translating and language practice, and tons of laughing. It seemed that most of the town turned out for the fire, and even though we were clearly outsiders, I was never made to feel that way. Cody and I got to bond with the players and their friends and enjoy lovely weather out under the stars, with a makeshift bar and grill selling cheap juice, water, and beer and bratwurst and steak sandwiches.

I fell in love with Oberndorf and the people there that night- and the fact that I never want to leave here was reinforced.

Interestingly enough, Uwe (pronounced ooo-v-ay) said his father is selling land on the outskirts of the village, for much cheaper than land would be in Illesheim or Bad Windsheim, the two towns on either side of it. He assured me that I could have chickens and goats and a garden on the land with no problem or permission needed at all, and he also made fun of me for saying that I would use my chickens definitely for eggs and maybe for meat; "you sound so cute at first.... 'I want some chickens, cause I love them' and then you say, ' and I want to kill them and drink their blood!' " I, of course didn't sound exactly like that, but he got a kick out of it.
Even though I am normally hesitant about setting down permanent roots anywhere, I could imagine spending the rest of my life in this little village looking out over the farmers' fields, watching my husband play soccer, and going to small events on the weekend with the whole community. It doesn't get much closer to heaven than that!

Last week, Cody found out the exact location of the land and last night we drove over to look at it together. Where the village sits, the view is gorgeous, and though we would have to buy two sections of land to satisfy my "small farm" desire, and there is a lot of research to be done, I still can't help but think we will be seriously debating on a big purchase before leaving this country!