It’s hard to keep up with the events chronologically, so I decided to go with the flow. Time is ticking fast, the temperature is surprisingly warm for this autumn in Munich, the sun is shining bright right now. Manfred has been explaining to me how this climate probably is due to the warm air blown from the Mediterranean sea towards the south of Bavaria. Manfred is quite an amateur ecologist too as I learnt so much about trees and animals during our conversations in the car 🙂
When I arrived I was fascinated by the family piano passed on through generations in Manfred’s family. It has even survived the war and has bullet marks on it!!! I did notice how Africa is still part of the family and they talk fondly of their experiences there as missionaries with the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church (The wooden Hippos were nice!). Sabine is also a pastor. So, this is the first family I stayed with where both husband and wife are pastors (currently Supermom Sabine is not serving in a parish full time though).
The three daughters Magdalena, Johanna and Esther are lots of fun since day one. I call them the three sisters that don’t fight and we laughed. Watching Esther do her homework with the guidance of Sabine is very entertaining. Her facial expressions when she gets the spellings right is a delight. When she makes mistakes you suffer with her 🙂 Johanna speaks English well and I think my presence provided a chance for her to practice .. well done! Magdalena is even taller then her mother!!! And yet she is still very young … she will 13 soon and like many children here is in her confirmation class. I could see the responsible big sister in her.
Of course, a picture of the bed I slept in the last couple of days … a bed from Africa! 🙂 One of the added values of the teaching program thus far has been the chance to “live” with families here. And the last few days, our conversations was a mosaic of topics that went beyond mere church and mission related issues. I think we cannot divorce all the other aspects of our lives when we relate to each other.
Last night was fun when we watched a UEFA Champions League football match together with a glass of wine. Sabine was surprised by my knowledge of the players … I joked and said I know enough to talk about it even though I’m not a FAN! At other times, we talked about parenting, discipline, education, and culture.
Very often, it’s in these non-formal conversations, I found myself re-looking at my own upbringing, and the “multi-mix” culture I’m part of in Malaysia, it also provided stimulus to consider what is possible for the future – as it’s too tempting to see “culture” as a static environment. I believe and observe that there’s a lot of dynamism in “cultural changes and shifts” today, and perhaps just perhaps, we do play a part whether big or small in shaping the culture. And with that consciousness, we can move forward. Right now I’m not thinking in terms of “culture wars” but more a “gardening” or even “ecological” way of thinking about culture. Well…. that’s just some seed thoughts with the sun shining on my fingers 🙂