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I spent the summer in Germany. Most of the time I stayed at my parents house in Hamburg, writing my thesis. I met my extended family on several occasions and realized that my cousins are all grown ups by now. I come from a big family. My paternal grandmother is the oldest of six children while my maternal grandmother is the second oldest of five. Both of my parents are the oldest of four and they have many cousins. I have six first cousins myself and three cousins once removed with whom I also keep contact with. Unfortunately, I am an only child myself. Being the oldest grandchild the daughter of oldest children and the grand daughter of oldest children, I am also the oldest cousin. This is why I always think of my numerous cousins as being small. I remember seeing them for the first time in the hospital, playing with them, and having them puke at me. Well, as I am already 26 by now (unfortunately I had a birthday in September) my cousins are no longer in a puking age either. One of them just failed to graduate from high school and has to repeat a year. His sister is 14 and becoming a young lady. My two youngest cousins are 8 and 11 and at the last birthday party I fell from a swing and could not sit without pain for the four following weeks.
My three cousins once removed have also become big. The oldest one is studying to become a police men, the second one just graduated from high school and the youngest one is 14 and very much into sports. Time goes by fast…. I still cannot believe that I am 26. I remember times when I thought that being 16 is really old. I could never imagine turn as old as 19. Fortunately, I still have to fight with pimples so I decided that I cannot possibly get wrinkles anytime soon. I actually spent the whole summer getting rid of my red cheeks and the numerous black heads and white spots in my face……
Being in Hamburg now was totally different from my life as a child and teenager. I spent most of the days in my mothers office, writing my thesis. Every day at lunch time we went to a Kebab place to eat the daily menu. My mother is a tax adviser and has come to the conclusion that eating out is cheaper when put into relation to the amount of time you would otherwise spend for cooking. Because of this calculation I will never be able to eat Turkish food again……..
Something else also happened this summer. Avtandil found a job in Erlangen/ Bavaria. That is close to Nuremberg. Unfortunately he lost this job after six weeks but found a new one within two. His new job will begin on 4 October in Nuremberg.
Erlangen is a beautiful town but unfortunately it´s beauty is often times disturbed by Siemens buildings. Half of the town works for Siemens and if the cityhall would ever decide to rename the city they would probably call it Siemensburg. Erlangen is not only Siemens town but also a Hugenotte town. As a northern German I always think of Bavaria as being a black hole, namely catholic. Erlangen, however, is situated in northern Bavaria, which is not really Bavaria. The region is called Franken and is predominantly Lutheran. Erlangen became a save haven for French Calvinists about 300 years ago. The big church in the city center is a reformed Calvinist church. Services are no longer in French but for many years there was a German as well as a French speaking congregation. What is interesting is that Lutherans, Calvinists, and Catholics have lived together for centuries. Add the orthodox church and it would be the same situation than in Cluj.
In the middle of September I went to Cluj for a week in order to go to the orthodontist. I have to admit that going to Cluj felt like coming home rather than visiting a place I once lived in. I had a very busy time visting people and getting other things done. I felt very happy there. On my way back to Erlangen I met Romanians from Serbia. Until then I had not known that there is a Romanian minority in Serbia but it turned out that there are 4 mio living there. We spoke in Romanian while listening to Serb music which is many times nicer than Romanian music (sorry to say that but I never developed a liking for Romanian music).
On Sunday 24 September Avtandil finally drove me from Erlangen to Strasbourg and this is where I am at the moment.
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