We hit the jackpot with German Jewish visitors this summer, so many that one of our new friends referred to our family as a German Jewish Welcome Committee. We met in Berlin’s cafes, restaurants and wine gardens. Sometimes I shlepped the whole family along and sometimes I ventured off on my own, arriving early at a cafe so I could try to pick out the person I was virtually acquainted with through my blog or book project.
Each encounter revealed a nexus in our family backgrounds and stories. A fellow Montanan with an adopted son faced the same challenges that we faced with our adopted son’s German citizenship application. We had an instant rapport with the daughter and grandchildren of a long-time follower of this blog who, upon arrival in Berlin, felt as drawn to the city’s eclectic multicultural landscape as we were in 2010. Over coffee and cake at the Literaturhaus Cafe in Charlottenburg, we made some surprising discoveries with a visitor from the Bay Area, including common employers and similar paths from secular to Renewal Judaism.
Our trip to Riga, St. Petersburg, and Helsinki was another highlight of our summer. It wasn’t the sunniest of vacations, but the compensation for bad weather was that our kids shared lots of secrets about their private lives with us during all the time we spent in pubs and cafes seeking shelter from the rain. Little did we know that our visit to St. Petersburg coincided with the 320 year anniversary of the Russian Navy, an occasion that brought thousands to the banks of the River Neva for a parade of vessels.
It was as difficult as I expected to find time to work on my book project on restored German citizenship during the last two months, but I did manage to submit one grant application, complete some research, find a few more contributors, and begin a new draft of my citizenship story. And a few days ago I was pleasantly surprised to hear from a literary agent who accidentally stumbled upon this blog and was interested in the book. However, she’d like a manuscript “auf Deutsch” so if anyone would like to offer translation services, please be in touch!