Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

It’s been a bit blah here for the last few days. Well, at least Saturday through Monday. The weather was decidedly un-spring-like and got me feeling rather un-spring-like as well. After an exploratory jog around my area of Leipzig on Saturday, I spent most of the rest of the weekend doing not much of anything. I had high hopes for myself: visiting art galleries and checking out a museum or two, maybe even an out-of-town excursion. But, alas, the best I did was get as far as the outsides of such places. Part of it was poor timing – I tried to venture to one place on Sunday, when absolutely everything is closed in Germany (except for bakeries!) . Part of it may also have been that I wasn’t feeling quite up for a lot of adventure after staying out rather late on Thursday night with some acquaintances from my German class (offered for free by the Max Planck Institute – thanks, Max!).

Anywhere, here are the outsides of building that contain some things I fully intend to see in the near future:

The building in the first picture – the Spinnerei [pronounced roughly shpinner-eye in German] – is a place I will definitely return to. Formerly a cotton mill, it now houses a number of art galleries and other fun artsy things. I learned about it back in January from the New York Times article “The 31 Places to Go in 2010,” where Leipzig is featured as #10 (yay, Leipzig!). The article also discusses some of the other cool things going on in my temporary residence, such as various tributes to Bach and Schumann and an underground music scene worth exploring.

So just be patient and I’ll report on cool culture-y things soon enough…

But in closing, I have some sad news. I just found out that my friend Rachael’s grandfather Vincent Caudy passed away yesterday (Monday, April 12, 2010). I only met him once, when I was about 11 or 12, in Grayling, but in the past few years we have periodically corresponded over e-mail about Czech things. As a heritage speaker of Czech he was very interested in Czech culture and developed relationships with many of his distant family members in the Czech Republic. When I went to the Czech Republic in November-December of 2008 to do some research, Vince put me in touch with many of his Czech friends and relatives. They were Czechs who not only helped me with my research (by allowing me to record their speech), but many of them also warmly welcomed me into their homes: they fed me, gave me gifts and souvenirs, set aside valuable time to speak to me (despite my broken Czech), and often provided me with a place to sleep. Without Vince, I never would have had these invaluable experiences (many of which I’ve written about in this blog).

During that visit Vince’s relatives gave me some of their moonshine (specifically, slivovice ‘plum brandy’), which I smuggled back to the US and sent to him. Here are pictures he e-mailed of him drinking it:


patentexaminer said...

Wow. That is a seriously touching story about your friend's grandfather. It's truly amazing the things he did for you (even down to taking pics of himself drinking the moonshine. That's gratitude!). I'm sorry to hear that. What was his birth date?

I'm honestly not surprised that your first week was a bit uneventful. You had quite a busy week and a half (two?) prior. As a matter of fact, I order you to a week of rest! Which you've already done. Good job!!

Now get to those galleries!

patentexaminer said...

EEEee.... those are seriously the cutest pics of the grandpa. As CG would say: he's a little peanut! ;) I can't stop looking at them.

cg said...

I loved reading this Jules...so sorry for the loss of such a sweet man. Thanks for sharing the story and pictures.

cg said...

And Alicia--is cg = me? If so, it's been quite awhile...I now refer to "little peanuts" as "little nuggets." :) Hope all is well.

Christine said...

I thought the same thing about his gratitude toward you and the very cool relationship. The pictures were a nice touch.

I hope things in Germany aren't too crazy because of the Iceland ash. It's reassuring to know that even if you run out of regular food, you'll likely still have baked goods.

Julia M. said...

So, Vince was born July 26th, 1928, which made him 81, I guess. This makes me feel very lucky to have had our grandpa, Chris, for 94 years... even though it was hard to lose him last year.

And Care, you've switched to "nuggets"? As in chicken nuggets or gold nuggets? ;)

RE: volcano chaos in Europe, see my new blog entry. It's been a rather mundane event... IF you're not flying!

patentexaminer said...

Whoa... "Little Nugget"? I had no idea I was so outdated. Little Nugget is definitely good, but I think I'll always be partial to Little Peanut!