Today was another installment of German class. It wasn’t so bad, the sun was shining, and in another amaze me moment with camera phones – i was smart enough to notice the light and take a quick snap of what today’s picture is as i walked out the door.
At class, I was surprised that understood most of what was being said, even read – and I am not beating myself up as I am still answering more in English than German. This too will all make sense one day – and then my wife will probably get her visa to the USA and I will wonder, “What was the purpose to all of this?”
My Christmas coffee is delicious, while I am not a big fan of African coffees, I will certainly drink them. As I ground up the beans, and allowed the grinds to bloom, I smiled. It has been a while since I had any coffee this fresh or good. As I did my pour over a perfect crema of sorts formed. I sipped, I smiled. Good coffee
There was a part of class where we were asked, “what did we like most, and not so much with life in Switzerland?”
The biggest smile came when the Syrian refugees were asked to talk. It is a husband and wife who like another man in my previous class, somehow made it out of the country.
The wife spoke enough German for me to understand, “I don’t like the snow. It is cold!”
We all smiled.
Then almost simultaneously, both her and her husband said, “but other than that, we love everything else here.” It was the look of a couple simply happy to be alive, NOT living in the turmoil of a war zone.
He is probably my age, so we both are suffering the humbling experience of looking the fool to most of society, but I don’t think either of us cares. I know why I am here. He knows he is here for a reason most of will hopefully never have to experience, that being having to escape a war zone.
When they got to what I liked and didn’t like, I think it went something like, “I like these things in Switzerland, the cheese, milk chocolate, beautiful scenery and the social consciousness of the native Swiss people. They are polite, you have systems that run on time, things are clean and maintained, you can pick up the phone and when someone says they will be there, or to expect a delivery – it actually happens at that time. Living here reminds me of what it was like for me as a kid in the USA – you had small shops, farmers; yet, you could find larger places as well. There is a good balance.
When asked what I didn’t like – I smiled and said, “the price of beef, chicken, pork – all your flesh prices are ridiculous and there is just too many rules and regulations – many times I feel like I am in Singapore, or when someone explains the actual swiss law, i find myself shaking my head, "there is actually a law for?"
My teacher asked, “Isn’t the USA clean and organized?”
“As I mentioned, as a kid, life seemed no different than what i experience today in switzerland – yet, today inside the USA, we have gone economies of scale, and there is a huge inequality between the entire mass of people – if you drive along most highways, they are littered with trash and I don’t see the people behaving or being polite to each other. Old people, police officers and teachers don’t seem tot get the respect thy once had. It is not to say the USA is a bad place – it still is one of the best placed on the planet to live – and it gives anyone a chance to try. That is the beauty of the country – but in the last 20 years – we have some problems we created that need some work. all can be solved, but i don’t see too many wanting to actually have to give up something and get their fingernails dirty.”
I didn’t say, that most of our problems inside the USA are simply of our own creation.
I guess that is why I am excited with the Colorado lab – if you asked me 10 years ago if I would be using the ideas and technologies to make a better food quality and security inside one of the most powerful nations on the planet, I really would have laughed.
Today – I think what Agrowvillage and Augmanity are working on are good ideas. In the west, we are slowly killing ourselves with too many empty junk calories. In the 3rd world, we figure out ways to grow the most nutritious diet for people with nothing. Maybe someday there will be a healthy balance on the planet.
Then again, maybe someday I will be speaking decent German. Miracles do happen.
Have a great day. Get yourself a great cup of coffee. Wish you were here, as this really is a wonderful extraction of a great bean. I would share.