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My best friend and black forest

20/10/2016 - 07:19-0 Comments by | republic_of_china flag

Valeria is my closest friend in Germany. She is also the window, through her I comb my ideas, positive as well as negative feelings about this place I am currently living in. This place is a student town of Heidelberg, it locates in a country facing series of multi-levelled challenges, this is also a land of innovations and open-minds. Debates are still going on about this one of the most prosperous economies world-wide. I gradually imagine Germany as more than an engineer, but a farmer, a forester, a worker, as well as a woman who lead a family. Altogether.

Valeria had invited me to her family for Christmas in 2015. She was sitting in our communal dining room when I casually asked her if she went home, like others, for Christmas. She did not answer me the question but asked me where I would be. “Maybe here, enjoy the empty town of Heidelberg,” I replied. “Do you want to come to my family together? Last year my brother also took a friend with us, what do you say?” I asked several times to make sure I would not cause inconvenience in such a private, festival time. She seemed more excited (and relaxed) than I was.

It turned out to be a beautiful experience I have ever had with humans in Europe. (I had always positive interactions with mountains or forest, but not always with humans.) My German was more or less communicable with her respectful mother, her sister and little brother who was doing Ausbildung as a Carpenter. We went to the Church in Christmas Eve and the Christmas morning, we sang and joined the services, after that we met with her other big brothers and sisters with their own family in a new house. I really respect Valeria’s mother. Valeria is currently the only one going to university, while another two are still a bit younger or not intending to.

Valeria took me to the forest and we did long walks there, in the night and in the morning. We walked silently. It was my first time to see forest outside Heidelberg. I found one thing about Germany during the walk: the forests are common to see living on flat terrains. The forest at home in my country, are only growing vigorously on high mountains, there is little chance to see “forest”, meaning clusters of trees on the flat plains. When I was in Austria, it was also easy to find forest in high mountains before it becomes too windy and cold and the short bush species takes role instead. Valeria pointed to the high wooden rack-structure that every now and then shows up between trees or in the middle of the broad grassland, she explains that the forest-care-taker will sit in the night up there to watch the forest, shooting down the animal that looks ill.

Valeria and I went back to Heidelberg before I had to fly back in Taiwan. On the way to the train station the scenery outside the car window was heart-breaking beautiful, just like when the first time I saw it before Christmas. Layers of layers of dark, quiet forests sitting remotely watch the terrains of agriculture that supports so many systems, social and political. In the car Valeria was playing the music from Iceland indie-rock band, yelling crazily with her sister, I looked out the window at ribbons of black forest slowly passing by.

Next time I would like to learn more with you about forest management, hunters, and ecology practice in Germany.

Tags: English Blog Post, Holidays & Events, Society & Culture

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