I've encountered something new. A sort of sub-culture. In America we have garage sales. A place to take the things we've spent time on, but somehow outgrown, and to assign it a value. To share it anew with someone who might value from it as well. I've never been a big-time garage saler, the type that gets up early in the morning to scout out the best bargains. I'm more of the casual stroller, looking for some small deals, something I could likely live with out, but for a low price it might be worth while.
Here in Germany they have something a little different. It's called a Kinderbazaar. Instead of people sitting around outside their homes they bring all their used toys, books, and kids clothes and deposit them in a school gym or community center. And then come the mother's. It's really quite spectacular to watch the rush which often resembles a Day After Thanksgiving sale in the US. They all stand around the doors, pressing tighter and tighter, until at long last they open and they can begin to fill their jumbo sized Ikea bags with treasures that will benefit their families at a bargain.
I've been to quite a few of them during the past couple of weeks, most quite small, but still well attended. Yesterday, however, we went to the jumbo deluxe edition. We arrived an hour before opening time, and were able to purchase baked goods and coffee (fortunately made quite weak because they didn't leave much room for me to add milk) to tide us over before the doors opened. It was an international crowd as well. Germans, Czechs, even some other English speakers all began to crowd around the door half an hour before it opened. At first it was a loose sort of group, but soon it began to resemble the Chinese New Year market in Hong Kong. Not as much black hair, but the press and the crush was there, the feeling that, when the doors opened, you would have no choice but to move along thickly with the masses.
Fortunately, once we were finally let inside everything opened up and we were able to move around freely. Since I don't have any children at the moment, there wasn't a whole lot that I was looking for, but it was still an interesting experience just to be there in the midst of it all.
I've been here in Germany for two weeks now, and it looks like we'll be here for one more. It's a nice change of pace to be certain, and I've definitely enjoyed getting to know Mark's family a bit better. I still have trouble telling the twins apart, but even they are warming up to me, which is really good to see. It's hard not being able to just talk to them, or to understand everything they're saying, but I feel like more and more is coming to me as the days go by, and I can at least follow along for the most part.
Hard to believe September is already more than half way over. I certainly had not imagined I would still be on this side of the world by this point, but there are still experiences to be had and a bit of time yet to spend before the next chapter will really begin.