We’re an American family living just outside of Bitburg, in the scenic but often-damp Eifel countryside of far-western Germany. We got the crazy notion to buy a haus here, and even though it’s not the renovated barn/carriage house/crumbling country manor of our dreams, it’s pretty cool—when the plumbing and heating are working properly. When we aren’t traveling, we live a pretty quiet life. Stop by for frequent doses of Gemütlichkeit, which just basically means a sense of coziness and intimacy--and an unhurried pace to counter the frenetic nature of modern life. Doctor's orders! Oh, and a special hello to anyone visiting from the Spangdahlem Air Base community!
Do you know yet about Vivian Maier? I hadn't heard of her until a couple of weeks ago, but now I'm completely taken by her art and her story. Vivian Maier (1926-2009) was a "street photographer" who, as a hobby, took thousands of photos that she tucked away in obscurity for many years while she earned a living as a nanny and caregiver. Why would anyone take so many stunning, evocative photos and not want to share at least some of them with the world? The answer to this query remains mostly unknown.
Thankfully, John Maloof discovered her work by accident at a Chicago auction, and he, along with Jeff Goldstein and others, are now giving this enigmatic photographer her artistic due. Maier's unusual and eccentric life story--what we know of it--only enhances the mystery surrounding her work. The fact that she began living in Chicago in the 1950s, around the time my mother and her parents moved away from Chicago's South Side to New Orleans, makes Maier's urban artistry that much more interesting to me.
I hope you'll enjoy and appreciate the raw beauty that is apparent in her long-lost photographs.
Um, so--Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, right? I apologize for my lengthy, semi-intentional absence from blogging over the extended holiday season. Frankly, I got a bit lazy and distracted prior to Christmas. I really did mean to post some pictures from a couple of local Christmas markets, but--well, I just didn't. We didn't make it to as many markets as we'd have liked, anyway, due to the crazy weather (almost a month of snow accumulation--at long last, it has finally melted!). Thankfully we hadn't planned a trip over the holidays.
There was also this small thing, of Husband's back locking up and his spending a week and a half in a local German hospital. Fun times. He's okay now, slowly recuperating and now back at work. Here's a photo of our view from the eleventh floor on New Year's Eve. That's one we'll remember.
Amidst all of the holiday hullaballoo, I forgot to let you all know that our HGTV House Hunters International episode (I mentioned it a while back) aired on January 1! Of course, we weren't able to watch it as it aired in the States, but we've seen it now, thanks to a cousin of mine.
In case you watch the video, I feel the need to say that while we are every bit as goofy in real life as we were on TV, we aren't quite as dumb. We knew beforehand that German homes usually don't have built-in closets and that (built-in) kitchens aren't often "included." We also knew that German restaurants typically have German menus. Hey, it's all about maximum entertainment value, people! I'll put it this way: there's a whole lotta' acting involved.
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