My Nostalgia for Eastern Germany

My Nostalgia for Eastern Germany ( ex-DDR)
I experienced Eastern Germany for the first time during my longer weekend "getaways" when I was a student in the UK.

 It was then called East Germany or DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik). I travelled around places like East Berlin with an Indian woman who was also a student with me.

It wasn't until re-unification that I accepted a free lance job in Halle,near Leipzig, in  the Saxon Anhalt region.

I would be teaching English as a Second language to "Arbeitzampt" students (unemployed people preparing for English usage at a new job) in a small,quaint but famous language school. I had a class with 4 students who were over 55 years of age. We met a few times a week for three hours. After my first class with them, the remaining classes were all "lubricated" with 2 bottles of champagne,and plenty of sweets and cake. Each class was great fun and all of us learned immensely, and with plenty of laughter!

Another arbeitzampt student was planning to open a wine shop in Leipzig. She practiced her speaking by telling everyone in class
about the kinds of wines she would sell, and brought in several bottles for our taste testing, explaining the differences in the wines.
We all floated out of that class on a mist, and luckily it was at the end of the day.

A part time at another small English Language school, where I had very lively conversation classes, mostly about how difficult their lives were during the DDR years. I would play with the very pampered Yorkshire terrier whilst waiting for my students to arrive. Sometimes I would be entrusted with the key to the school to lock up after class was finished in the evening.

My usual Sunday morning ritual would be to take the trolley which runs throughout the town (a few times I would ride without getting a ticket, to be naughty and daring) to the centre of town, still Sunday sleepy, where a cafe with a nice view of the town would be. I would try different cafes around town.

I would have "kaffee und kuche", choosing my cake and coffee for 1Euro each, and would sit in a place with a good view.

I also really enjoyed the  fully stocked supermarkets with  tantalising food items from all over Germany and other parts of Europe to taste, and also trying all the local beers as well as
beer from other parts of Europe,many of them cheaper than bottled water! Believe me I tried them all! I especially love smoked sausage with beer!

My friends would include a colleague from my school from Czech Republic and his wife, who lived upstairs from me, and some other teachers from my school. On occasional weekends we would take trips to Leipzig, and other small quaint towns and villages in Thuringia and other regions. 

Taking in the local colour, culture ( we saw a manor of a famous compusor, whose name escapes me at the moment, but his manor was in a dilapated state), as well as tasting the local cuisine. That was all great fun.
Leipzig was a place where I felt a vibrant energy of the arts, history and excitement hidden in the back nooks and corners of roads.

I went with my friend there a few times, and I recall sitting in a park having a picnic and falling asleep next to the bust of Bach.

All of these people were heterosexual, and had their own partners, and our conversations had a different agenda to them.
I found it very difficult to meet any gay people. I didn't speak the language, and I didn't know the local gay culture or ways of doing things. Coming from wild and gregarious Bangkok where I had many fun friends, I felt like a monk in Germany.

There was a German lad whom I met because of his interest in practicing English. His father was a strict pastor. When my friend came to know that I was ignorant of the Bible, he would teach me, but in a very peculiar way. I had to name the books of the Bible in their proper order. Each time I said a name in the wrong order, or forgot a name he would take me over his knee and spank me with his hand. Another name in wrong order would get my jeans taken down, until he took down my undershorts and spanked my bare buttocks,harder each time I had forgotten some name, or didn't pronounce it in the German way!

Some weekend jaunts to Berlin were fun as I got to see a cosmopolitan cultural feel; hearing Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, Vietnamese and Polish among many others being spoken.
I went around famous places and not so famous places again mostly alone. I found myself going to places where I felt a more familiar connection with the culture like Arab coffee shops, Persian grocery stores and the like.

Although the walls of the DDR came down several years ago, the scars of it stayed in the local people's "Osties" mentality.
Many people were suspicious of "others". There was always a frown on people's faces.

I hope as time goes on, the (still) two German peoples will be more one.


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