Culture shock as I have the only laptop so far spotted in Gasenheim. Though pleasingly there is wi-fi (out of necessity not greed, I promise). The young German man, square-cut and straight-looking, at the café, when I asked if there was wi-fi, replied “Germany is a free country”. They say the Germans have no sense of humour.
They look after their towns in Germany. Little signs pepper the place. Someone was born here, something else happened here. I can’t understand what they are saying but they signify something eventful took place. However irrelevant to the grand sweep of history, things happened here, and they wish to have them marked. It holds the town together. Buildings that in England we would call Tudor, with sloping upper floors, wood beams set white plaster walls. A red-brick church planted in the centre. Well maintained, well kept. On the roof are planted mini-spires above what appear to be slatted windows. There must be space in that roof.
You could not imagine what a perfect place this is to write. In a café with a window open, facing out onto the square. Mine is the only laptop in town, everyone else seems steady in a busy pleasure. One forgets the quietness of the Germans. The tightness, as in the Dutch and Scandinavians creates so much space. And in the rural areas, there is a relaxation among it.
But I have yet to fill out a tax form. My mood is merged with the idyll of being surrounding by 1000-acre vineyards.
Last night I danced in a circle of Iranians. Sara’s family brought back together after a long time apart. The reunion was ecstatic. An uncle – Majid (spelling certainly incorrect) – had set up a car and speakers on the edge of a vineyard and people were barely in each others’ arms for a few seconds before they were dancing – and I mean really dancing. As the newcomer I had to quickly master the ‘Persian wrist flick’ and the ‘hip pulse and bum wiggle’, both hitherto lacking in my repertoire, but I had many life-long devotees of the art to learn from. And hugs and kisses. There was no reserve, I was drenched with people delighted to see me (I am riding on a wave of their joy at seeing my beloved). We speak through eye contact and pointing. The humour is conveyed beyond language, and we sat together for many hours laughing at each other.
I must go on and work on something for a client. The women are nearby getting their hair done in preparation for the wedding. My idyllic mood must merge with invoicing, but my heart just wants to write about things essential to life: expressed here in strange Middle Eastern language, bodies unafraid to move and a quiet German settledness that never makes it into newspaper gyrations about the shortcomings of the EU. Mine is still the only laptop in Gasenheim, so maybe the gyrations do not reach here.