Category Archives: Life in California

Summertime – Time for German Summer Camps in California

Summer has officially started and all the school children in CA have most likely started their summer vacation by now. Have you checked out our list of German Language Summer Camps yet? Some camps might still have an open space for your child!

There are overnight camps and day camps, and camps right along the Bay in Newport and some at a serene lake. Most of them offer a variety of activities, of which some are more STEM related and others are more arts heavy. But we just got word of a cool camp in Santa Rosa, that focuses on nature explorations and Innerweaving!! We had to let you know…

Have you heard of Innerweaving before? It’s a method of experiential and emotional hands-on techniques that spark imagination and support personal development and conscious living.  It’s a technique created by Silvia Schroeder, who is also leading this unique camp for children. The camp offers a combination of indoor/outdoor creative fun. “Throughout the camp we will talk German and introduce language based on nature and craft activities.” Family members are invited to celebrate their children’s powerful Nature-Earthcraft accomplishments on the final day.

The Innerweaving German Summer Camp will take place from July 5th-6th for 7-11 year old kids, and a one-day camp is offered on July 7th for children 4-6 years old.

The camp is located in a small Redwood Park along a little creek at the Community Center/Women‘s Clubhouse, 16 Park Rd, Fairfax, CA 94930.

Check out our Camp Listings for more detailed information.

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Images: ©Innerweaving


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It’s Father’s Day in the USA – Vatertag in the USA

Today is Father’s Day here in America. This day of honorig all Dads is celebrated in the USA every year on the third Sunday in June, almost a month later than in Germany!

In Germany, Father’s Day – ‘Vatertag’ coincides with the church holiday of ‘Christi Himmelfahrt’ (Ascension of Jesus). It’s a national holiday and it’s always happening on a Thursday since the Ascension of Jesus is celebrated 39 days after Easter Sunday.

Interestingly, not all German speaking countries are celebrating Father’s Day on the same day. Austria for example has its Father’s Day on the second Sunday in June, while Switzerland initially didn’t have a dedicated Father’s Day until 2009. Since then the official Swiss Father’s Day is happening on the first Sunday in June.

How is Father’s Day celebrated in Germany? It used to be or often still is a day, on which fathers/men celebrate themselves and enjoy each other’s company in fact without family and children! In North Germany and East Germany, Father’s Day tellingly is called ‘Herrentag’ (Day of the Men) .

But more and more young families nowadays celebrate Father’s Day pretty much the same like we do here in the United Sates and make it a day with the family. I personally remember Father’s Day being a day for and with my Dad.

While Father’s Day has been an official holiday in Germany since 1934, the United States’ first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910 in the State of Washington; however it wasn’t until 1972 that Father’s Day became a permanent national holiday in the USA.

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! 

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Image: Pixabay.com


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Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS now open at CaliforniaScienceCenter, Los Angeles

BODY WORLDS’ new exhibit PULSE has opened at the California Science Center and will be on display until February 2018. The exhibit is “a convergence of aesthetic anatomy, health and wellness”. Visitors can learn and actually see how a body reacts if a person lives an unhealthy lifestyle versus a healthy one. They can for example visually witness how the body inside gets impacted by certain lifestyle choices, like excessive smoking; or what obesity can do to our bodies’ health.

Gunther von Hagens and ‘Plastination’

A special plastination technique invented by controversial German anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens in 1977 makes it possible to dissect a body to show various structures and systems of human anatomy in a way that, to date, has not been possible otherwise. Originally von Hagen’s technique was used for medical purposes only. He did however became very controversial when he was preparing his first ‘Body Worlds’ show in Japan in 1995, in which he showed full body specimen in lifelike poses. The exhibition ‘Body Worlds’ has stirred many intense emotions and opinions ever since, but has also opened up a revolutionary scientific understanding of our bodies. Despite all its controversy, ‘Body Worlds’ has attracted  37 million visitors in its exhibitions all over the world.

In 2015 ,after many legal battles, Dr. Gunther von Hagens opened his own museum in Berlin, MeMu – MenschenMuseum.

An exhibition of immense educational value

In the past ‘Body Worlds’ has even been called a freak show, but over time people have come to realize  what revolutionary insights ‘Body Worlds’ is offering us all into our own functioning of our bodies. “Body Worlds: Pulse will bring together anatomy and the latest health and wellness findings in a visually compelling and highly entertaining and informative exhibition. ”

More than 200 plastinated specimens will be on view at the California Science Center — including whole bodies, body configurations, translucent slices, and organs, as well as 3D displays . The exhibition is curated and presented in galleries that feature the various systems of the body.

Tickets can be purchased online at:  https://californiasciencecenter.org/body-worlds-tickets

To get an idea of what visitors will experience, we encourage to watch KTLA‘s video of the exhibition in Los Angeles:

 

Credits:KTLA, California Science Center.      Image: By Pattymooney (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Spice Up Your “Fahrvergnügen” – Go Big & Bold With Color

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Car Colors in Germany – All Used to Be Possible

Did it ever occur to you that car colors here in California are quite boring? A recent look at a major shopping mall’s parking lot seems to proof my point…

It almost looks like a car dealership; all white cars on one side and black/dark colors lined up on the other. Pretty subdued, no?

In my childhood, car colors must have gone wild in Germany… At least, I remember our cars having all kinds of vivid colors then. In fact, over the years I would say that we had cars of a pretty broad variety of colors. From a bright red to an ochre Special Jeans Edition” Volkswagen Beetle to a green VW Bug, all the way to a dark violet Mercedes that belonged to my uncle, and my Dad’s lightly linden green 1980’s Mercedes that got replaced by a (boring) silver Benz, to a strikingly yellow Ford and bright metallic blue Peugeot. A kind of gold/beige BMW was in our collection as well… indicating the doom of car colors ahead of us, I assume.

Coming out to California as a teenager, two particular facts regarding cars stood out for me. One was, these monstrous things on wheels roaming California freeways, called Monster Trucks. Second was the fact that the Mercedes Benz here in California had a golden-colored Mercedes star instead of the distinct silver one I was used to from Germany.

That golden Mercedes star together with a golden grill just didn’t cut it for me. It clashed with my image of Mercedes’ sleek elegance conveying a touch of understatement. Everything seemed to be so “bling” in California…

My last car in Germany before moving to California used to be a deep electric blue, but after coming out here I settled for a black one… yes, a boring, black colored SUV! Okay, I admit, not every color goes well with every car model. And the Ford Explorer I had then might not have looked as sharp in electric blue… Besides, at that time, I didn’t want to embarrass my son at his school by standing out with a color that would announce to everyone in the drop-off line that “the Germans” have arrived. We tried to fit in.

But honestly, if you look around you, the cars here in CA make up for a pretty boring car-landscape; from black to white to daring gold or beige/brown, and for the more adventurous type perhaps a dark blue! If you encounter a red, then I am sure it’s some unobtrusive wine/maroon red.

Okay, some Hippie Volkswagen Bus in happy, sunny colors might brighten up the freeway in front of us sometimes, while Ferrari & Co. of course stick out on the streets and call our attention; not only because of their design, but also because they seem to be the only cars these days that dare to put on some bold colors. That’s why, when we see one of them, we have to make sure not to stop breathing since the color alone is taking our breath away!

To my dismay however I found out that the Germans and in fact the Europeans as a whole, are now following the, supposedly fading, American trend towards boring auto colors.

According to AutoBild, the absolute favorite car color of the Germans in 2016 continued to be silver/grey, followed by black and white, and red fell to a sad fifth place. For comparison, in 1986 the color white had not even made it to 2%. Imagine that!

Americans, on the other hand, are on their way to discover (some) color again. While white, black and grey still dominate the top spots, “Blue…” according to the Chicago Tribune, “…is expected to be the hottest car color for 2017!”

I couldn’t confirm this striking trend yet. But, I’ll be for sure keeping an eye out for this splash of color on the streets…!

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Images: CaliforniaGermans & Pixabay.com

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“FUTURE OR PAST? CLIMATE POLICY AS DRIVER FOR MODERN ECONOMIES” – Environmental Forum with Barbara Hendricks at Stanford Woods Institute

Please join the Stanford Woods Institute Environmental Forum with Barbara Hendricks, the German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.

Hendricks Flyer

Barbara Hendricks has been Germany’s Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety since December 2013. Before that she served as the federal treasurer of the German Social Democratic Party. From 1998 to 2007, she was a Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Ministry of Finance. Since 1994, Barbara Hendricks, who has a doctorate in history, has represented her home district of Kleve in the German Bundestag.

Reception to follow.

More information can be found at: https://woods.stanford.edu/news-events/event/woods-environmental-forum-future-or-past-climate-policy-driver-modern-economics

For questions, please contact Mollie Field at mfield1[AT]stanford.edu.

DATE AND TIME

Wed, May 17, 2017 at 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM (PDT)

LOCATION

Encina Hall, Bechtel Conference Center, 616 Serra Street, Stanford, CA 94305

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment is working toward a future in which societies meet people’s needs for water, food, health and other vital services while protecting and nurturing the planet. As the university’s hub of interdisciplinary environment and sustainability research, the Stanford Woods Institute is the go-to place for Stanford faculty, researchers and students to collaborate on environmental research. Their interdisciplinary work crosses sectors and disciplines, advancing solutions to the most critical, complex environmental and sustainability challenges.

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