Tag Archives: CaliforniaGermans

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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Pfingsten (Pentecost) – A Holiday Observed in Germany

“Pfingstrose”

Today is ‘Pfingstsonntag’ (Pentecost Sunday) and unless you attend a church service you most likely won’t know about it. Unlike Germany, the US doesn’t observe this day as a holiday.  In Germany on the other hand even ‘Pfingstmontag’ (the Monday following Pentecost Sunday) is part of the holiday and offices, markets etc. are closed.

For us as children growing up in Germany, ‘Pfingsten’ meant starting a two-week vacation and once ‘Pfingstferien’, Pentecost vacation, was over, we knew the end of the school year was near as well. ‘Pfingsten’ with its warmer and sunnier weather rang in the summer for us, even if the date didn’t coincide with the official date of the summer solstice.

Commonly used expressions that incorporate ‘Pfingsten’ are the ‘Pfingstochse’ and the ‘Pfingstrose’. A ‘Pfingstochse’ we call someone, who is far overdressed and seems to be adorned like the ox, that was leading its herd to the green pastures in the mountains for the first time in the year and, as part of this tradition, was festively adorned with bows, bells and such.

‘Pfingstrose’ is the flower ‘peony’ in English. Even though not actually a rose the ‘Pfingstrose’ is reminiscent of a rose in its beauty and color, and most of the time starts flowering just about the time when Pentecost is happening.

Frohe Pfingsten!

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Image: ©CaliforniaGermans


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My 13 Years of Integration in Germany in Fast-Forward

My 13 Years of Integration in Germany in Fast-Forward

(By Kate Müser)
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I used to think that adapting to life in a new country would be a life-long process. When I first moved to Germany in 2002 – and even after I’d spent a decade here – I never thought that the process might at some point shift gears and head in reverse.

I’ve since spent over 13 – nearly 14 – years here, and it’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve started watching Netflix series in original language, attending an English-speaking church, googling the closet burrito shop – and even toying with the idea of relocating to San Diego or Silicon Valley.

It’s not that I don’t still appreciate the German lifestyle – their penchant for practicality, ecology and quality, not to mention comfortable car-free zones and the world’s best cakes and breads.

Rather I started noticing that the one American trait I’d always prided myself in – that naive but optimistic belief that you can achieve anything you set your mind to – was dwindling. And if I lost that, how American would I still be?

Most importantly, I grew up in California often feeling like I didn’t fit it: I sunburn easily, was a Francophile in high school, and studied classical piano. But fitting in – anywhere in the world – is drastically overrated. After all, there is SPF 70 sunscreen and – as you know better than anyone – plenty of Europeans in California, too.

Perhaps it was my German husband, who at times seems more like a Californian than I do (he tans and surfs!), or perhaps it was the structural changes at work that meant I now speak German 95% of the time.

Whatever the cause of my U-turn, cultural identity, I’ve found, is still in flux after 13 years – and it’s never too late to make a few readjustments.

In this YouTube video, I’ve summed up my personal ups and downs as an expat.

Are you a German in California? I would love to hear about your experiences, too.

©KateMüser

Image: Pixabay.com

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Kate Müser, who grew up in Pleasanton, California, was surprised to discover that she feels even closer to her home state now than she did when she first moved to Bonn, Germany, over 13 years ago.

She is the creator of the successful YouTube series #thoseGermans and the portrait series #germany24. Visit Kate’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/katemuser and her website, justkate.de.

For over a decade, Kate has been a TV, radio and online journalist at Deutsche Welle, where she currently hosts the video series Meet the Germans with Kate and the TV show PopXport.

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