This week, I worked out, baked cupcakes for departing coworkers, met with both tandem partners, and traveled to the Stuttgart region.
My friends who live near Stuttgart invited me to a dinner party. Most of the guests were not only German, but they were also Schwäbisch, and they spoke that dialect. In other words, I could only understand about every third word that one of them spoke!
It was a lovely dinner but I made my appearance in a manner that is very rude in German culture: I was late. Not only was I late, but I was very late. Normally I'm on time but I just couldn't get it together. I had left a door unlocked at home and had to turn back to lock it. Then I had to fuel up the car. Even worse was that I thought that the party had started half an hour later than it actually had and I thought that it was a casual party where people stop by whenever.
It turned out to be a sit-down, dinner party. I was mortified to be so late, as I should have been, especially when I saw 3/4 of the dinner party finishing up the first course. I apologized profusely and was welcomed warmly despite my bungling of the arrival. The other 1/4 of the dinner party arrived 20 minutes later, so at least I wasn't the last person there, but still...!
I brought some neuer Wein, which thrilled K, especially after our ridiculous quest for it the weekend before. It went well with the delicious salad, bread, and soup dinner. There was pumpkin soup, which is a fall favorite in Germany (or at least the Pfalz), and then also goulash. I was trying to stifle a giggle as the Germans exclaimed how "hot" it was (spicy) because I hadn't realized that it had any spicy seasoning before they had said that. It wasn't what I would call spicy at all but most Germans are not known for the ability to tolerate spiciness in food.
For dessert, we ate a dulce de leche cheesecake I brought. Before one goes and thinks I'm a really fancy chef, realize that Nestle carried the weight on that one. I made it from a mix. It was delicious.
I already knew everyone at the party, since I had met them a year and a half before at C+K's garden party. That doesn't mean that I can understand the Schwäbisch dialect any better now, though ;) I mostly spoke with one lady, who was perfectly understandable and she was pleased that I spoke German, saying that I spoke it well. There is so much that I need to work on but I'm pleased to be able to converse at a dinner party.
I stayed over after the dinner party and enjoyed a lovely full German breakfast with C+K the next morning. They create such a lovely meal, with lots of bread, cheese, cold cuts, jams, cut peppers and cucumbers, etc.
After we had stuffed ourselves, we traveled to the Kloster (Monastery) Maulbronn. It's a world heritage site and a well-preserved group of buildings dating from medieval times and farther. We didn't have much time so we didn't pay to visit the museum but did stroll around the grounds. Afterward, we visited a festival being held farther along in the city, at the firehouse.
I had to hurry along because I was expected at a group event back in Kaiserslautern. I said goodbye to my friends and attempted to get home in haste. This doesn't happen in reality in the Stuttgart region, which has some of the worst traffic in Germany, as evidenced by a Stau on a Sunday. When I did reach the event, I managed to see most of my friends. At least this event was meant to have a flexible start time.