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A New Year

A New Experience

“So, this is Solstice and what have you done

Another year over, a new one just begun

And so, this is Solstice, I hope you have fun

The near and the dear ones, the old and the young

A very merry Solstice and a happy new year

Let's hope it's a good one without any fears

And so, this is Solstice for weak and for strong

The rich and the poor ones, the road is so long

And so happy Solstice for black and for white

For yellow and red ones let's stop all the fights”

Borrowed, with love, from the late and great John Lennon.

What an odd year 2017 was for both Julia and me. I’d have to say it was a turbulent one compared to so many other recent years. Yes, turbulent is a good word to describe it as I can’t remember a year with so many choppy relationships and so much private turmoil. I also can’t help thinking that what we experienced personally was somehow driven by the public descent into hatred, selfishness, and bigotry by the United States of America. This fall has affected everyone I know in some way or another.

Well, I suppose that is just an excuse. One must own one’s mistakes. For those I have offended I offer my apologies and ask for your forgiveness. And for those friends and family who still consider me a comrade I am deeply appreciative.

But, that was then and before us is a new year with new possibilities and new random events to look forward to or avoid. The first and most impactive random event was the addition of a new member to our family, a fifteen-year-old exchange student from Germany, Anneli. The pronunciation of her name is Anna-Lee. She has moved in with us until the summer and is hoping to attend Oakland Technical High School where she is enthusiastically anticipating attending their extensive fashion programs.

Anneli comes from Kassel in Germany. Kassel, which was spelled Cassel until 1928, is a city located on the Fulda River in northern Hesse, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Regierungsbezirk Kassel and the Kreis of the same name. It had 200,507 inhabitants in December 2015.

The former capital of the state of Hesse-Kassel it contains many palaces and parks, including the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kassel is also known for the documenta exhibitions. Documenta is an exhibition of contemporary art, which takes place every five years in Kassel. It was founded by artist, teacher, and curator Arnold Bode in 1955 as part of the Bundesgartenschau (Federal Horticultural Show), which took place in Kassel at that time. It was an attempt to bring Germany up to speed with modern art, both banishing and repressing the cultural darkness of Nazism. This first documenta featured many artists who are generally considered to have had a significant influence on modern art (such as Picasso and Kandinsky). The more recent documentas feature art from all continents.

documenta exhibition

Julia and I are very enthusiastic to have Anneli join our family. We hope she can achieve everything she set out to do, when she embarked on her solo journey into the very, very strange land, of the United States of America. I’m not sure that when I was fifteen that I’d have been so adventurous and brave as she is. However, Julia and I are committed to help her in whatever way we can. We see our job, as people who chose to join club-USA voluntarily and did not grow up in its odd culture, to help her make sense of this wonderful and yet strange place. I hope we can achieve this.


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