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"Red Clover is Sweeter in America"


  
I love blogging for many reasons, but mostly because it's a place where I feel safe to fully share who I am and what I'm learning and loving without negative interactions, unlike some other social media platforms I'm on.

And I never have to stop and think, "Should I write this or not?" I've always just written what I wanted, trusting others would understand me.

Here, I can be honest, and weird, and even a tad judgemental without offending anyone, because the community is so good.

Or so I always thought.

But lately, I've been having so many people tell me they read my blog. People that I figured were hardly even aware of my existence. Such as my parents. Lol, just kidding ... though it was weird when they started talking about things I'd blogged about all the time. And then over the summer and last few months, I've actually seen my blog on other people's screens and, to be honest, that's been weird. Because now ... I suddenly realize this isn't just some private journal, but people are reading my thoughts. And quite a few are offensive to people.

And now before I blog I actually have to think about what I write as I think about those that will be reading it. I still love my blog, but I'm so much more nervous about being honest with what's happening in my head.

And yet ... I can't stop writing. I have always tried to have thoughts that are loving and edifying. And I don't want to have to change this blog.

And yet ... how do I share what's currently happening in my head when so many people that read it may be very offended?

How much do I share, if any of that?

"Keturah," You may ask. "Are you declaring that you are too scared to share the truth?"

No.

But which truths need to be shared?

* * *

The truth I'm speaking of right now is that I'm no longer an Au Pair for my first family.
But I'm not sure how to share about the why and how without hurting them or others. I know that they sometimes read my blog, and that I have accidentally offended them numerous times.

I do not want to offend.
Yet this blog is my space.

Yet, my space should never be toxic for myself or others.

So for now, I will say nothing except to share that a month before I left we had a lovely week of vacation in the Black Forest

 DAY ONE: DRIVING THREE HOURS TO THE BLACK FOREST
The first day was nice and slow. We packed, drove, and made it there mid-afternoon, so we took a quick hike up toward a tower.

We stayed at a resort built to look like a castle. I had my own little room, very comfortable. I loved how clean and white it was. And I loved the scenery all around the place. Also, all the doors had HUGE keys.

There was a huge chess game outside, the pieces nearly as high as my waist. Sadly, I never did find someone to play the game with. But there was a game room under the resort, full of toys and a ping pong table, and I had quite a bit of fun down there with the children. Also, a few times that weren't so fun. But the good memories stand out the most right now. 
There was a lot of fog all week. Cold and damp, but pretty. 
There was no WiFi at the resort, so every morning I walked five minutes to a hotel that had free service so I could complete my DuoLingo and Elevate apps. I also spent an early morning outside reading and knitting. This might be my first ever "devotional picture". 

DAY TWO: CHILDREN'S HIKE AND METAL MINE
I loved this hike we did. It was a sort of treasure hunt, where there were "clues" on trees or stumps of animal footprints and further up the trail would be a wooden figure of the animal. It made the hike very fun for the children, and I thought it was fun learning more about the German forest animals and their names. I think this would be such a great idea for Montana hikes—very educational for children and imaginative, too.
This is too pretty to be stuck only in a collage. 

On this hike, I offended the family by saying I didn't keep Christmas. As soon as I said it I could tell my words hadn't been received well ... but I couldn't say I did keep Christmas. Of course, I said I didn't want them changing their plans and I wanted to do whatever they did (except gifts). But for some reason, they took it as if they had to walk on ice for me now because celebrating would be awkward for me. 

The only thing awkward for me was that it was awkward for them ;p I just wanted them to do their thing and for me to do my thing along with them, haha. 
After the hike, we visited an old mine where people used to dig for metals. I really enjoyed it, though I must say I don't have much to report because I didn't understand a lot of it. Still drowning in German ;) 

DAY THREE: FREIBURG
We went to a gorgeous old town called Freiburg and saw a church called Münster. We climbed up the clock tower and saw the city. I also bought a lot of wooden toys for some of the boys I babysit back in the States and my siblings.

For lunch, we had some delicious Turkish food at a place called the Doner Kebab. I've since had it several more times with other people. It seems that Turkish fast food is common here in Germany (restaurants) and it comes in HUGE amounts for a reasonable price. Yummy, and also kosher ;)
  
See that door up top on the far right ... 
Across from the Kebab place was this gorgeous door. I took a picture, then looked up at the light and saw a VHS, and had a good laugh. 

DAY FOUR: NO PICTURES 
We went to a glass blowing place and I bought a bunch of gifts for friends and people I clean for. 
We also walked around the little town we were staying near. It was a hotspot for tourists, yet I actually enjoyed it and could have spent a lot of time there. Most of the shops sold quality items, and the people that ran the stores were all so friendly. 

My Au Pair family also bought some black forest cake for me to try. So yummy! 

DAY FIVE: ALSO NO PHOTOS
We took this day easy, too, and went swimming at an indoor park. The children thought my swim dress quite weird ;p 

DAY SIX: ANOTHER HIKE AND SENSE MUSEUM 
This forest was so peaceful. Like the other hike, it was very child-friendly and had statues of fairy tale figures carved out of trees and stumps all over the trail. 

Here, I accidentally offended my host family by saying, "This is the most beautiful place I've seen in Germany."

They took it as if I were saying I hadn't seen any place I liked in Germany yet, and here was finally a pretty place. 

And when I tried to explain what I meant ... I couldn't figure out how. 


I found the senses museum quite fascinating. Horen, Sehen, Tasten, Schmecken, Riechen. 

I learned some German, I saw some cultural things such as clothing and pottery and just how they structured the museum, I felt some weird stuff, I walked in completely dark tunnel having to feel my way through and out and learning to better sympathize with blind people.

I also did a horrendous thing and pulled a violin bow over a piece of metal. Horrid, because it wasn't good for the bow, but neat because it made a high pitched sound that gathered the dust on the metal into patterns.

And the neatest thing (for me) was rubbing my palms on the edge of this bowl of water, creating a vibration that rippled the water.
DAY SEVEN: SWITZERLAND
And I went to my third country!
We visited the Rheinfalls and took a boat up under them, then went to an old town in Switzerland and bought chocolate.

These bookshelves are quite common around Germany, but this one in Switzerland is by far the neatest I saw. Or maybe I'm prejudiced as I found a book by Johanna Spyri inside.
Back to the shelves; the idea is to leave a book and take one. Some places I saw charge a small portion, most don't. I saw shelves outside of a few gift shops and tourist centers, too!

Who agrees that America needs these!?


I finished knitting myself a pair of house shoes on the trip, knitted this hat and started my first Jane Austen book (in audio format), Mansfield Park. I devoured the book but would have preferred it without romance. I'm thinking it is a good thing I started with this book. If I'd read it last I may have been so in love with the other books that this one greatly disappointed. But this way I was able to love this book and can be swept away by how more amazing the next books promise to be.
Top: Turkish cheese and herb bread.
Middle left: Cinnamon Pfannkucken (pancakes, but really thin and mostly made out of eggs). And then I tried one with spinach instead of the cinnamon and sugar. A lot of people had them with apple sauce too (see the bottom right corner) but the egg texture and apple sauce together was too weird for me.
Middle right: Breakfast breads, fruit, and Musli.
Bottom left: Turkish food.
Top: Icecream with kiwi/ pudding with caramel/ black forest cake
Middle left: kangaroo crackers
Bottom left: Mandel (almond) pudding
Far-Right: Kosher rabbit jellies

And these are what I'm calling them all, not the actual names ;p
Also, I could have taken way more photos of food, but ended up eating it and forgetting ;D
* * * 
It was a lovely week in which I saw a lot. Lovely inside my head, that is. Sometimes it was stressful when with my Au Pair family. 
They are great people, but very high stressed. And it seems the harder I tried not to offend, the more I did. Or the more I tried to be myself, the more I was looked at like some foreigner. Which I am. But ... that should be okay, right? 

"Do you know what burritos are?" A kid asked me. 
"Yes. Have you ever had egg burritos," I asked.  "We have them for breakfast often."
"Weird." 
To me it was funny he thought that weird. 
But whenever I thought something weird ... it wasn't funny ;p Usually offensive. 

Or ... 
I love flowers. All sorts, and for all sorts of different reasons. 
One of my favorites for eating, is Red Clover. On all of our walks, I looked and looked for one to share with the kids. But being fall and cold, none of them really had much sweet nectar. 
I made a joke, "Red clover is sweeter in America."
"No. It's just the wrong season."
True. 

I wasn't trying to say the flowers are literally better in the States. 
But ... that's how it was taken. 

More and more, I was less me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and my surroundings, because I do not believe in letting circumstances control my mood or my life. One or even a few setbacks do not ruin the many perfect moments that fill every day. 

And yet, I found it stifling to have to always try to understand others, and not be appreciated in return. That's actually a bit harsh, but it is partly how I felt. I wanted to be what these people expected. And yet ... I also just wanted us to be able to learn and live and grow together. 

When my two-week notice was given to me, I was not surprised, and I was partially prepared. Part of me was relieved to not have to try anymore. But all of me was also very sad that my efforts hadn't been enough. 

The me that loves laughing and loves people was extremely sad that things couldn't work out, that we couldn't laugh fully together, that I couldn't fit in as they wished. Though I'm an extremely opinionated person, I'm constantly trying to never offend, to help where help is needed, and to find solutions for every problem. 

I don't feel as if I failed. I don't regret the two months we had together. I don't hate anyone. I feel as if I brought a lot away, and have grown in unexpected ways. 

I've learned that one can't solve every problem on their own. 
That expectations are always dangerous, especially when you're at the end of them. 
I've learned that we all have different definitions of what is a necessity and what isn't, of what is offensive and what isn't, of what is good and of what is bad. 

I haven't learned how to not offend the entire world yet. 
Sometimes I think they only way may be to simply lock myself away underground with no access to the outside world. 

But I'm sure even that would offend someone, namely my family and friends ;D 

And, so, though I mean no offense to any sensitive stalkers, here are my honest thoughts. And who'd think someone would fire me? And that I'd be okay with it, and be writing about it ... ;D 

And if in case you're wondering, I am not back in the USA, but with a new family of six children, still in Germany but closer to the Austrian border. 

Comments

  1. J+M+J
    Awe, I've always wanted to play chess on a board of such, it's a shame no-one wanted to play....
    And that bookshelf idea is so neat! I feel like adding something of the like to some fictional world or other now, haha....
    And really, due to the curse of sin, and peoples natural ignorance of every aspect of one another... it is impossible to live around someone without making some offense or mistake in some way. Offense however, is a poison... and I say that because if you leave it there (In other words, if you don't forgive it), it will destroy a relationship. There are so many trivial things that we find offensive, and most of them (in the long run) don't really matter... so as hard as it can be, often it is really just a call to forgive, and to realize that we can't possibly know every aspect of every person (as only God knows that, indeed, all we can do is guess), and so we are bound to make a wrong conclusion some time and so create an offense.

    The Doorman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You play chess? I guess I just needed you there then.

      And why limit it to a fictional wotld!? I want to see those bookshelves in America!!

      Yes, it's quite sad how offenses create barriers. I think that's one of the reasons I have so many friends. I choose to think deeper than how I perceive something, to how the other person might perceive it. If it still offends me, which it rarely does, I call them out on it or ask them to explain depending on the nature of the offense. Basically, if takes a lot to offend me. Unless I'm stressed, I've noticed. Then my brain forgets to give grace where it ought and I often read more into what isn't there. Knowing this about myself gives me grace when others are offended. Usually when one is irrationally offended with another it is due to other stresses picking at their brains.

      Delete
  2. Google "little free library." They are all over St Louis (and, yes, the rest of "America" too)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that just goes to show you how big America is ... So neat!

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  3. I'm sorry about that situation, Keturah, I pray everything is working out.

    We have those little libraries in parks around where I live, sadly, they aren't as nice but it's still cool.

    I'm interested in why you don't celebrate Christmas because this year I'm not either, I celebrate the pagan holiday and still take part in it, but I no longer celebrate Jesus's birth. You're one of the few other people who I've come across that don't celebrate it at all, besides my friend's family. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Everything has worked out great, and seems to be continuing to do so. So thanks!

      Oh wow. And here's all of America telling me, "We have them already!" I travel a lot, so I'm suprised I haven't seen them before. Especially loving books so much.

      I planned to do a post on it this year. But life had other plans. I've never celebrated the holiday and neither have my parents not my dad's parents. We believe it is a pagan holiday, and thus don't celebrate it. I actually have a lot of respect for those that celebrate it as you are doing, as I prefer honesty 😂

      Delete
    2. I'm glad it's working out!

      That's so funny, well ours where I live aren't as nice and have around five battered books tops, sadly.

      If you ever do write that post I would be interested in reading it!

      Delete
    3. Ahh that is sad. I'll probably write it sooner than later as people all over have been asking for it;)

      Delete
  4. Oh, those fairy tale carvings are incredible! I would love to see that place in person.

    I'm sorry you went through this, but I'm glad you seem to be at peace with where you are. I hope things look up with your new family. :)

    Unfortunately I don't think anyone will ever be able to not offend the whole world... just one of those things, I suppose. You wrote the truth with plenty of grace in this post; don't worry too much about offending. Easier said than done, I know. But you'll be in my prayers! <3

    theonesthatreallymatter.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was truly mesmerizing!

      Peace has been so handy here;) and things have been perfect!

      I'll have to join you on that unfortunately. It's a sad fact of life that I hate so much. And thanks! It's not hard for me to he honest ... Grace is what I strive for :)

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  5. Love all the pictures! Hope everything goes ok for you, and you learn a lot. ;)

    astordetective.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Rakayle! I feel life is always determined to make me learn something, so no fear there;)

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  6. Aww Keturah! That sounds no fun at all, but you are so strong. <3 And I know others have said it, but it bears repeating: offending others is sometimes just...unavoidable. How someone else responds to our choices is not something we can control. We can only control our own responses, and as long as we're acting virtuously and avoiding sin, we have nothing to fear. And I think you understand that.

    And ooh you read Mansfield Park!! That's the one with...Fanny, right? (I read "Persuasion" around the same time and I always get the two heroines' names mixed up. :P) I think I agree about the romance; if I hadn't known it was a Jane Austen novel, I really wouldn't have thought of it as a "romance" at all, the subject matter is WAY broader than man-woman relationships. Man I need to catch up on my Austen. So far my favorite is "Persuasion."

    Sharing books between strangers through an adorable public structure? Yes, please. I have seen a few of those in Ohio, BUT we could stand for about a gajillion more, I think!

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    1. Thanks for your encouraging words! I know it's true, and yet since I seem to offend so much I think it's still good for me to be ever cautious. Though, maybe the reason I do seem to cause more offense than some is because I open my mouth in the first place. And I really don't plan go become silent.

      Yes, Fanny! I loved Fanny and a the characters. But yes the romance thread was weird. I can't wait to read another Austen though!

      And as everyone had kindly corrected me and let me know America does have these lovely structures, I'm just going to echoes you and say, "great! But we need more; so many so that blind people like me can't possibly miss them."

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  7. Turks are everywhere. I am a Turkish blogger also. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I've been noticing that. . So neat! I'm hoping when I go back to the states I find that we have Turkish food, too. I wouldn't know as I don't eat out much. Thanks for visiting!

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  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I feel the same way about blogging- that it’s my safe space to pour out whatever I want to.

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    1. Blogging is just the best isn't it!? Thanks for returning the visit ;)

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  9. I always worry about offending people on my blog too. I for one really appreciate how honest and genuine you are!
    Sorry about the situation you're in, it sounds very stressful. You seem to be handling it with grace. Will be praying for you. :)

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    1. I guess I don't worry about it, but then I'm annoyed when I do. Because... if only I'd worried more... haha. But thanks, I do try to just be honest and happy and let others feel ad they'd like. And thanks so much, Skye! Definitely hasn't been easy but things are fantastic now.

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