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40 Jahre Goethe-Institut Neuseeland
Annesley Kingston

I must have first met Judith in the mid 1980’s – I can’t properly remember the circumstances!!

The City Gallery used to be in Victoria Street and I was a Friend of the Gallery, which meant I went there quite often. The Goethe-Institut was near the Gallery and I remember visiting it quite a number of times.
Judith asked me if I could accommodate an intern, which I could and so the relationship started.

The first intern was Rebecca Weinker from Kiel. There must have been a number of telephone calls – there was no internet then – and the arrangement was that I would meet her at the train station as she was coming from Auckland.
“ How will I know you ? “I asked.    “ I am a typical German looking woman – tall, blond and carrying a pack “ she replied – and yes, we found each other really easily.

Over the intervening years I have had possibly one hundred interns staying with me. I have enjoyed all of them and learned a lot about Germany and different parts of the country.

I have also been to lots of different evenings at the Goethe-Institut and seen many of the German films during the German Film Festivals.
One of the directors did a Soccer Film Festival and I worked with him on the Programme. That was a great festival even if you didn’t like soccer!!!
And I used to meet one of the Directors on the bus in the evening – and we would chat until it was time for me to get off.

I have shared lots of German food and have taken many of the interns on trips around Wellington, the Wairarapa and the Kapiti Coast.
 
Then in 1999, I was going to visit my daughters in London and Carsten, a German intern who had been at Victoria University and another intern called Benita suggested that I come and visit them in Germany on my return flight. We now had the internet so it was much easier to organise !!!
And I also got in touch with Rebecca Weinker and organised to meet up with her in Germany.

What a wonderful experience!! I took a flight from London Airport to Frankfurt, then a train to somewhere where Carsten met me and we sped off in the early evening to his home in Kassel. He had borrowed his father’s Mercedes – what an exciting trip.

And what a fantastic home – on the ground floor was the garage, the sauna, the pump room, and the party room; on the next level his parents lived in a very generous house, and on the third level was Carsten’s apartment!!! And his mum was having a party of work mates – a real introduction to German hospitality.

I stayed about five or six days in Kassel – and explored the home of the Brothers Grimm, a wall paper museum, visited Wilhelmshöhe Hercules and the Castle grounds. I visited the primary school where Carsten was teaching and also a school where he was teaching German to Russian immigrants. And I experienced a social gathering with the Russians.
And Carsten took me to various small historic cities – it was early December so very cold, but also very pretty.

While I was staying in Kassel, Carsten took me up to Bremen where we met up with Rebecca – by the statue of Roland!!
What a wonderful city, so full of fairy tale buildings and statues. We did the old Bremen city with the Statue of the Three Musicians, and wonderful alleys and shops – just beautiful.

It was so wonderful to catch up with Rebecca after all these years. She is married and has a couple of children. But still living in Kiel.
And then we returned to Kassel – quite a trip.

And then it was time to go to Freiburg and catch up with Benita. I stayed with a friend of hers, who met me off the train – what an efficient train service. Freiburg was wonderful and we did lots of exploring around the area. It was also Christmas Market time and that was wonderful.
I still have lots of German Christmas decorations – these always bring back memories.

And then it was time to go to Benita’s mother’s home, near the Lake of Constance, the closest town was beautiful Lindau.
I experienced my first snow – which was wonderful. We also did some sightseeing in this area, going into Austria and Switzerland and seeing Italy not far away.

And then it was time for me to return to New Zealand, to Wellington and my family and Christmas.

It was a wonderful holiday and I have been invited by a number of interns to visit them in Germany – but I just never made it again.
And now with the World in a pandemic and isolation rules, expensive flights, I guess I will never return to this beautiful country.

I moved house a number of years ago and no longer have interns – I miss this – perhaps when my son moves out, I will start again!!

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