|Hand painted goose eggshell from Seligenstadt Ostereier Markt|
Saturday the 6th we received a letter telling us that we could pick up our "Aufenthaltstitel" at the local "Bürgeramt" in Dornbusch. Our apartment is in a quarter called Eckenheim. Dornbusch is a neighboring section that is about a 15-20 minute walk away. The "Aufenthaltstitel" is called a visa by some missionaries, but it is more accurately a residence permit. It is a card we carry that says that we have the legal right to live in Germany until November 25, 2017. Our mission ends in August that year, so we are now legal for the length of our mission. And with this permit we could apply for a German driver's license. You can drive on a U. S. license for 6 months from the date of your arrival. Our 6 months will be up March 25, so we were becoming a little anxious to get the process underway.
We left the office Wednesday with all of the paperwork we thought we would need, but when we got to the office for automobiles and licenses, the lady at the desk asked for a "Sehtest" -- a vision exam. So, Thursday afternoon we went to a local optician. Birgitte passed Jeff, but Janet failed without her glasses which she didn't have with her.
Friday morning we made another run at the vision test, this time with Janet's glasses in hand. She passed with flying colors. The optician really wanted to sell Jeff some new glasses and contacts. She kept telling him that his vision will only get worse and that he can forestall that with the wonderful German glasses and contacts they have available. We noticed that all of their material was labeled Bausch and Lomb, but we suppose that if you buy it here it is naturally better.
We drove back to the Bürgeramt Rund um Autos and got our numbered slip for the wait (short). This time the clerk didn't ask for the "Sehtest," so we decided not to offer the results unless asked for them. They asked in the back, so the first clerk did us a favor and spared us the wait. The office was extremely efficient. This isn't like the DMV in the U.S. The people know what they are doing and do it quickly. After we provided the necessary documents and all was in order, the clerk handed us a plastic card and instructed us to go pay at the "Automat" in the front of the building. You walk to the front, put the card in the machine, and it shows you what you owe. Then you feed in the appropriate amount of cash (€ 35 or about $40 currently - each), and you get a receipt that you take back to the clerk. We should get a letter in the mail in about 4 weeks telling us to come pick up our German driver's license. That part isn't very efficient. Why they can't just mail the license to you we don't know.
We were asked by the zone leaders to present a 'Thema' during their zone training. What a treat for us to be with and observe these young missionaries in the Frankfurt Zone. Because of the driver's license run, we were a little late to the meeting, but we loved hearing them teach each other in both English and German. Our presentation was about how they could serve the members better. Janet suggested that we ask Brad for his input, and he responded with a great letter containing his top 10 ideas, and we read it verbatim during our presentation. Thanks, Brad.
Saturday is our preparation day, so we shop for groceries, do laundry, and try to get in something fun. This week we visited Seligenstadt. It is a very old city on the Main River about 40 minutes from our apartment. The center of the city is all narrow cobblestone streets and alleyways lined with 15th and 16th century fachwerk houses. The church dates from the 800's. There is a former Benedictine monastery that has become a museum. This past weekend, the monastery hosted the first Easter Egg Market of the season. This European Easter Egg market is a showcase for a peculiar form of folk art and there were 50 or so artisans from various places around Germany and from other countries. Jeff had seen enough eggs after about 15 minutes, but he gamely carried on. Janet looked at every single egg (hundreds, at least). Most were real egg shells, but some were made of stone, wood, ceramics, or other materials. Many were really beautiful. The one pictured at the top was one of Janet's prizes. Happy Valentines Day!
|Saturdays are market days in Germany. People just love to shop for fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese and bread outdoors.|
|Loved this old sign -- Riesen means Giants in German|
|Every German village has a Rathaus or town hall. This one is 500 years old and still functioning.|
|A damp day near the city center|
|The Three Crowns hotel has been here since 1720|
|Crowds headed to the market for potatoes at 11am|
|These 500 year old homes are in great condition|
|Evidently the exposed timber construction is durable|
|A little entertainment. This lady was upset that "rude Americans" kept taking her picture (we were discreet, so it wasn't us, but if you wear that hat, you are asking to be photographed, aren't you?|
|The hallways of the former monastery were packed|
|St. Benedict, we presume|
|Greeter at the museum entrance|
|Janet's favorite acquisition|
|A goose egg with clay attached|
|Most of the museum exhibits were tucked away, but check out this pewter set.|
|The church towers visible between narrow gap in houses|
|Lot's of buildings built of red sandstone. Not sure how they survive the ages in this damp climate.|
|Church is lined with statues of martyrs. This is the apostle Peter holding the keys. Others of the original apostles were depicted holding the instruments of their martyrdom - a saw, a sword, a club, etc.|
We had lunch at a great Italian restaurant in a building dating back to 1744. The company was great.
|Janet's meal - three kinds of pasta|
|Pewter symbols for the WC so you don't get confused|
|Now if you are a kid, these might not be that straightforward|
|A traditional mailbox|
|A mailbox with a little pizzazz|