A Visit from Oma and Aunt Ellen

My grandma and Aunt Ellen visited us in Germany! My great-grandmother immigrated to the US from Germany, leaving behind nine siblings, so my grandma has first cousins and many other relatives living here. She has visited Germany several times and thought she had already come for the last time, but once we moved here, she decided to come for one more visit. I’m so glad she made the trip and that Aunt Ellen came with her! It was Ellen’s first trip to Germany.

Friday & Saturday
Charlie picked them up from the airport on Friday, and Connor was Mr. Shy for a few minutes once they arrived. He soon warmed up and was ready to show them all of his toys! We relaxed for a while, then took them to a nearby mall to show them what the German stores are like.
Our landlord came to visit on Saturday morning while our heat was getting fixed, and she was thrilled to meet Grandma and Ellen and speak to my grandma in German! Mid-morning, we hopped in the car and drove about 40 minutes to Burg Lichtenberg. Charlie had performed a woodwind quintet concert in this castle a few weeks earlier, so I was glad to finally see it since I couldn’t go to the concert. We started with a fantastic lunch at the castle’s restaurant, then walked through the musical instrument museum. Finally, we walked through the castle ruins. I naively assumed we would be touring the inside of the castle, but I quickly realized there WASN’T an inside! It was just ruins, which we were able to explore at our own pace. Connor certainly enjoyed running outside and climbing rocks much more than he would have enjoyed an indoor tour! On the way home from the castle, we stopped at the BX so that Grandma and Aunt Ellen could see it.

Beautiful fall leaves at the castle

We drove about 3 hours to Hirrlingen, the village where my grandma’s mother grew up. Charlie and I have visited there twice already, but it was SO special to be there with Grandma and Aunt Ellen! We had a wonderful day with our German relatives: a nice lunch, visiting the town’s church to see the “seed carpet” that is displayed annually, visiting the Atomkeller Museum in Haigerloch, then coffee at a cafe at the Schloss Haigerloch. The day ended with a long dinner at a restaurant with around 30 German relatives who came to see us! We stayed overnight at Andrea’s (the daughter of one of my grandma’s first cousins), where Connor discovered the endless joy of a simple ping-pong ball on a hard floor.

This is the Erntedankbild at the church in Hirrlingen. It’s made entirely of seeds and grains, and it’s a way to give thanks for the harvest.

Connor walking at the Schloss with Annette (the daughter of one of my grandma’s first cousins)

After coffee at Andrea’s, we drove to Elisabeth and Matthias’ house (Grandma’s first cousins) for a leisurely breakfast. We took a short trip to the cemetery in the village and saw the graves of many relatives. Elisabeth had lunch ready for us after that, but Charlie, Connor, and I really needed to hit the road home. Elisabeth graciously packed up the food for us and we enjoyed it as a delicious dinner at home. Grandma and Aunt Ellen stayed in Hirrlingen for the following week and enjoyed lots of adventures with their German family! Annette brought them back to our house the following week.

The next Monday
Annette and her husband Gerd brought Grandma and Aunt Ellen to our house late on Monday night. After three trips to Hirrlingen throughout the last year, it was great to finally have Annette and Gerd in our home!

Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday
Charlie had the car for work, so Grandma, Aunt Ellen, Connor, and I stayed at home during the day. On Tuesday we went for a walk around our town, and once Charlie got home we drove back to where he works. He and I had to attend a meeting, but it was a good excuse to show Grandma and Aunt Ellen where he works. I planned for us to have dinner at the Flammkuchenhütte on the way home, but it turns out that it’s closed on Tuesdays. Oops. Charlie dropped off Connor and me at home so I could let him eat and get him to bed, and meanwhile they went to an Italian restaurant in our town and brought home calzones for everyone. Wednesday was another relaxing day at home as we enjoyed our last day together.

I loved seeing Connor bond with his Oma and Great Aunt. Connor only says two words besides “mama” and “dada,” and one of them is “Ohhhh-mahhhh!” We tried to teach him to say it before she arrived, but he mastered it during her visit :). He says “Ne-Ne” for Aunt Ellen. They have been gone several days already, but Connor still randomly says “Ohhhh-mahhhh,” which of course is always followed by “Ne-Ne!”

It was a tearful goodbye as they left the house. It was so sad to know that we won’t see each other until we move back to the states in the summer of 2015. We had such a wonderful visit together, and I will never forget the special memories that we created!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marilyn Mraz
    Oct 29, 2013 @ 22:27:42

    I am so glad Grandma and Aunt Ellen were able to spend a few days with you…we miss you, Connor and Charlie so much. Even though I know we’ll be visiting a couple times before you come home it still seems like forever away.


  2. Ellen C. Rettig
    Oct 29, 2013 @ 23:05:46

    Ne-Ne misses you! I still wake up wondering where I am and looking for Ohma!!! We had such a great time!


  3. Elfriedè Repp
    Nov 25, 2013 @ 00:43:54

    Always enjoy reading your blogs, Ashley. I am going to miss everyone in Atlanta this Thanksgiving, since I decided to stay home and entertain my family.
    Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving with your friends. Give Connor a hug from me.
    I stay with my two youngest grands, Harrison 11yrs. And his sister, Taylor 7 yrs.
    Kevin and his wife, Susan went to Cleve. To see Pink….stayed overnight and froze at the Cleve Browns Football game.
    Today is still a hard day for me, as it holds fond memories Myron and I had together it is the 9 Yr. Anniversary of his passing. Being around the children keeps me very busy, while I took them to their Sunday School Classes and I attended Mass. Then I took them to the Garden Center to see their Holly Pine Lanes, in which your Grandma’s Garden Club displayed their tree that Louise helped to make decorations. Well this comment surely has grown!!! Till next Time, Love, Aunt Elfriede


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