I´m always proud of Joern. Of course, he´s the best at everything he does (except occasionally, putting an outfit together) But sometimes, it´s nice when other people confirm your already held knowledge.
Yesterday afternoon, Joern, Joern´s colleague Frank, and I headed out on our trip across the county to celebrate Joern´s boss´ birthday. We left at 1:00 and didn´t get in until 6- traffic, traffic, and more traffic. When we got there, I had the opportunity to meet with Joern´s colleagues (most of whom I have imagined while listening to speaker-phone conversations with Joern.) Then we headed off to the hall where the party was taking place.
I must digress for a moment to discuss our location yesterday evening- Aue, which is near Chemnitz and very near the Czech border. We were in the heart of former East Germany. And while we have been to many places in the former GDR like Berlin, Chemnitz, and Leipzig, I only realized yesterday, we have seen cities, where tons of money has been pumped in from former West Germany to stimulate economies. Aue is much more a large town, like Fairfield, and is vastly different from the aforementioned cities. Although it has become a functioning member of Germany, the buildings still show the signs of a former time. Many houses were grey, small, and pushed together. There was a lot of graffiti, some even apartment building stairwells, and on broken down public buildings. There were some apartment buildings right out of movies we´ve seen that take place during the Cold War. I was strangely affected by our trip, mostly because I kept imagining life before the fall of the Berlin Wall. These people endured such an unimaginable life, and it surprises me how resilient many have proven to be. Joern´s boss (who turned 50) not only grew up in a different time, but mostly a different planet. I have found myself turning back to these thoughts in my mind for most of the day, and I am amazed that this only ended less than 20 years ago.
Okay, the party was fun. But what made me incredibly proud was the esteem in which Joern´s boss holds Joern. The boss was obviously touched that all of his employees came from all over Germany to celebrate this important birthday. But the look he had for Joern was priceless. He also came over to talk to us, and kept mentioning how Joern is the mover in the company, and sets things in motion for others. Hearing this simply justified what I already know, but sometimes it´s great to hear it from others! So, I dedicate this post to the people of Eastern Germany who have built themselves up from nothing; to Joern´s boss, Mr. Marx, who has now lived over half of a century; and to Joern, without whom my life wouldn´t be so wonderful, and without whom salt would not be such a pouplar item in many stores :)