Last weekend, Lisa visited me. Lisa and I used to work at the Chamber of Commerce together and since she studies a distance degree in Linköping, she frequently stops at my place in transit. She had never been to Hamburg and sadly, I still live in a state where people coming to Hamburg have mostly seen Heimwerker markets and my living room after their visit. But luckily, Lisa was fine with that, and after all, she did see a bit of the city anyway. It was the night of our big concert which even one of my new colleagues attended (I take that as a good sign, thinking of how my former German colleagues thought it was quite funny of me to sing in a choir). We were joined by the children’s choir which currently consists of two girls. It might just be the smallest choir you’ve ever seen. But nevertheless they were adorable, or in the words of my colleague “One was a future Germany’s next top model and the other charmed everyone in sight”. I can admit I had goose bumps when those two girls’ voices sang how God made the hand of a child and smiled. (Yet again a translation and paraphrase that does not capture the beauty of the original text…)
After the concert which lasted quite long I took Lisa to the Landungsbrücken, the hoods where I spent 80% of my time awake. (It is both where my work and the Swedish Church is located.) We looked out over the harbor, I explained as much as I could (which is basically, “That’s a ship”. “That’s a large ship”. “That’s the Lion King venue.”) and after a view minutes it struck us: this looks like Gothenburg! Hamburg is Germany’s Gothenburg! Now everything falls into place, especially the constant rain. Joraine, my Gothenburg-based friend, is coming to visit soon. I am looking forward to hearing if she confirms my revolutionary insight.
P.S.: Pretty much every day, I startle at work because a loud honking comes out of nowhere. That’s the boats right outside our building. Today, the honking would not stop and all heads turned. “Now look at that, she’s here!” my colleagues exclaimed and I – as usual the new in town new on the job new in everything one – looked puzzled. “The Queen Mary”, they explained. Queen Mary 2 is a big cruise ship that regularly visits Hamburg. Every time she comes in (blocking our windows entirely which should give you an idea of her size), the Hamburgers get really excited, apparently they go down to the harbor when they know she is coming to greet her and you can even buy postcards with her. I assume she only comes in summer, so maybe the excitement in reality is simply an excitement for summer. (More on German summer in another blog post. I am not a German summer person, I fear.)