Armed with a trio of suitcases, I made a quick visit to my grandmother in North Carolina then headed out of the country. I’d found a flight with a 24-hour layover in Germany, which was the perfect opportunity to see Juliane (who I’d met in India) and the European Baha’i Temple!
I took an impossibly quiet train to the center of Frankfurt, then another to the small town of Hofheim where the Baha’i Temple is. I didn’t expect the temple to be so far outside of the city- we passed fields with horses, and tiny houses with corrugated tin roofs and overflowing with sprawling gardens that are used by city-dwellers as summer cottages. On the local bus, I had to repeatedly stifle a grin as little kids on their way home from school chattered in German (somehow it always makes me laugh to hear German coming from a small person). After walking through the small streets, I asked someone directions and ended up in a field, where a small path eventually led to the Temple. (Turns out there is an actual entrance too haha)
In old pictures this temple had always looked grey, but as you can see it’s actually pure white with quite an interesting design. Each of the diamonds is a glass window, so the inside is speckled with light.
On this late Monday afternoon there were only two of us praying inside there: an unexpected gift to be alone in such a magnificent place. Later, I met Baha’is from Germany, Moscow, China and Ethiopia, in the space of a few minutes!
Then it was back to the center of Frankfurt to meet Juliane. Amazing to see someone you meet halfway across the world in rural India again 🙂 This was my first time out of the US since India, and it was such a different experience to “blend in” ethnically rather than sticking out—three separate people came up to me and started talking to me in German 🙂 True to form, Juliane and I decided to seek out every Indian shop and market Frankfurt had to offer; and I think we hit the vast majority of them! Amidst the city’s traditional buildings and bicycle-packed streets where old meets new…
…we found shops selling laddhus and other delicious Indian sweets. Between the familiar foods, smells and brands, the memories from this fall came rushing back, and we thought of all our friends in Gadchiroli! 🙂
I was delighted to find my namesake-street:
And we dined in classic European fashion, i.e. an outdoor café where people chat easily and time stands still.
The next morning I caught my flight to Ethiopia. So long till next time, Germany!