House Concert in Klein Schneen

On July 13th we played in Klein Schneen which is a small village in the municipality Friedland. When we left Ninas apartment in Bielefeld we knew that we would only need two hours to Klein Schneen and that there will be some time before our hosts were expecting us. So we stopped in Kassel on the way and had a second breakfast in a little café and did a bit of computer work.

When we arrived at our hosts Annette and Christian, we saw that their front yard was a bee paradise. So many different, beautiful flowers! We went to the front door and found the most peculiar door bell. We had to turn a little key which would ring (similar to a bike bell) inside the house. It was the kind of bell you would expect with a 300 year old timbered house like this one. When no one answered the door, we had the idea to check the back yard of the house. Since this concert would take place outside (not open air because of the weather forecast but in a roofed area in the garden) we knew there had to be a back yard. We walked around the block to find a garage with a poster advertising our concert. Even our new logo was on it! This had to be the right place. When we entered the back yard the most beautiful oasis opened up in front of us with flowers, bees, butterflies, trees, and plenty of little cute sitting areas. When we discovered the performing area we suddenly heard Annette and Christian talking. They were in the garden preparing for the concert which was why they didn’t hear us ringing the door bell. They said we could park in front of their garage (in which they had their own VW bus just like ours!). So we went back to Elliot and reparked.

While we were setting up in the nicely decorated performing area, Annette and Christian prepared lunch. We ate the BEST lasagne Joe has ever had and I foolishly declared to finish the whole bowl of dessert by the end of the day (which I couldn’t). We also ate a salad made from freshly picked lettuce from their garden. It was just the perfect lunch but we had to hold ourselves back. You can’t sing if your stomach is too full.

Annette and Christian are wonderful free spirits. We could relate to them in so many ways. How they see life, how they manage their daily life basically as freelancers, and their love for nature and their garden. For me they live in a little paradise. Also because the whole area is in the countryside without being completely off the grid. One of their neighbors has two rams in his garden and another has sheep. It’s a very calm and down-to-earth area.

We couldn’t really be surprised (and still we were) about the loveliness of the audience that arrived that evening. Even though Annette and Christian only invited a few people (with an invitation letter and the permission to bring other people that might be interested) it seemed almost the whole village attended. Two elderly women couldn’t come because they were invited to a birthday party that same evening. But they prepared a special dessert and sent a donation for us. On the envelope it simply said “to the musicians”. It was the sweetest thing that happened to us this tour! We could tell how our concert was a big event in the village and everyone was so excited to come and be part of it. They were super appreciative and interested. It warmed our hearts.

Another observation we made that was very refreshing to see: There were around 10 kids in the audience from the age of not even 1 to 15 years old and none of them were playing with any electronic devices. They were focused on the concert the whole time (even though all our music is in English and they probably didn’t understand everything). We were impressed. It seems so healthy for kids to grow up in a smaller town where there’s space to run around with less distraction from technology and social pressure to look or act a certain way. Some of them even came after the concert to ask for autographs. The whole concert experience was just awesome!

After the concert we devoured the leftovers of Annette’s delicious lasagna and there was still some of the dessert left (that I had promised to finish). Eventually we had to take it with us in a plastic container, but at least I tried 😉

In the evening, Annette and Christian’s garden turned into a romantic fairyland with little lights and candles everywhere. We talked to some of the guests who were all very open minded and interested in our story. They told us that Annette and Christian are their role models when it comes to living a free and independent life. That was exactly the impression we had from Annette and Christian as well.

Unfortunately we didn’t have much time the next morning because we had to be in Bad Salzuflen by 1pm. Annette offered to show us around in the village but we had to leave too soon. But there was time for a nice breakfast with Annette and Christian in the very place we performed the night before. The family from next door stopped by and gave us a basket of freshly picked berries from their garden. What a wonderful and kind gift! We discovered that Christian likes to work with wood and saw some of his carvings all around the property. We also learned that Annette makes pottery. When we left she gave us two beautiful pots (also to eat the dessert we took with us 😀 )! What warm, wonderful, kind, sweet people they both are!

Thank you Annette and Christian! We had an amazing time with you and look forward to seeing you again soon! All the best for you!

– L

Our New VW Multivan

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Last week we bought a Volkswagen T4 Multivan and named it “Elliot.” The name was cleverly chosen by Linda’s Mom using our initials and their German pronunciation; “L” (pronounced “Ell”) and “J” (pronounced “Yuht”). Put them together and voila, “Elliot!”

Like our previous car in Chicago (VW Rabbit/Golf), we wanted a van with stick-shift (manual transmission) as it’s more fun to drive, plus we’re able to influence our fuel usage/mileage more so. And speaking of fuel, we were fortunate to find a van with auto gas (LPG) which is better for the environment and saves us money (since we’re going to be driving so much!). Also, the van’s spacious interior is perfect to work/sleep in and accommodate our gear.

After a couple days of rigorous cleaning, the van looks great! We’re excited to get him tuned up and out on the road!

Here’s a short VIDEO clip introducing our new adventure bus:

– J

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