History Professor Monica Tetzlaff from Germany….

As the child of immigrants from Germany and Hungary, I am fortunate to be bilingual — a heritage German speaker. This May and June I have embarked on a trip to Germany, Austria and Hungary, with my spouse, Brad Laird, and my 5-year-old daughter, Hannah Laird. It has been truly heart-warming seeing relatives that my parents loved and remembering my visits to Germany and Hungary with my parents in 1979 and grandparents in 1973. Tante Panni and Onkel Joszi have long been connected to me. They are my mother’s uncle and aunt, though they are only a few years older than she would have been. They used to live in Budapest, but now have retired in southern Germany where other relatives live as well. We visited them every day of our stay (May 31-June 5, 2014) for either coffee in the afternoon or dinner or both. Hannah fell in love with them and their daughter and niece and we spent a sweet five days in Bietigheim-Bissingen, a small town near Stuttgart. There is an industrial area just down the street from where they live, but it is quiet and the birds chirp all the time. Nearby is the town of Ludwigsburg, which features a beautiful palace and baroque gardens. We also visited the “Maerchen Garten,” a fairy tale garden with 30 traditional German fairy tale settings, such as Rapunzel’s braid falling from a tower when one shouts, “Lass Dein Zopf Runter!” (Let down your braid!). Traveling in Germany with a 5 year old has meant visits to playgrounds rather than museums, but we have met many more Germans and their children personally as a result. Fortunately, Hannah is able to sit in outdoor café’s with us and eat ice cream, while we drink coffee. Most of all, she enjoys meeting the relatives, helping them set the table, etc. I’m glad to be able to pass on my cultural heritage to her and to share it with Brad. 

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