Voyage to Würselen part one

Some mutterings I jotted down before leaving—can one jot on a computer?

Getting ready to go to Würselen for an exchange between twinned towns, I read a few lines about it on the Internet and learned that it is located in North Rhine-Westphalia.  I remember the word or region Westphalia from a book we studied in French literature.  Here is how it begins:


Il y avait en Westphalie, dans le château de M. le baron de Thunder-ten-tronckh, un jeune garçon à qui la nature avait donné les mœurs les plus douces. Sa physionomie annonçait son âme. Il avait le jugement assez droit, avec l’esprit le plus simple ; c’est, je crois, pour cette raison qu’on le nommait Candide.

Also running around in my mind is the phrase « jambon de Westphalie ».  A google and I find:
Le jambon de Westphalie
Der Westfälische Himmel veut dire le « ciel Westphalien » en français et se réfère à un produit local commercialisé sous le nom français de jambon de Westphalie. En Westphalie, on dit que le ciel « est rempli de jambons ». Or, on accrochait autrefois dans les maisons, les gros morceaux de jambons dans la hotte de la cheminée, qui occupait une place importante et centrale, pour les faire fumer. C’est donc cette cheminée, qui représente « le ciel rempli de jambons » et qui donne à toutes les vieilles maisons de Westphalie cette odeur si particulière du jambon fumé… En France, le jambon de Westphalie était assimilé autrefois au jambon de Mayence.

Here is my translation of the above paragraph :  Der Westfälische Himmel means the Westphalian heaven (or sky?) and refers to a product commercialized under the name Westphalian ham.  In Westphalia it is said that the sky is full of hams for in times past, one hung large pieces of ham in the chimney, which had a central place in the home, in order to smoke them.  This chimney represents the sky full of hams and gives a particular odour to the old houses in Westphalia.  In France, Westphalian ham used to be assimilated with Mayence ham.

Not having ever studied German, I felt a little bit embarrassed to participate in an exchange in Germany.  I reviewed how to say please and thank you and the phrase “I don’t speak any German.”  I know lyrics in German such as “wasser machet stumm” which means water makes one mute (Haydn – Die Beredsamkeit).  That I might be able to place in a conversation but “Christ lag in Todesbanden”, I don’t think so. (Christ lay in death’s bonds, Bach – Kantate NR. 4)

The purpose of this visit was to do with the fact that the town where our chorale is based is twinned with Würselen.  They match up associations from each town and people are generally lodged with a family.  We were paired with a choir of similar size, an ecumenical choir.  We prepared two songs that we could sing together.  We also prepared a song in German, Brahms’ Lullaby.

I set my intention with this verse:

“Strangers, I love you ever before meeting you.” The Revelation of Arès 25/4a

About djdfr

Daily life experiences by a Franco-American woman living in the Breton countryside form the basics of this blog. Gardening, watercolour, choral music, food, are some of my interests. I seek to balance the physical, mental and spiritual. I am a free believer praying from the Bible, the Qur’an and The Revelation of Arès. In 1974, with Jesus as the messenger, and in 1977, manifesting as a stick of light, Our Creator spoke directly to a man in Arès, France, named Michel Potay. The message is in the book “The Revelation of Arès”. It is a call for us to change, to practice love, peacemaking, forgiveness, to free ourselves from all prejudice, to develop our spiritual intelligence, the intelligence of the heart.

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