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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Nelson

Ulrike Schubert und mehr Gummibärchen (Gummibärchen omitted but implied)

Wir haben heute eine Frau namens Ulrike Schubert kennengelernt. Sie ist eine Politikerin und arbeitet für die Leute. Sie ist sehr nett und hat uns in ihr Haus eingeladen. Wir haben uns mit ihr getroffen, weil sie über den Umweltschutz Freiburgs bescheid weiß. Es war sehr früh und ich war müde, aber es war sehr toll. Sie sprach mit uns für zwei Stunden und ich glaube es hat mir gefallen.

Später haben wir sie noch einmal an der S-Bahn getroffen und wir haben noch einmal mit ihr gesprochen. Es war sehr interessant und informativ.

She brought up a great discussion today about the political structure of Germany and the differences we have back in the States and in Minnesota. She was really intrigued to find out what they were and how she could use that information to pursue her goals as a council member.  She said to us that there really was an image issue with Freiburg and how they sell the city. It’s advertised as the Greenest City in Germany and it has all these wonderful benefits that go on for the environment throughout the city. What she was telling us was, that in truth, the district called Vauban is the one with nearly 100% self sustaining, not the entirety of Freiburg. She informed us that a new section of urban growth was happening on the other side of town, but the project won’t end up being any more sustainable than any other part. They should be moving forward, not plateauing. 


It was interesting to watch her listen about our politics as well. Granted, I’m not as in tune with most of the politics (because everyone is too aggressive about their opinions. Another story…), but I liked hearing and seeing her reactions to the current flow of things. She was genuinely interested and wanted us to keep talking.

We found it difficult at times to share things, which I thought was fascinating considering the language barrier we had. She spoke pretty good English, but some of the concepts she wanted to share were pretty complex, even in her native tongue. When she tried to translate it, of course it would be hard. It was about environmental strategies, political agendas, and the way to govern a community. I still can’t talk about most of that stuff in English without sounding Doff. I’m just glad she knows the English she does; she really was working hard.

Even though I knew she was nervous speaking English, I tried to encourage her as best I could. I wanted to ask questions in German to have her know that if she tried answering in German, we would understand some things together, some words and concepts would come across. I think after she poured us coffee and gave us crackers and biscotti was when she started to open up and get comfortable with us, over her own dining room table, vulnerable.

I don’t think we scared her away too hard. She gave us her business card and explicitly told us to contact her if we need help with this presentation. Her hospitality was welcomed with humility.

Afterword we went to the See, sat by the bank with our feet in the water and read our book as the sun slowly set. It’s “spring” here. But really it’s Mid-Summer. 😍

To read more about our adventures click here to look at Sam’s post.

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