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June, 2004 - Nr. 6


The Editor
Vorsicht Satire!
Vienna Connection
Rachel Seilern
Zurich Connection
Dear Mom
KW & Beyond
Concert Season's End
Old Customs in New World
Heidelberg Village
Royalty in Burlington
Dick reports...
President's Pep Talk
Nachfolger von Rau
German Cuisine
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehŲrt?
Health Newsletter
Drugging of Children
Continental Divide
Via Salzburg
Event at The Fringe
Pearls in Color
No to Film Scene
German Beauty in Troy
A Truly Canadian Experience
Children's Writer
Returned to Bremen
Bach Festival 100th
Slow Meltdown
New Immigration Law
US Author in Berlin
German Olympians
Training for Olympics
Bremen Captures Trophy

The Value of Togetherness


Rachel A.I. SeilernWhen my father came back from a recent trip to Montana with my brother, he gave me a book that he bought at the mall in Great Falls called "My Hutterite Life". It was written by a Hutterite (similar to Mennonite or Amish) girl, Lisa-Marie Stahl. From the age of 15 till she was 20, she wrote columns in the local paper describing her colonyís lifestyle for those "out in the world" to read and better understand her peopleís unusual ways. (Her past time was unheard of for pacifist Hutterites and especially for a girl!) The book is a collection of all her stories.

While reading her anecdotes about life in the colony, I was inspired to share a little of my home and family (the forget-me-nots and their families) with those of you who arenít so familiar with us! My big family of 23 people used to live two minutes apart in four different farmhouses in between Richmond Hill and Markham. Iíve been very close with all the members of the bunch ever since Iíve known myself! By the time our houseís front hall needed exactly 11 buckets to catch the water each time it rained, coincidentally (if you believe in coincidence!) the other homes were being expropriated by the township to be developed. We began searching for one big house so we could all move in together---something we dreamed about since I can remember.

On July 4th, 2001 a moving truck brought the first load of our household things to our big new home in beautiful King City. The amount of work that followed was unforgettable! But 23 sets of hands on cooperation mode made it possible for us to have a housewarming party already in September!

Today, nearly 3 years later, people ask us how itís possible that we havenít strangled one another yet! Of course human nature ensures that we should have our difficulties getting along but we work those things out. If creating a "dish duty" schedule, for example, canít solve the problem, then we discuss it together at our Sunday morning meetings. Togetherness on such a level as ours is unthinkable to many but the benefits are extensive.

Being together makes it possible for us to practise our Austrian songs or our Bluegrass country tunes or comedy skits or our classical quartet pieces more conveniently. That was one of our main reasons for moving in togetheróto keep all our 97 instruments under one roof, and to be able to practise our music together more easily in between our weekend performances.

I asked some family members "What do you like about living together" and the most common response was: Our home is always filled with life! Megan, 20, says, "I like that there is always someone around. Thereís never a dull moment here". She also loves the balcony----all the girls love the balcony! (Here we do a little tanning and sip on crazy homemade fruit shakes!)

Most importantly, living together helps us improve ourselves as people. Everyday we have the opportunity to learn how to deal with disagreements or how not take a careless comment personally or how to give more of ourselves to help each other. We learn about ourselves and about life and whatís really important! These values of putting lots of effort into strengthening relationships are not so popular in this Age of Receiving.

It is springtime at our King City home. There is lots of spring cleaning, grass mowing, weeding and gardening to be done. When we work together, put in some effort, some care and perseverance, the harvest is rich and plentiful!

Rachel A. I. Seilern


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