Editor’s note: A good deal of light comes in through the cracks in the kitchen. Mr Thai’s post about the joys of shared meals in Kalsruhe last summer may evoke certain memories and a certain longing.
But while we renounce inviting family and friends to our houses and gardens and balconies at the moment – even over Easter – we can immerse ourselves in “kitchen therapy”. For German singles, it can work like this: Cook four times as much food as you normally eat, invite three people to your house door, hand over the bags with freshly cooked meals, with a smile topping. It feels good, tastes good, and is (almost) company.
We know by now that Lao people are notoriously and exceedingly hospitable. Our Lao partner Mr Thaithanawanh, who spent the summer term 2019 in Karlsruhe, seems to think Germans are good hosts, too.
Hospitality in Karlsruhe
I have been asking myself what are the parties that I joint during summer semester in Karlsruhe, Germany. There were many meals with friends, Germans’ family and international student exchanges.
Many friends of mine, they were really kind and friendly to asking me to join the meals during holidays and weekends, as I was invited by Team VII to have breakfast with them, they prepared the Germans’ food for me to try it, I remembered some food that I have eaten such sausages, butters, some breads and so on. We have contacted by the email and Whatsapp, the German phone number had to register it before using it, I seldom use the facebook with messenger to contact them due to they prefer the Whatsaap rather than the Messenger.
I also meet new friends in front of the Schlosspark Castle to play Petanque with them, they are really friendly, we get to know each other. Especially, I have met Philippe, he is Lao, and he was born in Vientiane, Laos but he grew up in France. Now he lives and works in Karlsruhe, he can speak Lao too.
And I also met two ladies Ms Beate Pinisch (“Anna” she is called in Lao) and Ms Pan Rasavong. Beate Pinisch, she is German, she really nice lady, and she worked in Laos more than 20 years, she can speak Lao very fluently, and Pan. she is Lao, but she has lived in Germany for 40 years. I am very much happy to meet them.
Here is fantastic place to live, and it is really happy to be here in Karlsruhe for six months to spend time with new people.
I really mean to say that Germans’ families have facilitated me to visit them at home for cooking and having lunch and dinner with them. They cooked big lunch for me, there are many kinds of food such as fish, chicken soup, and especial one I have never tried it before, now I try it, it really tastes delicious. Dr Isabel’s and Dr Martin’s families invited us to have lunch with them.
I and two friends cooked Lao food for them, they also liked it, they will visit Laos again and want to try Lao food again. Napha and Viengvilaiphone, they are from Laos, they are my colleagues, and we prepared Lao food for German Lao friendship feast in May 2019.
The International Officer has organized many parties for us as the international student exchanges, I joint it many times,
I was proud of having the Lao – German friendship feast, it really remarked that we are three Lao, we cooked Lao food and served for the guests to try it. They have said that they liked Lao food, and it was facilitated the location by Martin’s house, we really thank to him. During this time, all the guests come to the party with finger food, they brought the food for the grill, we all enjoyed having dinner and drinking together. This will memorize us forever.
Finally, I very much thank to host university (Karlsruhe University of Education, Germany) and home university (Savannakhet University, Laos) to have you both in supporting the Mobility Program to send the student and staff exchange for studying and training and teaching abroad with partner universities. I also want to thank all of you, the leaders of the universities and the responsible persons of the Mobility Program. Especially, thanks to Prof Dr. Isabel Martin, Associated Prof Dr. Sitha Khemmarath and Dr. Phetsamone Khattiyavong who worked hard and built this Mobility Program, and Erasmus Plus donor always support in quality service.
Text by T. Keokaisone
Photos by T. Keokaisone, N. Khotphouthone, C. Y. Lin & I. Martin