As a conclusion to spending the weekend with my friend Lara in Germany, we went to her parents house in her hometown for their weekly Sunday lunch. Having lunch with the Herzeigers today made me realize two things: how different, and yet exactly the same families are in Europe as in the United States. Lara’s family is extremely welcoming, and though only her mother spoke English, I was surprised at how much is conveyed about a person without understanding what they say, in this case her stepfather and grandfather who only spoke German. It was when they began to prepare lunch that I realized how similar they are to my own family and many in the US. And so I ran to Lara’s car to grab my camera and start documenting the moment.
As Lara and her mom prepared things like potatoes, vegetables, and strawberry cake her stepfather grilled the meat 10 feet away on the back porch while her grandfather sat and enjoyed the company. Lara and her mom were eager to include me in the preparation, and I gladly joined. I felt so at home and thought, “how funny. It is such a stereotype in the U.S. for men to grill and women to prepare the side-like stuff inside, and here I am, in Germany, and it hasn’t changed much”. Everyone helped out in a way, even the grandfather proudly brought over his own strawberry cake he had made and roses from his own garden for Lara’s mom, Barbs. Chivalry obviously exists, but here as an actual act rather than an idea. When we sat down to lunch, they joked and made fun of each other like my own family. Obviously humor is a universal thing.