RTW – week 15 (empathy)

You can’t visit Germany without spending a day reflecting in their capital, Berlin. Germany certainly has a dark and troubled past, and everywhere you walk, you are reminded of it.

I really struggled with the concept of teaching them about these horrific acts, in particular – the holocaust, world war II and the Berlin Wall. To be honest, despite being half German, I was never really taught these events.

I took to YouTube and stumbled upon an excellent channel called Simple History. It’s so straight forward; nothing is sugar coated and even the kids were mesmerized.

Armed with some information, we took to Berlin to let the memorials teach us the rest.

We saw the Holocaust Memorial first, where thousands of concrete slabs are spread out in differing heights. The concept of the memorial is that you walk into the centre and the heights of the slabs will eventually muffle all sounds of the city.

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We were all overwhelmed with emotion, it is incredibly moving to say the least.

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From here we visited the Berlin Wall Memorial, the Window of Remembrance, Museum Island, and the East Side Gallery before ending our afternoon at Mauer Park.

Here every Sunday is a giant flea market as well as food vendors and open karaoke. It was fun to mingle with thousands of people from all ends of the earth and from every background.

Can I just take a moment to gush about my kids?

On our way to Berlin in the morning, a sweet little girl came over to us and asked if she could be our friend. I of course jumped at the opportunity to get my kids chatting up a local and asked her what she was up to. She told us that she was going to the Zoo. I couldn’t help but laugh and what the probable response would be from my kids “oh, we are just going to a bunch of memorials today”

Sounds like every kids dream right?

Truth is, they never once wished for anything else. They walked through each memorial, quiet, in deep reflection and were even brought to tears at several points. They were so respectful of the information that was being told to them, listening carefully and processing each fact.

I think it is safe to say that by the end of the day we were all feeling quite drained and emotional. It was about 10pm when we hopped on our last subway home, and there in the hall was a young woman who was laying on the ground covering her face and in tears.

Lily was so distressed with this sight. We searched our pockets for any change that we had and Lily walked over by herself to deliver the gift. The woman took her hand, wept and thanked her in German before Lily departed.

We didn’t speak for several minutes on the train until at last she looked at me with tear stained eyes and said;

“When I get older, all I want is to make money so that I can give it all away and so that no one has to live without a home.”

Thanks for tuning in this week guys, we love you dearly – xo

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