This weekend we had just our first Family Gathering since 2005. Back in the day it was organized, just like all the previous Family Gatherings, by my Uncle who passed away a few years after that last meeting. For twelve years we did not meet in such a way again until my cousin (daughter of my uncle) decided to change this and started contacting us last autumn.
First of all it started with a simple family group chat on WhatsApp and from then on the planning progressed quickly (Even my 75 year old father is in that group). The destination for the gathering was found in short time as it was the same place the family had met before. In my case I was around ten years of age when I was there for the first and only time. Back then the group was much smaller as none of the many cousins had children. Even at our last gathering in 2005 there were still many children not yet born. For this meeting we had ten kids making it a total of 21 family members at this gathering. This is the “close” family we have here in Germany. I doubt we would ever manage to plan a Gathering for the entire family as it could easily reach up to 150 people or more.
The little village called Tönning was our meeting place right by the North Sea. It is a fairly small village with just 5000 inhabitants. Due to its location it was an important sea port till the end of the 19th century. Then the Kiel Canal was built which made the route via the Eider river obsolete. These days the historical port is a tourist destination with lovely old houses which have been transformed into restaurants and hotels. Just few minutes from our hotel is the Multimar Wattforum which is an information center for the Wadden Sea National Park. This place is just great for kids as they can learn everything about the Wadden Sea from the tides over the important work of the many different worms to the big sharks and wales living in the North Sea. I’d say we all enjoyed the time spent there and it was just so fascinating to see what animals are all living there.
Later that day we all had a lovely dinner together which lasted until the late evening hours. All in all it was a wonderful time and so great to see all of my cousins again. Especially Nathan had a great time with so many other kids around playing with him. By the end he was so exhausted that he started to fall asleep while sitting at the dinner table. Even my late Uncle was present at the dinner in form of a picture one of his daughters had brought with her portraying him with a big small and raising a pint. The good thing about our close family is that we all live in the same State and that from my hometown (which is right in the middle of the State) it is to each one of my cousins it just take a bit over one hour by car. Now I just hope that we will be able to organize such gathering again in the near future and not to wait another twelve years. We have high hopes to have such meeting again perhaps next year!
Do you have family gatherings?
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I never really did any family research before nor did I try to stay really in touch with my cousins. This changed in the past couple of years as we were planning ourselves for a little family and now have our son. I figured since we were about to move to Germany last year it would be nice to get in touch with some of my relatives again. Not only to meet them again but also nice for Nathan to get to know his extended family. Here in Germany I have several cousins with their own little families. Okay, little is the wrong word as one of my cousins has herself now four children, one girl and three boys. Her second oldest child had her 11th birthday and we were invited to spend the day there.
We had been visiting her before so I was already prepared that four children mean also a lot of action going on non-stop. Once we arrived the little girl got her present, and the only guest she had over was yet another cousin (daughter of another cousin I haven’t seen in over ten years). Well, it wasn’t so much a children’s birthday party but more like an adult birthday as the children were either outside playing or in their rooms. We adults were drinking coffee and had some delicious cake in the beginning and later on BBQ. You could really see that my cousin was happy that her daughter was old enough that the parents didn’t have to come up with games and entertain the daughter and her friends as she was basically discovering her main birthday gift: her first mobile phone! Well, even though this meant there was less work on the birthday itself those other children of her surely still had too much energy and were basically everywhere.
Her youngest child is four and tried is best to copy his older brothers when it comes to terms of climbing trees resulting that he fell down. This fall actually created a huge bump on his head that made him appear like a unicorn. After five minutes of crying the world was fine for him again and he continued climbing the very same tree. I can only say that in case I fall down like that and hit my head I would be in hospital for a few weeks! Kids are just crazy when it comes to recover from such things. Nathan enjoyed his time as well by hunting with his 2nd cousins some bunnies, playing with their toys and being thrown around by the oldest boy who just loves little kids.
Even though we were there only for around 4 hours it was still a very exhausting day. Not only because of all the over eating but also due to all the action going on by the kids the entire time. We made also a deal with the little girl that she will be taking care of our bunnies during our holidays in China. Sure, we need to drive those bunnies extra to my cousin’s house but it will give us another opportunity to meet. Perhaps next time there will be other cousins of me as well, who knows. We also talked a bit about a family gathering as the last one was over ten years ago but in the end it will need some person who takes up the “leadership” and plans the whole event. It would be great to meet as a family again but it will probably depends when someone is able to start planning.
How often do you visit your relatives?
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