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Expat wanderer

Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Keeping Things in Perspective

This was sent to me today by a mentor from long ago. If you have any reason to feel sorry for yourself, you must see this. I dare you to watch it. It really puts things into perspective:

November 11, 2008 Posted by | Family Issues, Living Conditions, Spiritual | 6 Comments

The Feast of St. Martin, and St. Martin’s Goose

I’ve always loved St. Martin’s Day because the children of the villages in Germany gather with laterns and walk the cobbled streets singing a song “Laterne! Laterne! . . . .” There is usually someone dressed in a large red cloak who rides a horse, as St. Martin.


Something else happens on St. Martin’s Day – it is the beginning of goose season! There is only about one month, in Germany, when you can eat this speciality, St. Martin’s Goose. It is baked, served with a very fatty gravy (sounds horrible, but it is delicious), red cabbage and potatoes. You can get a quarter goose, a half goose or you can go as a group and have an entire goose feast. The smell of roasting goose is yummy, and the goose itself, when well prepared, is succulent and tasty.


Here is how to roast a St. Martin’s goose:

Preparation: 1 hour
Cooking: 1/2 a hour by kg

Ingredients (for 6 persons):
– 1 goose of 6kg approximately
– 500 g of chopped pork – 1 egg – 4 shallots
– 1 small stalk of thym
– 200 g of crumb of bread (or gingerbread!)
– salt, pepper, nutmeg, parsley
– 100g of walnuts and chopped hazelnuts

Mix the various ingredients of the practical stuffing. Stuff, and let it gild on all the surface in its fat of goose, in the owen. Put then the goose in the oven and cook in its own juice (half an hour by kg). It came from This Website on European Cultures.

The stuffed goose uses surrounded with purée of chestnuts or with whole chestnuts cooked in a little broth then in the juice of the goose and accompanied with a Riesling of Moselle region.

Here is the story of St. Martin by James Kiefer from the Lectionary.

(I’ve always wondered why St. Martin tore his cloak in half, and didn’t give the whole cloak to the begger, since he probably had on warm clothing underneath.)



Martin was born around 330 of pagan parents. His father was a soldier, who enlisted Martin in the army at the age of fifteen. One winter day he saw an ill-clad beggar at the gate of the city of Amiens. Martin had no money to give, but he cut his cloak in half and gave half to the beggar. (Paintings of the scene, such as that by El Greco, show Martin, even without the cloak, more warmly clad than the beggar, which rather misses the point.) In a dream that night, Martin saw Christ wearing the half-cloak. He had for some time considered becoming a Christian, and this ended his wavering. He was promptly baptized. At the end of his next military campaign, he asked to be released from the army, saying: “Hitherto I have faithfully served Caesar. Let me now serve Christ.” He was accused of cowardice, and offered to stand unarmed between the contending armies. He was imprisoned, but released when peace was signed.

He became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers, a chief opponent in the West of the Arians, who denied the full deity of Christ, and who had the favor of the emperor Constantius. Returning to his parents’ home in Illyricum (Yugoslavia, approximately), he opposed the Arians with such effectiveness that he was publicly scourged and exiled. He was subsequently driven from Milan, and eventually returned to Gaul. There he founded the first monastary in Gaul, which lasted until the French Revolution.

In 371 he was elected bishop of Tours. His was a mainly pagan diocese, but his instruction and personal manner of life prevailed. In one instance, the pagan priests agreed to fell their idol, a large fir tree, if Martin would stand directly in the path of its fall. He did so, and it missed him very narrowly. When an officer of the Imperial Guard arrived with a batch of prisoners who were to be tortured and executed the next day, Martin intervened and secured their release.

In the year 384, the heretic (Gnostic) Priscillian and six companions had been condemned to death by the emperor Maximus. The bishops who had found them guilty in the ecclesiastical court pressed for their execution. Martin contended that the secular power had no authority to punish heresy, and that the excommunication by the bishops was an adequate sentence. In this he was upheld by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. He refused to leave Treves until the emperor promised to reprieve them. No sooner was his back turned than the bishops persuaded the emperor to break his promise; Priscillian and his followers were executed. This was the first time that heresy was punished by death.

Martin was furious, and excommunicated the bishops responsible. But afterwards, he took them back into communion in exchange for a pardon from Maximus for certain men condemned to death, and for the emperor’s promise to end the persecution of the remaining Priscillianists. He never felt easy in his mind about this concession, and thereafter avoided assmblies of bishops where he might encounter some of those concerned in this affair. He died on or about 11 November 397 (my sources differ) and his shrine at Tours became a sanctuary for those seeking justice.

The Feast of Martin, a soldier who fought bravely and faithfully in the service of an earthly sovereign, and then elisted in the service of Christ, is also the day of the Armistice which marked the end of the First World War. On it we remember those who have risked or lost their lives in what they perceived as the pursuit of justice and peace.

November 11, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Food, Germany, Living Conditions | , | 2 Comments

Veteran’s Day Sunrise


This is for you, AdventureMan, your own Veteran’s Day sunrise.

To anyone who has ever served in a nation’s armed forces. We salute you. Today and every day, we honor the service you gave to your country.

If you talk to any Kuwaiti veteran of the Gulf War and Liberation in Kuwait, you will learn that even a very short time in service can be a transformational experience. Those memories are vivid, and last the rest of your life.

Have a great day, Kuwait.

November 11, 2008 Posted by | Character, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Relationships, Social Issues, sunrise series | | 3 Comments