After a particularly long week escorting an American business delegation all along the coast of Meck-Pomm, I am happy to have finally some time alone to relax and recharge. In truth, the week was like a vacation in many respects with a lot of good food and interesting tours, but it also had it profound moments of stress, such as when I was asked to serve as translator between an American mayor and his German counterpart. The trip was also noteworthy in that it allowed my mug to be transmitted several times via print and broadcast news, making me absolutely certain that I’ve now been featured more often in European media than anywhere else (no matter how superficially). As I noted before, the week culminated with a several-hour event with Chancellor Merkel. I was exposed to the openness of German politicians before when I met with my Bundestag representative in Rostock, but I was still nonetheless astounded by the easy access to the Chancellor during the event. In the last part of the evening, which was a mix and mingle phase where everyone walked around sipping drinks and eating finger foods, the Chancellor was just as easily approachable as anyone else, and I was thus able to talk to her individually for a few seconds with no trouble whatsoever (Had my associate not taken off to parts unknown I would have gotten a picture as well, but such is life. I was at least able to snap quickly the photo below earlier in the evening.).
Ms. Merkel also gave a speech and allowed 30 minutes or so of questions during the event, and I must say that my cynicism vis-à-vis politicians was challenged by her frank directness. I took some notes during the speech with the thought I would write a post about it—we’ll see, but next up will be a post I started doing the legwork on before I left last week. I think my readers in Germany especially will get a kick out of it.