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Land unter!

“Land unter” is a German phrase. In the literal sense, it means that a place is flooded with water. More often, we use it to say: I am swamped with work and projects.

That is how I am feeling at the moment. I desperately need to finish a few of my open projects and get an idea which I might scrap or postpone to a much later day.

One project I will hopefully finish today!

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Learning to Write ... Again

There are quite a few things that I want to write in the next two to three years. I need to write a thesis and some papers, and I want to get more into blogging and maybe even try my hands at fiction. The hardest thing about writing seems to be to find a beginning. That is why I have challenged myself to write one (digital) postcard every day. This is the first.

I am curious to see how it will go!

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Why Is Your Food So Creepy?

Beginning in early November, many bakeries in Germany start to sell these breadmen. They are sweet and tasty, similar to a brioche, and whenever I have the chance, one ends up on my breakfast plate. But why shape your bread like a man?

The sweet breadmen are part of a popular Saint Martin’s Day tradition. On November 11, kindergarten children all over Germany meet in the evening. They carry paper lanterns and often a rider dressed in the uniform of a Roman soldier joins them. The children, their parents and teachers follow the rider in a procession around town, singing children’s songs about Saint Martin. At the end of the march, the rider meets a beggar and shares his coat with him. The beggar then hands around a breadman to everyone before they leave.

The procession is a re-enactment of the story of the conversion of Saint Martin. Portrayed by the rider is Martin of Tours, a Roman soldier of the 4th century. One cold day he passed a beggar at the city gate of Amiens. Moved by the misery of the man he cut his coat in half and gave one half to the beggar.

In the next night, Martin had a vision. He saw Jesus Christ wearing the half coat he had given to the beggar. Realization dawned on him: it was Christ himself in the guise of the beggar who had tested him as in the verses […] ‘When did we see you needing clothes and give them to you?’ […] ‘What I’m about to tell you is true. Anything you did for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25:38.40) Soon after, he went to Hilarius the bishop of Poitiers who baptized him.

But still. Where does that breadman come in? There is the rider – that was Saint Martin –, the beggar, the coat, but no bread at all. The breadman is hidden in the last two words of the previous paragraph: baptized him. Unlike today, where most Christians are baptized as children, baptism in the Roman empire was baptism, confirmation and first communion combined. Because of his meeting with the beggar, Martin took part in holy communion for the first time. There he received the eucharist – Christ, the God, the man, in the form of bread.

And so the man who took the form of bread becomes the bread in the shape of a man. The children who come to remember the great gift that he received, receive a gift themselves and get to eat a creepy raisin faced breadman in early November.

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Herr Ober, ein Spezi bitte!

Hello again! It has been a while, but I finally managed to re-launch this blog. My old blog engine just made it too complicated to tinker with the templates. So I made the switch and present to you my new and improved blog, now running Hugo.

Who am I though? My name is Petrus Appel (Peter for my English speaking friends), I am a social worker and also a student of philosophy and theology. I was born in Germany and – besides a short time that I have spent in Austria – have lived here all my life.

I have always been interested in many things. Some of them I will present in this blog. This is mostly going to be an exercise for me. A way to practice my writing, to learn how to work with static site engines, to modify and write templates, and to practice my English language skills. If you can find anything interesting and useful for your own life, I will be happy – just do not expect it, you might get disappointed.

The goal is to post one or two times a week. I wonder how well I will manage to keep that goal. Topics will be the things that I am interested in: film photography, philosophy, food, daily life in Germany, and whatever else I might come up with.

You have possibly noticed that two things are missing that most blogs have: an annoying cookie banner and a way to leave a commentary on a post.

There is no cookie banner because clicking away cookie banners annoys me, and I do not like cookies. For that reason, this website is not saving any cookies on your computer. If you think it does, please contact me about it.

And there is no commentary function because I do not want to deal with spam protection or spammers. It is just a private blog, and I have neither time nor resources to deal with the scum of the internet. That does not mean that I do not want to communicate with you. If you desire to tell me something about a blog post, you can find my email address on the About page, and if I find your comment worthwhile, I will update the post.

The Cameraman logo was drawn in watercolours by Jenn Rimbey. She does portraits, minimalist portraits, and photo restoration. Check out her fantastic work!