Last month I learned to make spaetzle, the beloved German egg noodle dish that is from the Baden-Wurttemberg region of southwest Germany and legendary with tourists. Truth be told, six eggs into the process — only 4 are required — I learned that, in the future, I will label my glass canisters. While confectionery sugar looks like flour, it just frustrates the process of making dough. Or maybe it’s batter.
So from the start, my instructor, Annemarie, and I had a great laugh and moved on — but only after she gleefully posted our “mess” on Facebook. We did follow up at 9:30 p.m. with a picture of the final plate with the cheese, Annemarie’s smiling face and two thumbs up. It happened to be her first time making the dish as well. But it turned out to be a fortuitous success story despite a slight variation in language interpretation and using a small colander instead of the special spaetzle maker, which looks like a ricer (I know now).
The spirit of determination and teamwork that evening was an indication of the days ahead that have been full of fun conversations, travel and sharing cultures while living under the same roof for 10 weeks. Annemarie is a young professional who is in the United States as an apprentice working as an event planner with Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter. The Joachim Herz Foundation is the sponsor for the 25 interns placed throughout Georgia, and Central Georgia Technical College is the host for Annemarie in Houston County.
“With Georgia’s increasing investment in Germany and the expansion of German businesses in our area, we are delighted to host German students and introduce them to our educational system,” said Rick Hutto, executive director for global initiatives at Central Georgia Tech. “Annemarie’s experience at the Georgia National Fairgrounds is a wonderful opportunity for us both
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Fairgrounds Director Steve Shimp wholeheartedly agreed when he said, “The experience with Annemarie has been mutually beneficial, and I hope that she has learned as much from us as we have from her.”
“It has been refreshing and a boost to our staff to have someone so ambitious and bright jump into the work day,” he said.
In addition to working at the fairgrounds, Annemarie arrived with a bucket list of things to do. Checked off so far are visiting the Cherry Blossom and Dogwood festivals; Powersville Opry; Perry police’s firing range; Ebenezer Church in Atlanta; Jekyll Island and Driftwood Beach; the beach at St. Simons; Lane Southern Orchards; a Braves baseball game; the Golden Dragons Acrobats at Reinhardt University; and Jimmy Carter’s church. She also spent a weekend in Miami. Sometime along the way there was also a chance encounter with the alligator at Houston Lake.
If you’re wondering what it is like to host a foreign student, I can tell you first hand that it will bring a smile to your face and make you happy in a way you hadn’t felt before.
Marsha Priest Buzzell is executive director of the Warner Robins Convention & Visitors Bureau. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-922-5100.