Wednesday, June 19, 2024

A little bit of Germany is flourishing in Williamsburg

The German Kaffeeklatsch Meetup is for anyone with a love for Germany's culture, language and heritage. (WYDaily/Pixabay)
The German Kaffeeklatsch Meetup is for anyone with a love for Germany’s culture, language and heritage. (WYDaily/Pixabay)

Calling all German enthusiasts: a new group of people have started meeting to share their love of German culture, language and heritage.

Petra Travis said she had seen a few posts on local social media pages with people interested in meeting and sharing in a passion for all things German. As a German-born person, she realized she should start the group and connect with others who love her roots as much as herself.

Now, a group of approximately six people are meeting in coffee shops to participate in the German “Kaffeeklatsch” meetup. Kaffeeklatsch is a common word meaning “coffee chatter.”

“It’s well-known that the Brits do a five O’Clock tea time,” Travis said. “Well Germans do a four O’Clock cup of coffee.”

Travis said the purpose of the meetup is simply to have fun. Kaffeeklatsch is not something done with a goal necessarily, but rather just to enjoy the company of others.

“It’s very much a European statement,” she said. “The American mindset is there should be a good reason to get together, it’s rare that people get together just because.”

During the meetings people might share recipes, practice speaking German or simply chat about things they love or miss about Germany. Travis said many of the people who attend the meetings have either lived in Germany or know someone who has.

Travis came to the United States when she was 26 years old, describing herself in relation to Germany as “born, raised and then imported.” While she has traveled all over the world, she has lived in Williamsburg for about 25 years and made it her home. But, she said, the one thing she misses is the Kaffeeklatsch.

“It’s just something easy,” she said. “You know you can go there and someone will be there, even if it’s one person, and you can just kind of chat. There’s no reason for it, no fundraisers or practicing [the language] hard. We just want to get together with people who want to talk about Germany.”

Knowing German is not a requirement to participate in the meeting, Travis said. While some may attend the meeting to practice, she said when individuals come who aren’t well-versed in the language the group will switch to English to make sure everyone is comfortable. 

But sometimes the group breaks into what Travis called “Denglish,” which is a mash-up of English and another language.

“At this point most people that I’ve encountered, they live in the English language,” she said. “And sometimes its harder to speak in German because you’re looking for vocab haven’t used in a while, so sometimes an English word slips in but we all understand.”

The group has only met twice so far but Travis said it is gaining more interest as even more people become aware that it is happening.

To take part in the German Kaffeeklatsch meetup, those interested should attend the next gathering on Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the Barnes and Noble in New Town. Those participating will be at a table with a German flag.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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