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Former US soldier helps traumatized veterans - Deutsche Welle

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Eugene, Oregon. "I had to pay off my student-loans." After a short training session at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, she was sent to Germany, first to Kitzingen and then to Würzburg. "Helping others always gave me a lot. So it made sense that I was assigned to help a military chaplain in his daily work." She planned trips and helped prepare prayer services. Kym liked it. Organizing memorial services On the third day of her deployment Kym meets Paul Timothy Sanchez. They get to know each other and eventually become a couple. He is the love of her life. Both are making their way up the career ladder. In her fifth year, Kym is put in charge of organizing memorial services for fallen soldiers. It is actually a job for two, but she does it alone: Kym is responsible for 29 battalions and organizes 187 memorial services in Germany. When a soldier stationed in Germany is killed, she speaks with the family, friends and comrades. Although rules are strict, she tries to make the memorial services as personal as possible. "I wanted to properly honor the fallen. Sometimes the routine of the military is pretty heartless." Sanchez joined the military to help pay off student loans She keeps a diary about each one. There are nights when she can't sleep because the dead speak to her, accusing her of not doing enough for their families and their children. Kym realizes that it is not good that her life is only filled with death. Yet no one wants to hear about it. "In the military you learn to keep your head down and keep going. Those that show emotions are weak. And those who confess to having fears or panic attacks are labelled losers." Kym and Paul decide to marry. She leaves the military, heads back to Fort Drum in New York, and takes a management job at the cosmetics company Estee Lauder. She says she can still feel the farewell hug that Paul gave her on the day after Thanksgiving back in 2006. He had to head back to Iraq. 45 days later her doorbell rang. "I knew Paul was dead." They had been married for 14 months. Loss of control Kym had a total breakdown. Paul was always able to help her keep the demons of her experiences in check. Now she loses control. "You can't breathe and you are gripped by a fear of death and loneliness. And at the same time you are ashamed because you can't get a better handle on things."   Sanchez: I need to have something beautiful on me Her arms and body are covered with tattoos of flowers, peacocks and brightly colored butterflies. "I need to have something beautiful on me. Something that makes me happy when I look at it. And it works," she says, as she brushes aside her blonde dreadlocks with red-colored ends. She laughs, but the laughter doesn't fill her eyes. It took almost six years before Kym, with the help of medication, was able to more or less function once again. "I never would have made it without the love of my mother and my family. You don't get anything from the government." Nor from the military, she says. "They use us for their game as long as we function. And when we are broken, we are on our own." It is difficult for traumatized persons to have intimacy, and relationships. In fact, even to live closely with others. There are a lot of days when Kym simply cannot go on past noon. Then the shadows of her past take control and she becomes exhausted. She has to lie down, and often just stays in bed until the next morning comes. "Then I get up, because I know that I am needed. And that my animals will be happy to see me. That is the...http://www.dw.com/en/former-us-soldier-helps-traumatized-veterans/a-36018085

Germany’s new Green divide - POLITICO.eu

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Germanys Social Democrats would do well to look at the neighborhood of Haidhausen in central Munich. For centuries, the area was known as the poorhouse of the Bavarian capital; after post-war reconstruction, it became a dilapidated workers quarter, described as a district of broken glass for its rundown condition. About half of all apartments had no bathroom and no hot water, the magazine Der Spiegel wrote in 1980. Even fewer had access to central heating. Over the past few decades, however, the neighborhood has flourished thanks in no small part to a large-scale redevelopment plan initiated by the SPD-led city government in the early 1970s. Gentrification has taken hold. Residents are younger and rents are higher than the Munich average. Trendy cafes, expensive bicycles and organic shops cluster around the districts picturesque squares. Given Haidhausens history, its no surprise that the Social Democrats were the dominant party in this area for decades at least until recently. In Bavarias state election in October, the SPD suffered a colossal defeat in the Munich-Mitte constituency to which Haidhausen belongs, its vote share shrinking by t...https://www.politico.eu/article/germany-green-party-haidhausen-munich-elections-social-democrats-spd-is-the-new-red/

Bavaria election: German conservatives lose their fizz - BBC News

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Every autumn, lederhosen-clad drinkers crowd into vast tents festooned with dried hop flowers, to celebrate Bavaria's most intoxicating export. Waitresses bearing fistfuls of beer glasses squeeze between packed wooden benches. It's hard to make much out above the brass band music but, listen closely this year, and the talk is of politics. Just like Oktoberfest, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative sister party is woven into the checked fabric of Bavarian culture. The Christian Social Union (CSU) has ruled Germany's richest state since 1957, sharing power just once in a coalition with the free-market FDP. And since then, every Bavarian prime minister has risen from its ranks. But now, swift as a reveller draining his tankard, support has ebbed away. The CSU is bracing itself for humiliating losses in today's Bavarian state election. The party is on course to lose the absolute majority its leaders once took for granted. This is likely to be an historic election which will define Bavaria's very identity, encapsulated in the word "Heimat" (homeland). "In this...https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45835795

Travel: Germany's answer to Vancouver and Whistler is worth the trip - BCBusiness

Saturday, December 8, 2018

But B.C.s favourite winter wonderland lacks the old-timey charm of Berchtesgaden. And while some aspects of the Bavarian retreats history are undoubtedly regrettable (thanks to historical museum Dokumentation Obersalzberg and its 170,000 visitors in 2017, the village doesnt shy away from its past), others have aged well. A trip across a lake named K.nigssee, for example, yields the Church of St. Bartholom., built in the 12th century, plus a family-run food stand specializing in smoked trout on a bun. (Just dont ask for WiFi.) The right to fish in the lake is passed down from generation to generation, with only one person holding the right to catch at any given time. Not a bad business model. Speaking of which, two other notable commercial endeavours in the region that have stood the test of time are lederhosen clothier Engelbert Aigner and the Grassl distillery, which specializes in schnapps. The former is another family business, though instead of monopolizing Germanys waterways, it makes artisanal lederhosen. This isnt the stuff you can find in every tourist shop in Germany for $200 a pop, either. Its the real, custom, hand-stitched item that will put you on a year-long waitlist. Apparently, the leather is a good choice in the mercurial Bavarian climate and isnt only worn during Oktoberfest. (Though if you dont sport a pair in Germany then, youre not even a tourist; youre like an alien or something.) The latter is Germanys oldest distillery, open since 1692. Grassl doesnt use any aromas or perfumes for its schnapps, either; theyre all-natural, to the point that many of the shops specialty products are still made up in the mountain ranges and barrel-aged for three years. Berchtesgaden has also cornered the market on a certain Olympic sport with a massive luge/bobsled track that German athletes flock to in all seasons. It seems like a perfect little paradise, but as with all such places, our time here is too short. Keep Munich weirdAfter another bus ride through the mountains, we arrive in the capital of the state of Bavaria. Spotless Munich is one of the richest areas of Europe, but there are some eccentricities amid the beautiful buildings that shape the city centre. Perhaps chief among them is the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, basically a huge merry-go round, atta...https://www.bcbusiness.ca/Travel-Germanys-answer-to-Vancouver-and-Whistler-is-worth-the-trip

Bavaria election: German conservatives lose their fizz

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Every autumn, lederhosen-clad drinkers crowd into vast tents festooned with dried hop flowers, to celebrate Bavaria's most intoxicating export. Waitresses bearing fistfuls of beer glasses squeeze between packed wooden benches. It's hard to make much out above the brass band music but, listen closely this year, and the talk is of politics. Just like Oktoberfest, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative sister party is woven into the checked fabric of Bavarian culture. The Christian Social Union (CSU) has ruled Germany's richest state since 1957, sharing power just once in a coalition with the free-market FDP. And since then, every Bavarian prime minister has risen from its ranks. But now, swift as a reveller draining his tankard, support has ebbed away. The CSU is bracing itself for humiliating losses in today's Bavarian state election. The party is on course to lose the absolute majority its leaders once took for granted. This is likely to be an historic election which will define Bavaria's very identity, encapsulated in the word "Heimat" (homeland). "In this...https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45835795