In every good story, there is a beginning and an end. That much I have learned in this life. With My German Haus story, we only know how it begins since the Good Lord hasn’t finished it just yet. I thought it might be fun to tell you how our overseas lil’ castle tale began.
In March of 1998, I met a short nugget of a man named Will at a bar in Nashville. That is the line he wants me to tell you. The full truth of it is, I was signed up to croon in a local singing contest at the famous Broken Spoke Cafe in Nashville, TN. After having performed, he literally jumped out at me from the audience and asked if he could buy me a beer. Since he was already holding a full beer in each hand, I could tell he was an eager chap and I hate to let effort like that go to waste so I indulged him. I mean it was beer and it was being held by a man no bigger than a hobbit so with any thought to immediate danger averted, I was game. We talked and laughed for hours and then, like a true Cinderella, the clock neared midnight and I had to get home- to my fiance. Yes, at that time I was engaged to another and we were set to be married less that a month from that fateful night.
Fast forward through the I-found-a-new-love-break-up-cancel-the-wedding-drama (because that is seriously worthy of it own blog) and I wed Will five months later. I bet you’re thinking I probably need to take some risks in life, as I am obviously scared to say yes to much but when I love, I love hard and fast. It’s usually a wild ride, but I like it that way. Coincidently, it is the very nature of my personality that helped me to fall madly in love with Germany and eventually led to the huge leap of faith of purchasing a home there.
Just ten days after we were married, my sweet lil’ groom moved us to Aschersleben, Germany where he would work for a company that made the plastic for diapers and feminine products. He likes to tell people he was responsible for keeping Europe clean. Thank you Will. The women of Europe could not have done it without you.
We lived in the amazing former East German town of Aschersleben for three and a half years and this is where my love affair began. Long strolls through lush green parks, shopping through cobblestoned streets to pick up meat from the butcher and bread from the baker was a dream. We inhabited the 3rd floor of a building that was older that the United States and strategically placed above a bakery. Every morning we awoke to the smell of fresh rolls and baguettes baking below our feet. I owe my love for crusty bread and wide thighs to that shop.
Ascherleben welcomed us with open arms. Back in those days, Will and I made music together and we often performed at local pubs and community events. Being able to sing American rock songs without the German accent made us a big hit with the locals. This also allowed us to meet and befriend the most amazing musicians- whom I still dream about making music with again. Later on, it also opened the door for us to tour other parts of Europe. German cities love to have festivals and celebrations for just about anything. Our first such festival in Aschersleben was the KartoffelFest – translation: Potato Festival. I don’t remember eating an inordinate amount of potatoes that weekend but I do remember making music to the applause of joyful Germans and enjoying the fruits of my labor with steins of good stout German beers or what I like to call the nectar of the gods.
German cities love to have festivals and celebrations for just about anything. Our first such festival to perform in was in our sweet town of Aschersleben at the KartoffelFest – translation: Potato Festival. I don’t remember eating an inordinate amount of potatoes that weekend but I do remember making music to the applause of joyful Germans. We enjoyed the fruits of our labor along with our German audience singing, “Country roads take me home to zee place I belong…” and steins of good stout German beers, or what I like to call the nectar of the gods.
The relationship was really solidified right there. It was a happy time of making music and learning life and for us, all was right in the world. Throughout our entire seven years of being in Deutschland, we continued to play and tour. Later, Will went on to play country music and I moved into the Christian music scene.
After our stint in Aschersleben was over, we moved about an hour away to the bustling and urban metropolis of Magdeburg. A place where the Tin of the Hun chose to invade and burn to the ground back in 400 BC. So, if you are ever on Jeopardy, now you know. There, we opened up the first American coffee, Christian coffee house in Germany located in the center of the university section of the city. We called it Latte Da. We set the cafe up like a mini-Ikea, lots of little living room spaces for people to come and have their own “Friends” moment together. Often, we had to wake up professors and tell them it was time to go teach their class. It was pretty chill. We served over 20 different kinds of teas and 20 different coffees and we only spoke English there so it was a great way for locals to practice their English.
The cafe was also the central location of a church plant and we held Sunday services and English Bible study classes with our dear friends who were missionaries to the German people. Germany is over 80% atheist/non-believing so the cafe was an awesome platform for sharing Jesus with our friends there.
We stayed in Magdeburg for just under three and a half years and gave birth to our sweet boy, Taylor. After being away from family and America for so long though, we were homesick and decided it was time to return home. We wanted to raise him around football games, southern charm, and sweet iced tea. We have been back in Texas for a decade now but my love, slightly bordering obsession, for Germany has never abated. It was this past summer when my dearest friend in the ganze welt, Jacqueline, told me about how her father had purchased a home in Germany which required a little fixing up.
After learning the price he paid for his fixer-upper, I was hooked. I had done the numbers in my head in about five minutes flat and from that moment on, it was all I could think about. I knew that if we could find one for the same price, or lower, than we could have a house to fix up, too. I became neurotic at the idea of having a home back where I had left half of my heart. The house you are following now was the first home I found on the online real estate listings and I knew she was going to be ours at first click. I looked at about a dozen others, but this beauty stole my heart first and God made a way for her to join the Kincaid family trove. Will was totally down for it and we sent Jacqueline back to Germany with marching orders to get us that house!
And she delivered, as she always does. Jacqueline is awesome like that.
After a meeting with the German Consulate here in Texas, a few translations of paperwork and negotiations, we had our haus. It took about six months for all to go through and be finalized. Things take longer over there, it is one of the reasons I love it. Life is just so much slower-paced. They take their time, and though it can be hard to wait for something like a house to go through escrow, it is awesome when you are living it, you want to slow down and actually think through life. That is one of the reasons I want to bless others with the use of this space. So others can also slow down, breath, hear God speak, and enjoy all that is Deutschland.
So here we are, the house now ours, and God is showing us bit by bit how He wants the place to be used. We are trying to find a name for it now. I am loving El Roi Haus. It’s from the Bible and it means “God Sees Me.” I know people can feel awfully alone and invisible and scared sometimes in life, it is comforting to know that God sees us no matter what. We want this haus to be used for family, friends, missionaries, fellow believers, artists and of course, writers- so that they feel seen and heard by God and His creation. We have daydreams that it will be a place where masterpieces and dreams are made and if someone needs a place to heal and experience a life less hectic, that this El Roi Haus is there for them.
So there you have it, 19 years of history jammed into a few paragraphs. Of course, there is so much more to tell, you will just have to visit us at My German Haus for a week or more when we are there to hear the rest!