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in California. My German speaking ability has improved amazingly over the past 1 1/2
months. Often when speaking with Herr Zimmerman or friends in Beutelsbach, I'm
often unaware that they are speaking German, though I myself still have to concentrate to
express extended thoughts, and often find necessary vocabulary lacking. But spending
several hours continuously with a family, speaking only German, is wonderful practice,
and gradually I almost think in German.

I spent last Friday afternoon with the Krauters - arriving about 2 pm, having coffee
and supper, and finally leaving at about 10 pm. I spent most of the time talking with
Frau Krauter - about raising children, religion, places to see in Germany, the war and many
other things. Herr K. didn't get home until about 8, since he was visiting his mother in a Stuttgart
hospital, so we then sort of caught up on my conversations with Frau K and by then it was
10 pm. They are a wonderful family - very hospitable to several Stanford students, and
quite interesting to know. In getting quite well acquainted, and may stay at their home
for a few nights, sometime next quarter if time permits. I'm also getting to know another
family, the Fabrizes, and hope to visit both this weekend.

Last Sunday we held our big Fest ("Valentine's Day") for the families we've been visiting. This
amounts to inviting them up for three hours, preparing much food (350 cupcakes, countless
cookies, all decorated for Valentines, plus gallons of coffee), and putting on a short program, plus
just visiting, showing them our rooms, etc. It went off quite nicely I think - we had about
300 here and ran out of food just before 5pm when it was to end. I helped all Saturday
afternoon baking cupcakes, and Sunday morning frosting them, and also organized the program,
so I didn't have to spend much time studying last weekend!

Monday after I got my first opportunity to just take a walk around the
countryside here. We [illegible?] up the ridge behind the men's dorms, along a muddy path
among the birch trees and through the fields, to a ruined little fort overlooking the valley
and several small towns nestled against the foothills. Then we walked on up a
nearby hill, which is crowned by a stand of pine trees. It was really beautiful and
peaceful with the cold brisk wind whistling in the tree tops and blowing through
my hair and a light cover of snow making leaves and ground crunchy underfoot. Such
contact with nature is really filling, and a good therapy for loneliness or homesickness,
which has a tendency to be stronger here when it comes, since all the little familiar
ties which are taken for granted at school are missing here. This is just one big advantage
to our location here in the Rems valley, instead of right in the city of Stuttgart itself.
Another is the chance to understand the small village, almost peasant way of life which
has no equivalent in America, while European city people are much more like Americans,
especially since the war. Those students who go to the centers at Florence or Tours,
right in the city itself will be missing this aspect entirely.

Well that's the news and views for now. I just thought - some answers to your
comments about the Papal Audience. They were not at all self concious in their cheering;
it was quite enthusiastic and open, and apparently the response he prefers, so not at
all disrespectful to "His Holiness." Just surprised me, that's all. As to provate audiences,
the 2nd group here had one with only a dozen or so British sailors besides themselves.
Stanford can pull strings you know! We must just have been there at a busy
time perhaps.

More news next week. For now,

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