After walking the entire grounds, covering every inch of the property excluding the garages that are rented and occupied by people from the village, we head to Carsten’s office for the MotoSoul presentation. At this point I have spent months thinking about this property and how to bring my concept to life there. I have drafted a preliminary business plan, worked through some rough costs and projected incomes for the business, and thought long and hard about what we could do with this specific property.
All of these ideas come together in a 25 page power point presentation that I share with Carsten at his office. I first discuss the slide and Thomas then translates what I say into German. I quickly notice that I speak much longer than Thomas does, and ask if he is conveying everything I am saying. He says “no, I don’t need to, your enthusiasm and feelings come through in your body language, I just have to convey the main points.” I realize this is true. We do not have to speak the same language, we only have to share emotion and people understand. This is a lesson I am learning over and over again as I embark on this journey. Perhaps we over-complicate our lives by speaking too much and sharing too little?
At the end of the presentation, we see that Carsten understands and find out that we will rely on him to convey our interest to the Grimma Oberburgermeister as the next step. We say our goodbyes and head back to Schloss Döben. While re-telling the story to Hubertus and Dorothea, the door bell rings. What do you know, Carsten Graf has paid us a visit! He quickly informs me that I had left my hat behind (cobwebs and all) and joins us for some tea. A lively exchange occurs between Hubertus and Carsten, which results in a call to the Oberburgermeister at 8 pm. The next thing you know, we have a presentation scheduled for the next day to the big cheese!! Oh my!!
We celebrate our success with dinner in Grimma at the Greek Restaurant which has excellent food, including my favorite – octopus! Lots of interesting discussion about the how, the why, what led me here, and of course a little about history and politics, both of which have an impact on this project.
The next day we head off to Grimma, where we meet with Oberburgermeister Berger. I set up the beemer (projector) and away we go. Fortunately he speaks wonderful English, so the exchange is two way, with Thomas filling in when a question specifically regarding Germany comes up. He asks great questions, gives us plenty of time, and genuinely seems to understand what we are trying to do. We wrap the meeting with him thanking us and I skip out of there on cloud nine!
What do I do next? How do I best approach this? I ask for advice and determine the best thing to do is invite him to dinner. I take a calculated risk and text Herr Berger with an invitation. He instantly replies that he is not available however he likes my project very much and fingers crossed, it will happen. Another green light! GO GO GO, no brake lights!