Shocking to more Americans than I would think to be acceptable, Germany does not celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday. However, in a program with about half of the students coming from America, and a large chunk of the rest having spent some considerable time in the land of plenty, it was inevitable that we would come up with a way to overcome this.
I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday shopping, planning, cooking, baking, and drinking to prepare for our feast last night. Friday night a few of us gathered at the school to decorate, which ended in the construction of a teepee made out of printer paper, staples, and some branches found in the woods out back, as well as some construction paper and feather Indian headdresses.
Slaving over the stove
Saturday morning the cooking (and mimosas) commenced around 10am, with the women cooking and prepping and the men playing cards in the next room. Thankfully we were eventually able to convince them to help in peeling potatoes (and even wrangled a German friend into helping… however he didn’t get it when I told him to ‘stop complaining about peeling potatoes, that’s what it was like to be a Pilgrim!’). Having to cook multiple dishes to account for vegetarians, vegans, muslims and lactose intolerant guests was an interesting twist, but we heard no real complaints throughout the night so I think we were successful.
Tons of food
Eventually we lugged our 3 turkeys, along with trays and trays of sides (many of which I had never had before… brussel sprouts? creamed spinach?) down to the school. Many of our classmates (and staff) were concerned that the makeshift Native American dwelling was actually going to be lit aflame (thank God it didn’t come to that) and the evening ended with a campfire-style singalong of everyone’s favorite American songs (of course including such hits as Country Roads, Take Me Home, and Summer of 69)
Before the teepee collapsed
God Bless America.
- It’s not much, but there is definitely snow on that rooftop
Thanksgiving and the first snowfall on the same day, coupled with my first trip to the Hannover Weihnachtsmarkt last night.
Guess its time for Christmas!
This weekend some friends and I went to Berlin. I’m not sure about everyone else in the group, but I didn’t go because I wanted to see the Brandenburger Tor, or the Reichstag, or the Berliner Mauer. The last time I was in Germany I spent an entire week in Berlin, and honestly not much has changed.
I went because a) Hannover is boring and I wanted to get out, and b) I figured a big city like Berlin would offer a greater chance of me finding American food.
Boy was I right. Within minutes of our arrival I spotted two separate DnD‘s. The next day Emily and I went to KaDeWe where I almost paid €8 for a jar of Jif peanut butter (but I talked myself out of it… mostly because I didn’t want to carry it around all day). And for dinner we went to a Mexican restaurant, where we got nachos with real cheese, real salsa, and real guacamole.
We did some other things too but really, those were the main highlights.
Yesterday, my class went on a field trip to a steel mill in a nearby town. While it was pretty cool to see molten steel as up close and personal as is physically safe, and stand and warm myself by rows and rows of cooling I-beams, tours of industry can only hold my attention for so long.
The real highlights include:
1) Aforementioned steel/fire/explosions
It was warm in here. And a little dusty.
2) Safety outfits
Goggles over glasses is a great look for me.
3) This guy leading us in a tour of nearby Osnabruck
What you can't see is that he's also wearing Birkenstocks with socks.
4) Learning about (and taking many) German shots with a salami/mustard/caper chaser
I'm going to start chasing all my liquor with cured meats.
I may not have learned exactly what the school wanted me to, but I learned nonetheless.
Since we finally have an easy week coming up at school, we capitalized on this and went to a Hannover Indians ice hockey game this weekend. One of the guys in my class has befriended one of the starters, which made watching the game even more exciting.
Admittedly, my knowledge of hockey is limited to having seen all three Mighty Ducks movies multiple times… but I could hold my own enough to cheer Robin and the rest of the team to a victory.
And of course some bratwurst and a few half liter beers didn’t hurt the experience either.
Oi, this new module is killing me. Between Finance and Microeconomics I don’t have time to even think about witty things to blog about. My free time is spent partying to release stress generated by not understanding school, wading through pages upon pages of textbooks and notes that make no sense to me in the vain search for understanding, or sleeping to get rid of hangovers and/or recharge my batteries for another long day of being frustrated by school.
But thankfully, there was some time for fun that didn’t include any of these things this past weekend, when the Indians in my class threw us a Diwali party, complete with tons of food, dancing, sparklers and mehndi tattoos.
I danced so much I broke a serious sweat, and ate so much I thought I was going to burst.
All in all, a good Saturday night! The bar has been set high, and the Americans are next with Thanksgiving in a few weeks!
Close up of the Mehndi before it was dry.