Tag Archives: christmas

it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It’s that time of year again, when little wooden huts crop up around Germany’s cities and people walk around with tiny cups of steaming beverages and buy Stollen by the kilo.

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Over the weekend I met up with some friends in Heidelberg, and while we did visit the Christmas market (albeit briefly) we also climbed up to the Schloss (using our expired student IDs to save 2 euros each) had some surprisingly delicious tex-mex for dinner, and ended the night in some of Heidelberg’s finest pubs.

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The next morning I literally gasped when I saw the fresh blanket of snow outside Ben’s apartment. I must concede that it is, in fact, winter around here.

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Last night, I made my maiden voyage to the Christmas markets in Cologne. My mission: a Flammlachs sandwich (salmon filet grilled over an open fire, a few bits of lettuce and a dollop of creme fraiche on a roll) which I had been craving probably since the day after I had one last year.

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After that was accomplished, we wandered around, enjoying some Feuerzangenbowle (though I let my tiny Zuckerhut burn and had to force down the ruined drink) deep-fried apple rings accompanied by hot Apfelwein, and finally capped off with Reibekuchen mit Apfelmus and a cup of Grog.

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or as we used to call it: arts *and farts* and crafts

Either it’s because of the holiday season, or that I keep leaving colored paper and various art supplies just lying around my apartment, but my idle hands have been kept quite busy over the last few weeks.

I made decorations and a star for my foot-and-a-half tall Christmas tree

Redid the decor in my kitchen.

Crafted some (perhaps not entirely politically-correct) Thanksgiving headgear, and made all 8 guests at FFM Thanksgiving don them.

Strung up some mitten garland across my mirror

There is also a green and red paper chain hanging in my entryway and I’m sure there is more to come before I fly back to America on the 21st!

it’s the most wonderful time of the year

Yesterday marked the first day of Christmas Market season here in Cologne! After discovering this fact towards the end of the workday, I decided that it was imperative that I visit one immediately upon my arrival in the city center.

However, after having not eaten since lunch, the last thing I needed was a hot cup of Glühwein, which I would quickly grow tired of and need to chug in order to move on with my evening.

Try not to get nauseous looking at the painstakingly-planned photography… aka taking a photo with my cell phone, one-handedly, while holding the remains of my wine in the other hand and rapidly becoming more tipsy than is acceptable when alone on a Monday at 7pm.

As you can see there were lights, and red and green things, and of course there was a variety of handicrafts… all of which I had no interest in as the tipsiness set in and my sights set on such delights as fried mushrooms with garlic sauce, Spekulatius cookies shaped like the Dom, and even the fried fish sandwiches Germans seem to be so fond of.

Luckily, I was able to get myself out of there in time to not stuff my face with fried delights. Maybe next time.

Vacances

My Christmas vacation started with a last-minute trip to Prague. Though the guide books may claim that snow in Prague in December is a rarity, it sure wasn’t in 2010. Un-shoveled sidewalks and sub-freezing temperatures do not make for the best sight-seeing conditions.

it may look beautiful but trust me it was frigid

After my harrowing trip back to America, I didn’t have much of a chance to catch my breath. After arriving back in Kunkletown 36 hours or so behind schedule, and without a single piece of luggage, I spent my time running around town, seeing as many friends and family as I could in less than 2 short weeks.

Christmas in Kunkletown, an SU reunion, a car ride, a trip to the Chinese buffet with the Shores’, a Greyhound bus, New Year’s eve in Baltimore and a Grimmel reunion, a train, family Christmas, and 2 planes later I was in the sunny island town of Palma Mallorca.

much nicer than the weather in Prague

After tasting local Spanish sangria, tapas, jamon and paella I was again on a plane to Hannover. Luckily, my checked bag made it all the way back with me without problems, though the one I lost on December 19th on the way back from Prague is still missing somewhere between Hannover and Kunkletown.

For now, I feel like returning to the structure of going to school every day will be a welcome change to the chaotic vacation I’ve had, but I’m pretty sure that feeling won’t last long, considering I’ll be at school for at least 10 hours tomorrow, and that’s only day one of Module 3…

I’ll be home for Christmas…?

God is punishing me. For what, I am not sure. But I am definitely in trouble for something.

Saturday, on our way back from an impromptu trip to Prague (aside: don’t go to Prague in December. What a terrible idea) Emily and I found ourselves on the losing end of European air travel and stranded in Munich airport. Luckily, we were beckoned to a secret rebooking desk where we were able to secure not only a flight back to Hannover for the next morning, but also a hotel room for the night, provided so kindly by Lufthansa. After a frigid trip to Eastern Europe a complimentary night’s stay in a bed and breakfast in the suburbs of Munich was just what we needed. Granted, we had no luggage (and still don’t) but at least we were warm, could get a shower, and slept in real beds.

Though a cot does beat a cold metal chair.

Monday morning, I had no choice but to confront the Hannover airport (“hell within hell” as a friend of mine has coined it) once again for my trip back to America for Christmas. After a 430am wakeup call, a broken train and a shared taxi ride to the airport, I thought I was home-free. My flight to Paris was delayed an hour, but still on the board at least. However, after checking in (and checking my luggage) I was informed that the Paris airport is closed for the morning, and my flight won’t be leaving until noon. Five hours, a few naps, and a passionate conversation with Jakub about our hatred of being stuck in Europe later, I was in the air and on my way to Paris. Though of course, I did miss my flight to Philadelphia. Thankfully, the help desk line for Delta was non-existent (real bonus to flying on an American airline at this time) and I was barely able to be rebooked on a flight to Philadelphia… 20 hours later and via Pittsburgh and Detroit.

During my time as an airport vagrant, I walked up and down the entire building, tested many chairs to find the best sleeping conditions (and therefore slept through the sleeping mat/ cot/ blanket distribution), got lucky in a vending machine and got a bag of peanut M&M’s for free, and have been rationing the 5 clementines and 3 granola bars I brought with me. 4 ½ hours until my flight is supposed to leave… we shall see.

oh by gosh by golly

School has been moving entirely too fast over the past few weeks, and by tomorrow I will be done with the module! (well…. close enough anyway)

As a member of the Party Planning Committee, one of our top priorities was going to be to plan a kickin end of the module/ christmas/ holiday party.  However, the administration told us multiple times to ‘not worry about it’ and that they were going to take care of it all.

Thankfully, we decided to at least plan a White Elephant gift exchange.

great turnout!

Because this was no party. One can hardly consider cookies and candy at noon (after a morning of class) a party. No music playing, no actual food (I mean, isn’t noon usually lunch time?) and the saddest Christmas tree in Hannover.

Charlie Brown had it better

To compensate, a bunch of us had our own Newman Day, ate a few weird German cookies (why is there jam hidden in every German cookie?), taught the non-Americans about the joys of the White Elephant, and peaced out. Next time the school wants to plan a party for us, we know better.