The Christmas Season! Posted on December 9th, 2010 by

Hello again, all. It seems it is December. And Heidelberg certainly knows how to get us in the Christmas spirit! As resistant as I was to get into it before Thanksgiving, I am now all for Christmas! I love that there is a Christmas market here AND that it’s so extensive, so you can go to all different places in the old city and see more stuff! Just this evening I realized there was and ice rink and a place where you can pet donkeys! (They are super soft, by the way, I highly recommend befriending one) Since I haven’t written in so long, I’ll just give an overview of what’s happened since Thanksgiving.

Well, Thanksgiving itself was interesting, as it were. The actual day was marked by a nice dinner at a German restaurant, which is actually near my friends’ house. The food looked like a Thanksgiving feast but was actually more interesting-tasting. It wasn’t bad, but it’s not what any of were expecting or used to. The stuffing came in odd form (someone mistaked it for bread or fruitcake at first), the sweet potatoes didn’t need to be THAT sweet and there was just something funny about those potatoes. But that’s OK. It was a nice meal. All the AJY people were there, plus some of their families. AJY also invited all the professors and others who make a habit of helping out AJY students and staff. So it was actually a very nice thing. And not really the worst Thanksgiving ever, like I originally told my friend Haleigh, when I found out we had to sit with strangers and probably speak German to them. In reality, we sat at a table with mostly Americans and then one of our former German teachers and her husband. And there was a mix of German and English at the table so it was just fine. However, Haleigh and I really wanted to make our own Thanksgiving so we planned it for Sunday evening and went shopping on Saturday. I felt so proud of us, like we were real people making a real Thanksgiving. We cooked almost all day Sunday. Well, I came over at noon and we cooked almost all the way through til we ate at 5:30. We made stuffing (which turned out salty due to strange broth instructions), squash, green beans, spinach balls (a recipe from my family and an overall success), garlic mashed potatoes (an addition from Carter, who came close to dinner time), pumpkin pie and cranberry “Nantucket” pie (a base of berries and sugar covered with a sweet almond crust). And Haleigh’s kitchen is shared by everyone in her building so we had a lot of questions about what we were making and why (one guy asked if we were celebrating the first Sunday in Advent) and what stuffing was. Seriously, we were asked multiple times what stuffing was and either we were just bad at explaining in German or it was just too foreign a concept for them because we only got blank stares. So, anyways, there were just three of us there but we thought others were coming later, after their choir concert. Turns out just friend-Sarah came but in the meantime the three of us managed a very interesting three hour conversation about all sorts of things. Many TV and stories from high school. So that was Thanksgiving.

Let’s see. My Christmas experience here started…I don’t know. On December 1st I started listening to Christmas music (and haven’t stopped since) and getting presents together to send home (which I finally did yesterday!). I received a box from home this week as well. It was huge and the talk of AJY, since I left it there all day because I was busy OK? (Actually it was probably not the talk of anything but I was pretty excited about it anyway) It was actually full of things I can’t open until later but I still wept with joy and homesickness in my room as I took out each box. It was actually very understandable. There was a present from Rascal! My dog! Who wouldn’t weep at such a sight!? Plus there was Chex Mix and Puppy Chow, which is always a delightful thing to receive. Anyways, I calmed down, set up my little tree and was quite happy actually. I put all the presents way on my of my bookshelf so they’re not a distraction. (Although you can’t really say it’s done the opposite and motivated me to do anything because I still haven’t finished describing my adventures with the German Rail Pass auf Deutsch yet.)

There have been a mix of emotions with the coming Christmas holidays. For a while I was upset because I thought I could my trip down to Italy to visit Rose, a family friend, and her family with the friends who are also staying here for the holidays but then they were both getting visitors so they couldn’t go. Which was really not a big deal but I think maybe I felt like it was because I was feeling alone or something. I know the rest of my family will be together for Christmas this year without me and even though they’ve made it clear they’ll miss me, I feel really homesick to think about it. And then my own plans were being changed and I felt like everything in the world was the worst ever. But then I felt better after ranting some and getting excited to make my own plans. It looks like in the days leading up to Christmas, I’ll be able to hang out with whoever’s here. Haleigh, Sarah, Sarah’s friend Becca and possibly Brian and his family. Then on Christmas Eve (Heilige Abend) I’ll go to a host family and spend the evening and night with them. I also have the option of spending the 26th with them, when they visit my host mother’s family in ….somewhere nearish. But I might want to leave for Italy then. Who knows. And I met her, Sabine Klingel, today and she seems really nice. Her family is probably pretty normal and typical German so I hope I can overcome my shyness and awkwardness and not ruin their Christmas!! Anyways, then after that I want to go to Italy and see what there is to see. Rose says she lives 40 minutes away from Venice and Verona for Heaven’s sake so I guess you could say I’m looking forward to going! Then, since Sarah and Haleigh are too, I’ll travel to Berlin for New Year’s and possibly afterwards go to Prague and Amsterdam. Oh, and speaking of which, I’m probably going to Paris next weekend. Plans to be finalized soon.

So basically I feel like there’s a good amount of stuff going on. It’s hectic because of course the semester is winding down for most AJY students and we’re trying to fit everything in before they all leave! I can’t believe they’re going so soon. It’s going to be so sad!! They are all leaving the weekend after this. It ‘s just so hard to imagine life without them. Which SOUNDS like a crazy statement because I only just met them a few months ago but we really have become SUCH good friends. It felt like even within the first few days we were so close. I think it was during the first full week, I was on a bus with Sarah and Haleigh and we were saying how time had gone by fast and slowly but it also felt like, of COURSE we’ve known each other for years! These guys are my best friends! And we’ll know each other forever! Well, I really hope so. Coming to Germany in the first place, was bound to change my life somehow, but these are the kind of friends who change who you are or who you want to be. I really love all of them and I’ll be sad to see them go. I love you guys!!

In other news, in case you’re wondering, my to-do list concerning all the papers I need to do before the end of the semester is, surprisingly, still just as long as it was before. Schade. But I will have those two AJY papers done by Monday. Then just a total of 6 papers (or 35 pages) to write before the end of January! Sign me up! I am so looking forward to this! But I am inspired by Megan writing a 15 page paper in less than 24 hours yesterday. It’s totally possible! And that’s a great idea!

But it’s late and I still have class in the morning. I hope I can manage to write again soon and tell about various adventures I’m having. But just in case: Merry Christmas! And Happy New Year!!


One Comment

  1. Kailin says:

    Boy that raelly helps me the heck out.