My Holiday Break Posted on January 16th, 2011 by

Hello again! So, I had thought that my next thing to write about was Paris and I was therefore way behind but I just checked and in reality, I already wrote about Paris! Good for me! Although, since it’s still been weeks, I think I still count as way behind but let’s think beyond that now.

So. Christmas. Was fun. I liked it. So, on Christmas Eve I went over to Wartburg (where Sarah and Haleigh live) to make lunch (soup!) with Sarah, Haleigh and Becca (Sarah’s friend who’s living in Spain this year). It was quite a hearty soup, and by soup I mean stew, more or less. We ate it with rice on plates. It was quite filling and I wasn’t hungry again for three weeks. Exaggeration. But since I encountered a lot of delicious food in many places I went, it’s more or less true.  We also opened up our presents to each other, which was quite fun. From Haleigh I got a mug-decorating kit (which we are going to get around to doing one of these weeks…) and from Sarah I got a Breakfast/Brunch German cookbook with many beautiful pictures. I can’t wait to make something from it. I know, I’m shocked I haven’t yet either but most of the time I forget about recipes and plus I want to have everyone together when we make something. But I do want to use it before I leave, because they don’t necessarily have all the ingredients in America. Which is a nice/interesting change from earlier this semester when I was concerned about what Germany doesn’t have that America does, and I decided what would be better is to appreciate what Germany has that America doesn’t. Good thing I have two and a half more weeks to appreciate the heck out of Quark and Frischkäse. But anyways. Sarah got two journals (she got a lot of journals this Christmas actually. That’s what you get for complaining about how Germany doesn’t have the kind of journal you want: a lot of journals that, like you would have thought, aren’t the kind of journal you wanted.) and two cute animal calendars. Haleigh and I (not intentionally–it just happened) had each gotten her one of each of those and the journal and calendar Haleigh actually got Sarah, were ones I almost got for her when I was shopping! Whew. That was close. Interesting, I did finally see a spiral-bound lined journal in Venice, the next week but I decided not to get it for Sarah because 1) she had just received a bajillion journals and 2) it was a Ferrari journal. But I digress.

So after our filling lunch Haleigh and I packed up the cookies we made the day before (we spent like all evening making cream wafers and candy bar cookies–favorites from my family at least) to take to our host families. As it turned out, both our families went to the same church and we saw each other there later but my family picked me up by the library and gave me a ride there, whereas Haleigh just kinda had to figure out where to go. But I think we both had a good time. My family was made up of Sabine and Uwe and the two sons Jonas and Marvin. They were all very nice and liked my baking/cooking so that was also cool. Oh yes, I also brought along spinach ball mixture so we could have hot spinach balls. I liked sharing things that are traditional and loved by my family but I guess it wasn’t really typically American. I don’t know anyone else (outside of our family) who makes any of those. But anyways, it was fun. When I got to their apartment in Plankstadt (about 20 minutes outside of Heidelberg) we sat down (after lighting some candles–apparently all the Germans are all about this candles-as-mood-lighting business. I’ve seen it a lot….and I really love it. Shame about those fire hazards those Americans get worked up about these days…) and ate cookies and talked some. I had thought it would be kind of hard to stay in German, but somehow, knowing that resorting to English wasn’t an option, got me to be more confident in German. I don’t know how that worked. Maybe we were just lucky and stuck to topics that I knew the vocabulary for. I find I like those times more than when someone is talking to me in German but I really have no idea what they’re saying and I can’t decide if it’s something important that I should get them to repeat or just keep nodding along and copy their expression so they think I get it (I’ve laughed at so many jokes I don’t get….so sad. Every time I think to myself, as I’m surrounded by a room full of laughing Germans, Man, I wish I knew German.).

But I seem to be complicated my story with a lot of parentheses and getting myself confused and lost in them. I tend to do that a lot though, so don’t worry about it. So while with the Klingels, I ate cheese fondue with bread pieces and chocolate fondue with a wide assortment of fruit (did I mention I was not at all hungry when we started?). These weren’t all right in a row but still. We also played Wii bowling together. It was fun. I’d never played the Wii before and thought I would feel quite foolish but it turned out alright. In the long run, I wasn’t too bad. Actually, as is usual for me in bowling, I started out surprisingly well and then just went steadily downhill from there. Oh well. Later we also played Frisbee Golf and some game where you lean forward or back and it takes you through this race/mace thing. I don’t know. I wasn’t too good at it. But I never claimed to be awesome at balance so there. We also had Feuerzangenbowle, which is like Glühwein but you put a giant cone of sugar (about 10 inches long?) on a grate above the pot of wine and then you soak the sugar in rum and light it on fire!! Then it all melts into the wine and what you get is delicious! I definitely went back for more, and it’s super German so I was proud of myself for liking it. (haha, but I do feel bad sometimes for disliking beer so much. It’s clearly just what they do here)

So we stayed up kind of late but Sabine made sure I knew I could sleep in as late as I wanted. She was so nice the whole time. I think she was excited to have another girl around. So the next morning I got up at about 11, maybe, and had breakfast with Sabine and Uwe. The boys live in a different apartment downstairs(?) so they weren’t around as much that day. When they did stop by their faces were red so maybe they were out shoveling or something. Oh yeah, it snowed a lot on Christmas Eve. I thought it was beautiful and perfect, given the occasion (and it was!) but the people at church couldn’t stop talking about how unusual it was to snow on Christmas. How absurd. What do you do if there’s no snow on Christmas?? Although, given their January weather right now, I’ve sort of given up on them having seasonally appropriate weather. It’s been in the 40’s and 50’s all week. I know!!

But that day we had a very typical German breakfast of Brötchen (German rolls), cheese, marmalade, and meat slices. There had been a plan to go to Speyer and have other family members visit but they were both canceled for the snow. So we took a walk around Plankstadt. It was actually cold but fun to go trudging through snow, like man was meant to! And I’d only brought my Converse (I don’t have boots here) so Sabine loaned me her boots, which somehow magically fit me and were very warm and toasty. We also showed each other pictures. She had very nicely made Photobooks from her travels to Greece and another tropical place that I’d never heard of but looks quite nice. And I showed pictures from my computer. I didn’t feel like they were that interesting, but that’s OK. I showed pictures of past Christmases and my house and, since she asked, pictures from my trip to Paris. After a while we made dinner together. Die Frauen in der Küche. She had actually made a lot ahead of time but I did help. We had bread dumplings and pork roast with gravy and a side salad with orange slices and roasted nuts. It was very tasty, but that’s about where I reached my limit of food and if I had actually finished my plate, I would have exploded. I ate as much as I could (about enough to make it look like I tried, but there was so much food and I wasn’t hungry!!!!) and after dinner Sabine and Uwe took me home. Sabine very sweetly told me at dinner that really, I didn’t HAVE to go home, I could stay longer, but even though I was having a good time, I wanted to skype with my family and my presents were at home. Plus I had to leave early for Italy in the morning. So I left the Klingels and went home for Christmas evening.

Our Skype Christmas was fun as well. They had two computers at home so they set up Dad’s and Emily’s so I could get a good view of everyone. We were having a lot of fun with that actually. And they made sure the computers were angled so I could see what was happening and Dad even waved his presents and stuff right in front of the webcam just to make sure I could see. And then we went around, in order, like usual, and afterward I watched them eat the traditional waffles. We talked a lot and had a great time. But then I kind of showed my tiredness I guess (well, I could see me too, so I think I know where they were coming from) but my family told me good night and that I should get some sleep before my trip to Italy.

And even though this doesn’t count as talking about my entire break, I will stop here because it has taken me seriously hours to write this and if I’m going to take forever doing something because I am so tired, it might as well be something that is due tomorrow. Or one of those five papers I have left to write. (ouch) So, until next time, when I’ll continue with Italy and hoping get to New Year’s in Berlin and then Prague and Amsterdam. So, until then!


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