Yes, if you guys have been too busy to notice...yes it's Weihnachten (Christmas). Seriously, I am still looking for 2007, where did it go? But I have to say German Weihnachten has been one of the most special things I have ever experienced! First, the town squares are decorated with lights, green wreaths...Christmas decorations! Let me tell you, the site of my little city of Wolfenbuettel with it's cobblestone streets and old style buildings look amazing illuminated with White Christmas lights!! My students and German teacher have taught me so much about the traditions in Germany at Christmas time. The season really gets started at the beginning of December with St. Nikolaustag! When the St. Nikolaus comes and fills the children's shoes with candies and small gifts! As a mainly Christian country, they also celebrate the Advent season! In my German class we read and listened to German Christmas songs! NO I DIDNT SING!
Then there is the Weihnachtsmarkt! (Christmas Market), seriously I dont know why America doesnt' have anything like the Weihnachtsmarkt!!!!! It's this market, usually located in the town square which is surrounded by an old Catherdral and really traditional buildings! They sell small gifts like theses small handmade wooden figurines that smoke called 'Räuchermännchen' from the Erdgzbirge and of course Christmas won't be Christmas without food! Cue Glühwein. Its the perfect christmas drink to warm you up on a cold night at the Weihnachtsmarkt. Bascially, Hot Hot Hot red wine with ginger spices, oranges, cinnamon...Its really sweet and really tasty. But really love the atmosphere of the Markets, everyone all together, drinking hot drinks, laughing, Christmas music playing, the white lights all in the shadows of a gorgeous town square!
This time of year always makes me look back on the year and reflect a little bit. What a year! It has been an exciting, amazing, frustrating, interesting, fun, wonderful, exhausting, surprising, at times both heart-breaking and heart warming. When I started this year, I never thought it would end the year in Europe, much less teaching English, learning about China for all my new Chinese friends, learning German and going back to the U.K. I can honestly say I have realized how 'rockstar' my life really is and so fortunate to have gotten such amazing opporunities.
Just to let everyone know, I will be having a British Christmas. Even though I love Deutschland at Christmas time and my German friends are amazing people, the break is giving me the chance to do some traveling and see some old friends. So this year, I have traded in the South Dakota snow for the wet British rain. But I wanted to let everyone from back home, or where you are in the world, Happy Holidays. I wish everyone a "Frohe Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr" Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thinking of you and Miss you in Deutschland!
So when in Germany...drink Glühwein, eat Weihnachten Plätzchen, sing Weihnachten songs and have a 'Frohe Weihnachten'.