Monday, November 26, 2012

Frohe Weihnachten!

Old tradition (wreath)
meets new (Zed)
Oh, I adore the holidays. I love when the weather turns crisp, the tree and the decorations come out. The cheesy ones that I've held onto from my childhood (that ancient plastic mistletoe wreath, for one) and the ones that I've introduced for my kids (a pile of holiday-themed books and photos from our holidays past. Oh and we can't forget Zed, our gimpy reindeer who is our very own Elf on the Shelf). The decorations that I've collected over 20 years of marriage, from the different places that we've traveled, and especially from our time in Germany.

And nobody celebrates Christmas like they do in Germany. It's an amazing festive season that literally takes over the country. The holiday Christmas markets in each town are a sight to behold; outdoor festivals of shopping (hand-made ornaments and other items) and eating (sauteed mushrooms and flammkuchen and strudel and sausages and brotchen) and drinking (gluhwein). We visited as many as we could and reveled in the festival atmosphere. There is no open container law so as we acclimated to the cold (and the gluhwein; it's a bit of an acquired taste) so we'd tote around flasks of Jaegermeister and Apfelkorn (delicious apple-flavored schnapps) to chase the cold.
The city hall (Rathaus) at Rothenberg
with the Christmas Market in full swing.

We spent an amazing four years in Germany and visited lots of different Christmas markets in lots of different cities. Of course, we never really thought to take many pictures--these were pretty normal occurrences over there, after all. 

And while we lived in Germany, we missed the States. I missed the conveniences, the little things that you become accustomed to. It made me take a lot of things for granted while I was there. In hindsight, there are a lot of things about Germany and Europe that were just plain annoying, but now I miss them. It's like anything you don't have any longer, you miss it when it's gone even if you didn't fully appreciate it while you had it.

But one of the things that we always appreciated is the way that Christmas was celebrated. And that leads into today's NaBloPoMo question: Do you speak more than one language?  How did you learn the additional languages?

I kind of do. I took 4 years of college-level German. (plus that semester in 7th grade. Part of our class work was to watch a short German movie and then write down five sentences about the movie, something we learned from it. Each time, the movie would open with the words "Guten Tag!" which was just sort of an introduction to the film. So a group of us in class always started our sentences with this one: 1. The name of the movie is "Guten Tag." Ahh, memories of being a smart ass, know-it-all 7th grader.) Oh and I also took a semester of Spanish in high school, plus the Spanish swear words (and a few Polish ones) that I picked up growing up on the south side of Milwaukee.

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