Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Week in Germany

We are finally back in Berlin and are slowly getting back to normal after spending Christmas week out of the house.

Last Friday, I went to the office, thinking I could get some work done before packing our bags to go to my parents' house for the holidays. I must have misunderstood the whole holiday schedule at the university. Apparently, if Christmas week is coming up, you don't go to work the Friday before - and if you do, you will regret every second of it, because the heat will be shut off in the entire building. No one was expected to show up there, so everyone who did, froze to their chairs and then left after a little while.

I wanted to attend a colloquium from 2-4pm, so I sat there in my coat for 8 hrs. Yay.

Afterwards, we took Lucy for her very first trip to the Christmas market. She did amazing on the train and is truly turning into an expert in taking public transportation. The subway was packed with people and at some point, she had large shopping bags and other peoples' coats pushed against her face, but Lucy just sat there and waited for this awkwardness to end.

Thankfully, the ride back was much more pleasant.

Sunday morning, Lucy got picked up to go on her doggy vacation. She spent the week with a dog sitter outside of town. Although I was really sad for her not to come with us, I was happy about this decision once we were on the bus.

There would have been no room for a dog there anywhere and she would have been miserable the entire ride.

At my parents' house, things were as relaxing and filling as usual. Despite all of her choir work and the concerts she was in charge of, Mama cooked up a storm and spoiled us all again. In fact, we went straight from the bus to the biggest concert she conducted. Nothing compares to those concerts and how they are setting me into the Christmas spirit. I remember being a little girl and sitting in church, listening, or being part of those events. It was very special for us to be there this year.

There are 3 Christmas days here in Germany: Christmas Eve (when we open all the presents after church and dinner), 1st Christmas day, and 2nd Christmas day.

Christmas Eve, it was just my parents, my younger brother and his girlfriend, my youngest brother, Nick, and myself. On the 1st Christmas day, all three of my brothers with their significant others and families were there. Then, on the 2nd Christmas day, my parents and I went to my uncle's house and spent the day with the extended family. Nick had to work, so he was unable to join us, unfortunately.

Basically, we ate 72hrs straight. It was glorious. (I will tell you more about the details of the feedings in a couple of days.)

Nick and I had planned to take the bus back to Berlin, but came up with the perfect plan to cancel the bus and rent a car instead, go to Cologne, spend a day there, and then drive back home in time for New Years. All this was said and done within hours. We picked up the car (a pretty fast Audi A3!), drove 2 hrs to Cologne and had the greatest time!

We even climbed up the Dom again. When we went there the first time, almost exactly a year ago. I truly thought I was going to meet Jesus on the way up. Almost 600 very steep, circular steps will do that to you.

Maybe it was due to the fact that I did no longer expect an elevator (lets not talk about me thinking that there was going to be some sort of apparatus taking us up the first time we went) that this year the walk up seemed to be much easier. It could also be the fact that all the Christmas food fueled me so well that I could do nothing but sprint up this building. Either way. It was a lot of fun, but not less scary to look down from the top.

The black spot is not a UFO, but the fence.

I made it up and down alive!

Now, we are all back together and in Berlin. Lucy fell in love during her Christmas vacation and misses her boyfriend, but aside from that, we are all doing well.

So much cuteness!

Of course, Nick and I are excited for the New Years celebrations in Berlin. We will see if they turn out as crazy as it is shown on YouTube…


I will leave you with this, the hope to not die in the firework craziness on the streets, and the best wishes for a healthy and happy new year.

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