Sunday, November 21, 2010

Celebrating in a New Land

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving with new friends. Although we were sad to be away from family and friends back home, we were excited to be celebrating with our new German friends and fellow expats. It was fun to be celebrating with people that had never experienced a Thanksgiving dinner and were excited to try these American treats. We were able to make just about every Thanksgiving staple except for pumpkin pie. Eating pumpkin is a fairly recent concept here in Germany and they do not sell canned pumpkin. I should mention that we had everything on the menu above including a chocolate caramel cake and a sweet potato pie. Needless to say, the eleven of us were stuffed and thoroughly enjoyed every bite.
Phil and I are so grateful for all that God has provided for us during our time here in Germany.

The girls cooking and explaining in the kitchen.

We were asked to explain what went into each dish and how they could recreate it at home. One of the girls even stated, "wow, this is just like in the movies".

The table.

The Feast (60% of it).

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

He might take more than your cookies

I think that Germans might view Santa as a burgler. As I rode around my little town yesterday I noticed several large plastic Santa's scaling up the sides of buildings. I then realized that all of the Santa's that I had seen recently were either climbing up the sides of buildings or pulling themselves into windows. This seems a little creepy to me. Upon further inspection I noticed that the large burlap sacks that they were carrying were completely empty. This struck me as I am use to seeing Santa carrying a bag full of toys. There can only be two explainations for this. Either they are bringing burlap sacks for the little boys and girls or they are preparing to leave with more than what they came with.

As time goes by I am learning more and more about this culture.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Apfels und Bananen

This weekend was filled with studying, frisbee and the chance to try out two new restaurants. Although I love traveling, sometimes it is just as much fun to stay in town and enjoy our life here. The highlight of the weekend was Friday night at Sax. Phil and I decided to have a date night and try out a new restaurant that we pass on our bikes every day. It was a cold and raining evening, one of my favorite kinds, and we arrived at the restaurant early enough to snag a window seat. The food was excellent and the entertainment was even better. We had brought one of our favorite games, banana grams, to play while we waited for our food to arrive. Between watching people run in the rain outside our window, conversation and our game, we were set for the night. We both really appreciated the fact that servers here rarely rush customers while dining. It is a slow experience, which was perfect for our night out.

The view from our window.

We are very excited about what is coming next.

Apfelstrudel in Apfel Sahnsauce (apple strudel in an apple cream sauce).

If you look closely you can still see the remains of banana grams around the plate. We quickly stopped playing when the dessert arrived.
We had a wonderful time together and with friends this weekend and we will definitely be back to this spot.

I look forward to blogging again this weekend with pictures of our German Thanksgiving party.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The New Normal

I am realizing now that some of the differences of life over here will not hit me until we return home. I came to this conclusion while riding my bike this morning. I needed to pick up a pair of workout pants at H&M today. This was my experience....

I bundled up and headed out to the bike rack to grab my bike. While riding off I passed four cafes, on our street alone. I am starting to notice some of the regulars that sit outside, under blankets and sip coffee. I then turned onto the main street and carefully darted around all of the other people on bicycles (the riders are pretty aggressive over here). I past two accordion players and then a three man 80's cover band playing on a busy corner. After riding a little bit further I passed the fifth bakery on my route which just happened to be baking shortbread filling the air with a rich buttery smell. It took everything I had not to stop and sample a small piece. I should add that this all occured in the 1.5 miles that I biked to the store.

As I arrived at H&M I was greeted by an older gentleman playing the bagpipes. It was beautiful and so I sat on a bench and listened for a few minutes. Once I walked into the store I walked straight to the workout section. H&M is one of the cheapest shops on this particular street and it is always packed. I grabbed a pair of pants and got in line. The line was long but I did not mind since there was so much to see. I am often amused by German fashion, especially when that fashion includes lederhosen and dirndls. On this particular day there were two older men in line in front of me wearing lederhosen. I love that some people still dress in this attire, even when there is no festival in town. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes I checked out and grabbed a pretzel, using my limited German vocabulary and rode home.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's Time!

Christmas is here!

As I mentioned earlier, November 1st is the day we decided to start decorating our flat for Christmas. Little did I know that November 1st is also the same day that everyone else starts hanging lights. The fronts of department stores and various trees are now covered in blue, pink and yellow lights. I guess when you do not celebrate Thanksgiving it just makes sense to start the festivities ASAP.

We are now in full Christmas mode. We put up our tree to Christmas music and hung the stockings in the kitchen.

Our stockings hung with care.

Our little nativity scene.

We pretty much decorated everything that was nailed down.

Our tree. The presents underneath the tree are empty boxes. I wrapped them so that I could easily sneak Phil's gifts into the bottom of each box without disturbing the paper.

Happy Holidays!