Happy New Year, y’all! I must admit it has been quite the adventure juggling school, holidays, and my recovering foot altogether! I am excited to inform you all my foot has officially healed, meaning I finally am allowed to wear a matching pair of shoes! (no high heels for a while though :P). Since we are already well into the new year, I would like to give a brief recap of the best moments from the final month of 2014. It was busy, exciting, stressful, painful, and adventurous to say the least.
So it was a bit sad to spend my first Thanksgiving away from home. Not only were the Americans away from home, we were also in a country that does not acknowledge Thanksgiving… like that would stop us. My roommate Jocelyn and I came up with the idea to have a potluck type dinner on Thanksgiving evening. It was absolutely perfect; honestly the best Thanksgiving I have had (shhh don’t tell my parents). The variety of food was incredible and was comprised of Chinese, German, Polish, and Traditional American food items. Take that Thanksgiving!
Nearing the end of November, once desolate areas tuned into gorgeous outdoor markets. I felt like I was in the North Pole. The markets were filled with hand made ornaments, antiques, nutcrackers, traditional Christmas cookies, bratwursts, and mulled wine.
Mulled wine was an interesting experience for me, as I despised it the first time I tried it. However, I remembered a guest speaker that visited an intercultural communications class in the very beginning of the semester. He mentioned how sometimes it takes one’s taste buds a few times to get used to a new food. I thought maybe he was just a picky eater. Then I had my encounter with not automatically enjoying a food at first try: gluhwein. Hot wine?! REPULSIVE!! I had never heard of such nonsense, and I did not understand why all my German and Polish classmates were so fond of the beverage. My first sip of it was what I thought my last sip of it.
I decided to give it another shot at the Christmas markets. After all, the mugs were beautiful. I found myself able to finish the glass and not find it absolutely painful. I was extremely surprised how my taste buds developed with time, and I was more surprised how I connected a classroom experience with my daily life abroad. Well played, professor.
I had no idea things would close so early on Christmas Eve. In the United States, most stores and shops are open until at least 8 pm because many people are last minute shopping and perhaps picking up a few cooking items and ingredients from super markets. I was in for a huge shock when I noticed how much of a ghost town Cologne turned into at exactly 2PM. (the image is me and the ghost town… so empty!!!)
It was actually pretty stressful because I had two friends from the United States come visit me for the holidays. We had planned on grocery shopping later that day, but we ended up having to utilize the food items I already had at home. Christmas day was quite different compared to my normal holiday celebrations. For one thing, my family was not there. Luckily Jocelyn and her two friends from the USA were around as well, and we all decided to have a pot luck type dinner together. Due to our lack of food and ingredients, my friends and I made a, ehhh, special noodle surprise with whatever was left in the fridge. I think it was a hit though since there were no leftovers. Even though it was not the most gourmet Christmas, it felt like home and I have no complaints.
Wishing everyone a safe start to the New Year!
Until next time,