Many people would find it hard to be away from family during the holidays. I wouldn’t say hard, just different. I am thankful that I was able to experience the holidays in another culture, not many people ever get that opportunity.
Christmas Holiday Update:
For those who do not know Christmas as we in America know is not the same in Germany. Here it is Christmas Eve that is the “big day.” Christmas Eve is when everyone opens their presents and eats until they can’t anymore.
On Christmas Eve, I went to church in town and then got ready to go to my host grandparent’s house for the big celebration. After the tiring walk two houses over to my host grandparent’s house it was almost time to eat. First we talked in the living room while my host grandma finished preparing the food. At 6 o’clock we ate. We had potatoes, turkey, cucumbers, hot red cabbage, more potatoes, gravy, and green beans. My host grandma is Danish and my host grandpa is German, therefore Christmas traditions are a mix between German and Danish. Dessert was a Danish tradition. We had milchreis, but made with cream instead of milk. The dish also had little pieces of almonds as well. We also had strawberry sauce. Somewhere in the dessert is a whole almond. Whoever gets the almond in their dessert is supposed to hide it in their mouth until everyone is finished eating. This year, I had the almond and got a nice little gift because of it. After dinner we got ready to open the presents. Everyone was given a die and then we took turns rolling the dice. If you rolled a 1 or a 6 then you got to pick one random present out from under the tree and then give it to whomever it belonged to. I really like this method because the process took much longer and wasn’t over and done with in ten minutes. After we opened all of the presents we got ready to play bingo. If you won, you got another small gift. I won 5 times! Afterwards we headed home.
Christmas was nothing special, which was obviously different. I woke up and went on a run with my host dad and host mom. Then we played board games. I also prepared a pumpkin pie crust for dessert for the second day of Christmas. On the 26th, I woke up early and helped prepare food for our guests that were coming over later in the day. One of the dishes I prepared was a homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream. It was a total success. After three(+) hours of preparation, my host dad’s parents and his aunt and uncle came over. We watched Flesnburg vs. Kiel in handball. It was a very intense game, and Flensburg pulled off the win against the number one team, Kiel.
On Friday I biked 5km while Mary ran, and then we switched. Afterwards, I cleaned my room and packed for our trip. On Saturday we left very early in the morning for our vacation in Bavaria! After 8 hours we finally made it. We stayed in a vacation apartment in the bottom of someone’s house. It was very old fashioned, but very nice. On Saturday evening we went on a walk around the town and played cards. On Sunday we headed up to the mountain. We took the lift up to the top and had hot drinks at the restaurant. Then I snowboarded by myself for three hours. It was absolutely perfect. The rest of my family needed lessons and there wasn’t enough snow at the bottom of the hill to have a lesson. On Sunday night we headed back up to the mountain for a festival with a live band, food stands, and fireworks. On Monday and Tuesday we drove thirty minutes to a much higher mountain that had plenty of snow.
My host dad, brother, and Mary took lessons, and I snowboarded up on the mountain. Again it was fabulous. On New Years Eve we played cards and shot off little fireworks. At 12 we went outside and watched fireworks that people shot off from their homes in the valley. On Wednesday we went to Prague. Then on Thursday and Friday we went back to the big mountain and snowboarded. Today we drove back home to Flensburg, and we start school back up on Monday.
I would say that this has been a fabulous winter break!