Sunday, January 13, 2008

Merry Christmas

expat Christmas in Germany
Well, well, well... only about 20 days after Christmas and we've decided to tell you about it. It's cause we've been really busy... I swear! Well our holiday season got started a few days before our friend Chris Cooledge came to visit us. Knowing that he was visiting, along with my dad and granny, we figured we should maybe tidy up the place a bit. Lucky for us the apartment is quite small, so it got done in no time. We got ourselves a Tannenbaum (Christmas tree) and decorated the windows with cut out snow flakes we made made from German magazines. Now we were ready for some Christmas.

Cooledge got in Sunday morning the 23rd of December. As he requested, we were waiting for him when he got off the plane, Hefeweizens and all. It was really great seeing him, and the good ol' meat-headedness of the fraternity re-awakened itself from its dormant state. As you can imagine, Cooledge was a wee bit jet lagged, but he trooped through a tiny tour of Berlin throughout the day, and luckily hit his second wind late in the evening while watching football at our little bar named Salama's. A few beers and four Doners later, we were all sound asleep in our little Berlin apartment.

Thanks to our good ol' friend H2O, we were all ready to go by the time my dad and grandma landed safe and sound at Tegel. Before we were able to tell them hello, we were teased by a glass division in the airport which seperated us from them... I guess it was a little sample of what they would later see: The Berlin Wall. Finally having been let through customs and the glass encagement, we were able to give them hugs and get on our way into Berlin.

As they came on Christmas Eve, most everything was closed except for a few little mini-marts (that was kind of repetetive yes, "little mini-marts"). Luckily Ebe and I had planned a tasty little treat for a traditional German Christmas dinner: Goose, stuffing, Knoedel, gravy, Rotkohl, and for dessert: chocolate marble cake. It got rave reviews and needless to say, with Cooledge, my dad, and I, that goose was picked clean like a medievil torture victim left out for the birds. With all this and some champagne, Gluehwein, and beer, we had quite a jolly evening.

The evening was not over yet however. We thought it might be special if we were to attend a midnight mass at Berlin's most famous church, the Berliner Dom. It being Christmas Eve, the church was packed, but luckily we were able to find seats high in one of the many balconies. It was a really special experience being there. With the sounds of the choir singing traditional German Christmas songs, and the lovely baritone of my dad's and Cooledge's snoring, it's easy to say that it was a very special moment for me.

Christmas day the five of us awoke fairly bright and early and headed back to the area around the Berliner Dom to visit the Christkindlmarkts. My dad had been ranting and raving about seeing them, so we thought it only appropriate to try and get him his fair share as soon as possible. We visited about three on Christmas, and also got to see quite a bit of Berlin in the process.

Returning home all tuckered out from our day out on the town and in the Christmas markets, Ebe and I began the second of our culinary treats for our guests. Mouths watering, we made Wiener-Schnitzel, more Rotkohl, and German potato salad. Boy oh boy was it good!

After dinner and some conversation, we put granny to bed and headed down around the corner from our apartment to a tiny little bar. We actually had quite a good time mingling with the locals and learning how to play the crazy German slot machines that most bars and Doner stands have. We even got to take some funny pictures of a passed out Cooledge... I'm sure from the jet-lag and not drinking... ha! Needless to say we had a very fun Christmas, and we were looking forward to ringing (or should I say bellowing) in the New Year... but first, we had a little adventure in Prague. Be sure to "Czech" it out.

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We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008