I am going to post some pictures as well and summary of events for both all of you and myself. I was not as good at journaling as I would have liked to have been while in Europe. Little L. and I left on Saturday December 20, 2008 and arrived in Hamburg, Germany Sunday December 21, 2008. We had no weather delays but sat on the tarmac for two hours prior to our flight due to a broken plane in front of us. My trip over was how shall I say... miserable. We had two children behind us who proceeded to kick the back of our seats for the full seven and half hour flight. All bratty children aside we made it safely and I was more than happy to see my sister and her husband. I would also like to take a moment to say that for us codey's flying really is a brilliant lesson in letting go. I mean talk about the lack of control. I nearly had an anxiety attack waiting for my luggage to come. What an awful feeling that is. Sitting there watching everyone Else's luggage drop out of that little hole. All in all no lost luggage and safe trip to my sisters apartment about an hour away in a town called Bremen, Germany. It is an adorable little city with above ground trams and a river running through it. It is actually the town that Becks Beer is produced. We took a tour of the brewery the second week of our trip. The process is actually pretty cool.
***So that everyone has some clue-- I have curly hair (in most of the pictures) and I am the oldest of the three. OK is middle child and is tan (she goes tanning because its the only way she can deal with the lack of sun in North West Germany) and Little L. is obviously the youngest and the one with the incredible green eyes. Chatzy (which means honey or darling in German- and the nickname that we chose and he cant live down) is basically the only male you will see in all of the pictures. Lucky him ;)
I had never seen OK's apartment before, so it was nice to put a visual with all the explanations. They have a cute modern one bedroom about a five minute walk from the city. We had lunch, took a nap and in the evening headed out to the Christmas market. The Christmas markets in Germany are amazing. They start at the end of November and last all the way until Christmas eve. They construct houses filled with food, drink and shops. Each night everyone meets at the market to eat, drink, and enjoy time with friends and family. We spent three nights in total at the markets eating Bratwursts, potato pancakes, fried fish, chocolate and this great wine drink called Gluewhein. You heat red wine and then set flame to sugar cane and pour rum over the cane. Everything melts together to create a hot, sweet, killer of a hangover drink. Little L. and I met many of my sisters friends. A few of them, she teaches English to and they were excited to practice their skills with us. It was a nice treat for me because I was able to actually speak and understand someone. Much of the trip the four of us were only able to communicate with each other. You have no idea how tiring that gets sometimes.
Christmas eve we went to Chatzy's moms house. We started eating at 3PM and didn't finished until almost 10PM. I thought I might pop. It is German custom that you eat dessert first on Christmas Eve. Mama makes this delicious baked apple that she cores and fills with marzipan, raisins, sugar and nuts. There is a picture of it that above. After dessert hour we toast and chat. Then there is the cheese plate and presents. They use real candles on their Christmas trees. It is truly beautiful. The first candles are gold and then red there after. Finally, after presents comes dinner. We enjoyed a spread of Mediterranean food and happily put our traditional new pajamas on... finally crawling into bed after 11PM. Christmas morning brought another spread for brunch and then we rolled ourselves to the car in order to drive home to have our own "American Christmas" with gifts from each other and my mom. We decorated the tree, opened presents in turn, sang Christmas songs, made dinner and opened stockings. We all missed my mom very much, but we made a video of us and will send it to her to watch. It was an especially special Christmas because the three girls were together as adults. I was able to purchase special presents for each of them and it felt good to be able to spend money and not have to worry about bouncing my rent check. I feel grateful that I am finally in a place where I can give to myself and others.
We all chipped in to make Christmas dinner which was lamb, German dumplings, brussel sprouts and salad. We watched 'Friends' together and headed to bed at a reasonable hour because we had to catch a flight to Milan, Italy the next day. I think I will stop there for today. Italy is an interesting adventure and I think best left for another day.
My trip also included an overload on my self-esteem, a struggle to follow program in the midst of two weeks without meetings, tolerance of four adults living in a one bedroom apartment and a whole hell of a lotta time with family. I love my sisters very much, I would die for them, but let me tell you sometimes I really wanna kill them myself. It taught me acceptance and tolerance- and lack there of tolerance at some points. The trip brought out some of my best qualities and some defects that need to be changed. I have come to see that my self-dialogue with and about myself is not really so good. Now it is up to me to try to change that.
Today I am grateful for:
The opportunity to spend time with my sisters and to go to Europe
One day at a time