Thursday, December 23, 2010

Vacation up until Christmas

School got out after the first three hours on Friday, and I was feeling pretty bummed out and scared about vacation. Three huge blank weeks filled with nothing but sitting at home having no friends. Thank goodness it hasn't turned out that way. Friday was filled with Christmas shopping and freezing out at night at the Weihnachtsmarkt with my sister and her lovely friends. Saturday I went to a birthday party of one of my sister's best friends, which was in fact a lot of fun. We ate mexican food and played games and chatted.

I was expecting to meet my other guest sister, who was coming back from University in France, but her train was late and I was asleep. So I met her Sunday morning. Sunday was an interesting day. Early in the afternoon we walked down the hill to another small part of the city and built a snow woman and walked through the snow in a sort of park area. Afterwards we went to coffee at some friends of my guest parents, which was nice, but awkward. I always get so red when I have to talk in front of a lot of people, and trying to explain the American college application process in a foreign language is no easy task. One exciting thing happened though-- I answered the house phone. Three times in about ten minutes. It was exhausting and nervewracking, and the next day when the phone rang I just let it go.

Monday was filled with Christmas shopping, cooking, and movie watching. It was nice. Tuesday I met up with some friends (American and her visiting friend, and our German friend) and went to see the movie Tangled. For those of you who don't know, perhaps, it is a new Disney take on the Rapunzel story. I found it really sweet. Afterwards I met up with my sister and more of her friends and we all went again to the Weihnachtsmarkt. I was very cold, having been outside already for hours, and I decided that I really do need winter boots. Frankfurt has more snow this year than practically anyone can remember, which means it looks nice but in fact you just have to walk through a lot of slush. No fun.

The next day I went Christmas shopping again (!!) and met up with an AFS USA hopee, who has applied for the scholarship that I am on. In German it's called 'PPP' (das Parlamentarische Patenschafts Programm) and in English it's called the Congress-Bundestag Scholarship. We walked through the Weihnachtsmarkt and around the river a bit, until I had to go home. It was quite nice. He asked me quite a few questions about America, which I did my best to answer, taking into account that the US is huge and could be quite different in other parts of the country. It is interesting to talk with him because he is Jewish, and his parents actually come from Israel, so he speaks fluent Hebrew. He told me about a Hebrew class which takes place every Wednesday at a sinagogue near the school I have my French class in. Of course I said I was game, and he's been super nice and is asking the teacher and director people if I can join after break. After all, what's another language? French, Spanish, German, a touch of Icelandic, a touch of Hebrew... I'm getting in touch with my heritage!

But this boy and this Hebrew class actually lead me to talk about something that I find rather ironic here. When I told people in the US that I wanted to go to Germany, some of them were shocked, and said things along the lines of 'OH my GOD, but you're Jewish right and you want to go to GERmany?? I mean like aren't you SCARed?' Well actually no, not at all, the Nazis were last century, remember? And in fact I have met more Jewish people here, and more knowledge about and respect for the Jewish religion, and more opportunities to participate in it and learn about it here, than I have ever seen in my rural home in the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave.

Otherwise, however, I'm pretty excited about experience my first Christmas. Besides all the shopping, and eating food at the Weihnachtsmarkt, I hadn't done all that much until today, when we went to pick out and cut our Christmas tree. We drove about a half hour out of the city, found the place by accident, and got the car stuck. In the process of pushing it out, I got mud splattered all over my gray corduroy pants, the only pants I have that aren't completely too small. Then we tromped all around through the snow and chucked snow balls at eachother, and finally settled on a good tree and drove back home. In the evening (after a touch of very last minute shopping) we went in the Theater. It was a quite interesting, and unique interpretation of Jesus' life. But it was cool, too, because my guest parents know the people who act there and run it all, and apparently my guest father even played a talking tree once, in a play about something from Schiller. That's all I could gather.

So tomorrow is Christmas in Germany, and I don't know what to expect but whatever it is I know it will be good! Gute Nacht, Frohe Weihnachten, and I hope you enjoy the pictures below!

Weihnachts Pl├Ątschen, so fatty and delicious...

Standing by our snow lady!

Trying to get the car in the right direction again. It took a while.

Cutting our final choice.

Cold, wet, and happy :D

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