As they would say in Kenya when you've been away a while, "You've been lost!" We got back from our visit/vacation to the states on Sunday and have been recovering from jet lag ever since. Mr. Left is a pro, whereas I seem to have been bodysnatched by a hibernating bear. I mean, hello? I was the one that used to travel across time zones for work yet could not stay conscious for 15 minutes straight this entire week. I saw sunlight for the second time this week today (ok, considering where we live this is an achievement for anyone, but you get the point). I mean, it was so bad I could barely knit.
Now you know how truly dire this situation was.
But I am fine now and at least in the European time zones. So let me tell you what I have been up to during the wee bit of time I have been "with it" this week.
Weinachten Frohes Fest! (Or Christmas to you and me)
These people must think Americans celebrate Christmas in a totally inefficient way. We use too much paper to wrap all the gifts and don't really enjoy the season because of all the shopping, etc. I mean, because of various laws Americans can only drink in certain places and then there has to be a "DD", or designated driver, so someone can drive the drunk ones home. Well, if there was ever a reason to be pro-public transit, this is it: everyone can drink all the time anytime and get the tramdriver to take you home. I tell you, the Germans have enjoying Christmas down. I have not enjoyed Christmas for most of my life (yes, I am a bah-humbug), but this year I think I will actually like it.
Did you know Christmas as we know it comes from Germany? I was surprised, too. I vaguely remember an advent calendar and singing O Tannenbaum but not really knowing what the heck I was doing.
The other day I went looking for a christmas tree and only found these branches, called baum. That's when the song O Tannenbaum came into my head. Man, I thought, are these branches gonna be it? Come all the way to Germany for a Charlie Brown christmas?? The jury is still out on this. From what I have read, there is still a chance that a real tree may come right before xmas eve, but yeah, till then, just baum's. It's all advent in southern Germany because this is the Catholic region. I tried to go back to the flower shop today and get a *real* advent wreath with the four candles before tomorrow (the start of advent) but they were all out! Will try again tomorrow as there might be a procrastinators special :)
But at least I got some mistletoe. Or at least I think it is mistletoe.
All of this interesting fact-finding is what I love most about living in another country. This is where you discover just how weird your neighbors are. Don't think so? Imagine trying to explain the Easter Bunny to a rural Maasai bushman. No, really. Imagine it. With me?
So the Germans celebrate xmas very efficiently by having countrywide xmas markets for four weeks. Gluhwine (got alcohol with various spices and other alcohols served in ceramic mugs or boots) is served everywhere. You just take your mug from place to place for refills and shop the booths. Then you get on the carousels or ice skate and then, if you're not finished, you take it home with you on the streetcar and finish it when you get home. All very efficient. No alcohol wasted. No accidents. Boggles the mind. I tried to take a picture for you, but I left my memory card at home (had the camera), my cell phone was dead, and Mr. Left's phone was confusing. Took it as a sign to enjoy myself.