This one is with a happy ending. I think it was really difficult to fight off the festivity in a country that takes Christmas so seriously! The general aura of a gloomy, gray Hamburg, changed to one of celebration and excitement in anticipation of Christmas with the setting up of the Christmas markets and lights around the city. I experienced my first Advents calendar and we kept an Adventskranz at home- counting down four Sundays to Christmas Day. Mulled wine (or Glühwein in German) became everyone’s favourite drink- mine as well. My favourite version is Heiko made 🙂
I was forcefully taken the market in our tiny Harburg suburb when I finally shook off the bad and embraced the goodness! My first Christmas here was marked by mugs from every market I went to- in Harburg, Hamburg and Leer (Heiko’s hometown). I never thought that Germany could be so colourful and festive. I learnt about German cuisine, saw kids playing instruments, Russians in costumes, Germans with saxophones- all singing carols on the streets. Scores of people came out to eat, drink and be merry- but all still sincerely disciplined and walking on their right side so as not to disrupt any lines.
Heiko and I were also looking forward to making our Christmas video- something we wanted to give our family and close friends. It took a week to plan and an evening to shoot- equally fun and exhausting. Once we made it, we still had a week and half to be able to show everyone and I think that was more difficult than making it or shooting it!
We spent 24th and 25th at Hesel, with Mama. It was so much more exciting than I thought. Even though Heiko had the sniffles, we managed an evening of church, music and the best food! There was a tree and gifts underneath it. We exchanged gifts and hugs and thank yous before calling it a night.
We took a long walk into the forest, passing other families, petting some dogs, and worked up an appetite for a yummy fruit cake and tea. It was the first time since I got here that I’ve felt like I was home- doing things that you do with your family. So what if it wasn’t a white Christmas! I got to spend it with my husband and German Mama!
Today, as I write this on what is called the Second Christmas Day here, I think how lucky I am to be here – with family and friends almost all over the world who care enough to keep in touch- even if it’s only on birthdays and special occasions, reassuring that love beats distance. Now I can see that I have the best of both worlds- of living with so many cultures. Even though it can be frustrating, I can’t deny that it is enriching.
My love and hugs for India is on its way and hopefully reaches soon (please, India Post!) By then, Heiko and I would have made a trip to Amsterdam. (So excited!)
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!