I think we can all unanimously agree that 2016 was a generally shitty year. It was basically the Monday of the 21st century. It screwed me over as much as it did most of you reading this right now, so I decided to give it the good ol’ middle finger by ending it on my own terms and spending Christmas/New Year with a dear old friend of mine in a small German village that goes by the name of Nottuln.
And then Carrie Fisher died and the little Star Wars fan in me screamed, but we’re not going to talk about that. On to happier things!
I wouldn’t say that my Christmas was über traditional or über German as I’m sure that every household (German or otherwise) spends it differently, but I would definitely say that it was an entirely different experience from all of my past English Christmases.
The Christmas tree, for instance, was decorated on Christmas eve, then again it was a fairly small tree and three women were working on it so it wasn’t a hassle. On Christmas day, after opening our presents, we made our way into the kitchen and helped my friend’s mom with her homemade pasta. It was perhaps the greatest thing a pasta-obsessed individual could ever have and now I’m sad I didn’t take a picture of it, however I did remember to take a picture of the German cheesecake that came afterwards. Let me just say, mellonamin, that once you get a bite of German cheesecake it will ruin all other cheesecakes for you and you won’t even be sad about it. It is less sugar-y and significantly lighter because they use curd cheese to make it rather than cream cheese, and no matter how many slices you eat you’ll never feel sick or bloated, so whenever you’re in Germany do have a try of this beautiful masterpiece- preferably a homemade one, if possible!
The second greatest thing to happen to me while I was in Germany was snow. It started falling two or three days after Christmas, and by the time we woke up the grounds outside were covered entirely by a thick blanket of snow. While it may have been of inconvenience to people who had to drive to places, for a desert child it was the most beautiful, most magical thing to behold. We spent most of the day taking long walks in the forest nearby, and by ‘long walks’ I meant tripping too many times and nearly dying when we weren’t trying to ambush each other with snowball attacks, but in the end we made it back with zero casualties and many great pictures.
The days preceding New Year’s were spent with my friend’s family and friends. We met them for coffee which in Germany translates to coffee and cake at 3pm, so I pretty much ate my weight in cake and coffee in those few days but no one really goes back to the gym until January 1st anyway, so yay gluttony! On top of that I got to spend time with dogs, otherwise known as nature’s antidepressants- not that I needed any, of course. I was having a great time already, but the pups were definitely a great bonus! The only downside of those visits, I would say, was the language barrier. Our hosts were super sweet, but I couldn’t understand most of their German and they couldn’t understand most of my English, so we needed my friend to constantly translate for both sides, which I can’t imagine to be fun after a while. On the bright side, though, it did encourage me to pick up German again so hopefully I wouldn’t need my friend to translate next time I visit!
New Year’s eve was spent in a farm with more puppies, horses that liked to cuddle, and a fluffy black cat that couldn’t decide if she wants to scratch or cuddle you. One New Year tradition I found rather interesting concerned Dinner with One, a short, humorous 1963 film that I was told is watched by nearly all German households on New Year’s eve. The movie generally didn’t fair well, however it was and still is quite a big hit in Germany especially around New Year’s eve when it’s shown in nearly all channels at different times. Ironically enough Freddie Frinton, the actor portraying the butler, had a deep hatred of anything remotely German because of World War II, and as far as I know he’s never set foot in the country. He had refused to shoot the movie in German, and to this day the movie is shown in Germany in it’s original English version with respect to the late actor’s wishes.
The night was concluded with the usual stuff: champaign and fireworks, both of which I skipped in favour of cuddling a large boxer/labrador pup and a jittery dachshund that were afraid of the fireworks. All in all, it was one Christmas/New Year I’ll never forget! There was great food, beautiful scenery, CUDDLY ANIMALS, and amazing hosts that made me feel welcomed and comfortable despite the language barrier.
Finally, I’m happy to announce that there shall soon be an article on life in Germany from the perspective of a non-awestruck tourist, coming from the very same person that made sure I didn’t get lost or die in the forests of Nottuln. We just need to find her first!