Sunday, December 18, 2011

Frohe Weihnachten! Markets, Parties, & Glühwein...

Before I talk about the super fun Christmas Markets, I must finally post a few pictures from Thanksgiving. It was an international Thanksgiving to go with my current position at an international school. We had 7 Americans (it was OUR holiday, after all), 2 Spaniards, 1 German, and 2 Canadians. We laughed a lot and it was one of my most fun Thanksgivings ever. My cooking skills were put to the test because my oven is so incredibly small.

I precooked turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce and then stuffed them inside a pastry shell (store-bought because I'm not a masochist!) to make Turkey Wellington. It was really delicious and a pretty good idea for leftovers (or the main meal if you cook in an easy-bake oven!).

So, here are a few pictures from our 'Merican Thanksgiving. Our biggest issue was not enough chairs. Fortunately, right before the dinner began, there was a random chair out in the hallway of my apartment building. Ask and ye shall receive, right? HA!

Lauren working on the mashed potatoes. No messing up the manicure!

The German version of my Thanksgiving Wellington before cooking.

The American Version. Was pretty good. Still needed gravy though!
This was my first time making gravy! Didn't even have to call my parents for guidance...just a quick pre-cooking phone call! Pretty proud of myself! 

Our lovely international party!

Dessert begins and the laughs continue.
I love this picture since something must have been REALLY funny!

The last month in Germany has been quite delightful, once the narrative report cards were done.  I will admit that I have had complete ADHD since they were due and have been only mildly focused on my job since then. Instead, I have entertained myself with trips to the Weihnachts Markt...the Christmas Markets.

The lighting of the tree back in November.

Glühwein is mulled red or white wine. It is delicious, especially when a bit of Amaretto is added. Standing out in the cold is so much better with a mug of glühwein in your hand! I am really going to miss them after Christmas is over since it is so fun to just pop downtown and walk through the lights with a mug of glühwein.

Everything is lit up for Christmas.
This sign says "Welcome to the Old Town."
Not too different from downtown Fort Collins when you get right down to it!
(Big difference...Fort Collins wasn't blown to pieces in WW2!)

Light that hangs all over the "blue" Christmas market.
All of the stalls are lit in blue at this market.

The beautiful lights of one of the markets right in downtown Düsseldorf.
The markets go from the last weekend in November all the way through to Christmas. 

Drinking from a boot with Lauren!
PS- I got about 7 inches cut off my hair a few days after this.
No more braids for me!

Opening night of the markets with Takayo and Tina.
After a few of these glühwein, one feels the need to do some teeth brushing since it is quite sweet!
Besides the glühwein, I love just walking around and seeing all of the crafty stuff for sale. I'm not religious but I sure love Christmas decorations. 
German village replicas. So cute!

Frohe Weihnachten means Merry Christmas in German!
You can see why I love going to the markets so much! And, these were only the ones in Düsseldorf! They are literally everywhere. But, I am not very motivated to walk around the outdoor markets when it is really rainy...the Colorado in me hates rain so I didn't quite make it to another town...there's always next year.

Last weekend, our school had the annual Christmas party. WOW! Working at a private school sure is different! The party was at a ballroom at the Radisson hotel. Basically, it was like going to someone's wedding but without a wedding. It was great fun and we all danced the night away to pretty much the worst band of all time...or the best band if you like cheesy, terrible musics from the 70s & 80s. Or, it would have been perfect music for the third wedding of two people in their mid-50s! 

Another occasion to wear my favorite dress!
Our "office" Christmas party!
So now, I have 2.5 days of school left. I fly back to the good 'ole USA on Thursday. I cannot wait for some free diet coke refills that are filled with ICE! Last weekend we went to the movies and my giant drink had no ice. I think that I could live in Europe for the rest of my life and never get over the lack of ice in drinks! 

Of course, I am SUPER excited to see my family and some of my friends. It will be a short trip home but I'm really looking forward to it!