My posts have become scarce recently due to several time consuming events: primarily recurring sickness with the girls and Christmas travel.
Christmas is a short week away already, which means I’m coming up on 3 months in Germany already. My visa is waiting for me to pick up, and since it arrived successfully with speed and ease, the rumor has been confirmed: that $200 German test I kind-of studied for all summer was pointless. (Thank you, America. Or German embassy. Actually I’m not even sure I know who told me to take that test anymore…. I only remember the proctor telling me after my test was complete that it is often mistakenly understood as necessary for a visa. **cue speechless face** That was a good moment. not. anyways..). I’ve learned so much over the past few months, and my list of stories continues to grow. Look for a Christmas Market blog, coming soon in the new year! As I settle in, things are not quite as new and exploratory as they were in that first month, but nearly every day brings with it something new or surprising. The past few weeks have been sick surprises. literally.
My job is nearly 24/7. Since I live in the house, I’m more a part of the family than an employee. I’m usually the first one up in the morning waking everyone and getting the girls dressed and fed and off to school. The only real set time off I have is at night, when I go off to my room and any crying babies are left to the parents until morning. Therefore nearly every morning this past week, I’ve been greeted with “someone’s been throwing up all night,” “someone’s running a fever,” “someone’s been coughing instead of sleeping all night,” or variations thereof. This results in my whole day being re-arranged since I am now home with a sick child instead of free for a few hours to do as I please. I’m not complaining, I still have plenty of time to myself- but it certainly makes schedule or routine nearly impossible.
I’ve been pre-occupied with Christmas too- visiting markets and planning my travels. I won’t be coming home for the holidays, but I will be with family of some sort. There’s a lot of laughter and conversation had with my host family, and I’ve been enjoying living with them. Despite this, I remain the only person who attends Church on Sundays or who practices any formal religion. I decided that for the feast of the birth of a Savior I preferred to be among people who could celebrate the same thing I was, and so I made definite plans to leave. One of the greatest blessings I have this year is that many of my friends are studying abroad, and since abroad typically means Europe, I’m able to see most of them. Tomorrow morning I will fly to Dublin, Ireland to meet a friend I made on NET 5 years ago, and I couldn’t be more excited!
Ireland was my original European destination. While Germany has proved amazing and probably more educational that I would have wanted to plan, I’ll always have a place in my heart for the green country up north and the music, dancing, and whiskey that comes with it. I’m thrilled to be going. We’ll be spending a few days in Dublin before we fly to Scotland. Both of these countries are home to communities of lay people like mine in Minnesota. While this is a bit complicated to explain, it suffices to say that I’ll be staying with people who I’ve never met but who live life by the same standards and principles by which I live mine; and this bonds us together in a particular way. Community has been a huge blessing in my life and is a huge part of who I am today, and it continues to offer opportunities as I travel abroad. I feel like I’m going to visit family.
My friend is studying in Rome, so we fly into Rome on the 22nd to spend Christmas eve and day in the great city. We have tickets to the vigil mass, so once again I find myself bombarded by awesome opportunities and am pretty excited to be diving into this season of hope in such wonderful company and country.
This post isn’t too interesting, I must sleep since I still need to get the girls up and off to school before I go to the airport, but I wanted to share my Christmas plans. Today I baked Raspberry-Chocolate-Chip cupcakes with the 4 year old, an activity she’s been looking forward to all sickly week. Now they’re sitting on the counter, forbidden until Saturday’s big party that I will not be here for. My Christmas cards are finished and waiting to be dropped at the post tomorrow morning, my gifts for the family are wrapped and sitting on my desk, and I’m completely packed in my tiny little carry-on. Mumford and Sons I Will Wait from my advent playlist is accompanying my last post here as I sign off until after Christmas. Wishing you all a very joy-filled season of Hope! and as we say here in Germany;