A thick blanket of snow has been covering the city for about 3 weeks now and a new round is quickly settling in as I type. Something about snow is so peaceful and gentle. Perhaps this is because it falls so slowly, or rather dances in the air. The snow also reflects light and absorbs a fair amount of sound, so it transforms the city into a quieter and brighter place on these dark, short days.
Snow is also the reason for school to be cancelled for the rest of the week! Even Germany becomes chaotic during each big snowfall. The tracks of the trams and trains freeze over, and strangely enough, I've done more long-distance walking around the city in the snow than at any other time. I'm probably wearing like 5 sheep's worth of knitted clothes, so don't worry, I'm warm. :-)
With all the snow, sleds, and old buildings, many of our winter and Christmas fantasies from childhood are actually real here. And holy gekackte shit, IT'S NOT EVEN WINTER YET. I'm not sure how well I'll hold out after the novelty wears off. Sometimes, as some form of escapism, I listen to music from South America when I walk around town and pretend that I'm really far away in some warm and sunny place...
...And then I snap back into reality and gladly take part in some combination of the many traditions of a German winter and Christmas:
-Christmas markets with countless booths that sell presents, delicious baked treats (like Stoll and Pfefferkuchen) and, best of all, Glühwein (spiced wine)
-Let me repeat, Glühwein......
-Sledding downhill (and trying not to knock down the little kids)
-Ice skating (soon we can ditch the ice skating rink since the lakes will freeze soon)
-Advent is also very important here. Every household has a homemade advent calender with a piece of candy for each day between Dec. 1st-24th. Every kitchen table has an advent wreath made of holly branches and 4 candles. The candles are lit during meals and each candle represents one of the four weeks of Christmas
-January 6th was St. Nikolaus day. This is a funny holiday that is so German! Little kids who clean their shoes well on the 5th will wake up the next morning to find candy in their shoes as a reward.
-And let's not forget the