Saturday, December 27, 2008

imaginary honey vanilla chamomile. [Weihnachten week]

My mother has a unacceptably non-existent tea stash in her house, a far cry from my own full to the brim tea drawer back in Montreat. I've bought some tea bags, but nothing can compare to my habitual honey vanilla chamomile in the evening before bed, so I am writing without my tea, devastatingly.
This week has been pretty wonderful. We traveled back to Regensberg on Tuesday afternoon and stayed through the evening, enjoying the numerous Christmas Markets whilst we wandered the cobble-stoned streets of the Altstadt of the city. We breathed in, then sipped on a few different cups of Glühwein, a wonderful mulled wine made in a variety of flavors, my preference being the Apfel Glühwein. We also dined on metre-long sausages, crêpes, so delicious. We milled around the main Christmas market in Regensberg for a good amount of time before we set off in search of a local Irish pub called Murphy's Law, which we had only be told of, not seen ourselves. My mother bravely asked numerous people in German where we might be able to find the pub, and only after asking about 5 different people did we get solid directions. We finally made it, and rewarded ourselves with pints o and nutella-bananaf our favorite drinks, mine being a Black Velvet, a wonderful combination of Guinness and Strongbow Hard Cider. We spent a couple hours there, talking, eating, drinking, and just generally reveling in the good company of each other before we set off to the parking garage to make our way home. It was a wonderful evening. Christmas in Germany is something everyone should experience--it's magical.
Christmas Eve was a relatively lazy day until I was forced to make dinner for everyone. Juuust kidding, I jest, I volunteered to make my homemade macaroni and cheese with kielbasa sausage and granny smith apples, because I have decided that it will be my traditional Christmas Eve dinner for my own family. It turned out well, and there were appreciative grunts of tastiness heard round the table. We didn't end up really doing anything but watching random Christmas movies on TV, but it was great being with family none the less. Christmas morning was highlighted with my mother's wonderful traditional Christmas breakfast casserole and strawberry butter, and of course our respective gifts to one another were all fantastic as well. We ended up playing a family game of Trivial Pursuit Christmas evening, which I won for the first time in my life. My mother usually reads the cards in her spare time, and that paired with her already trivia and knowledge packed brain is always a tough contender. Though my mother claims she hasn't read the cards in years, it was still a tough game. We enjoyed white wine Glühwein while we played. After quiting early due to my father's heavy eyelids, I was in the lead, and was consequently declared the winner--though I think my mom probably would have ended up winning in the end.
The past few days we more lazy days, though yesterday my mother made her wonderful Christmas dinner for us--which she can get away with doing on December 26 in Germany because they celebrate it as Second Christmas Day, like Boxing Day in the UK. We also began watching the spectacular documentary, Planet Earth, produced by BBC, which is absolutely amazing. We watched one disk yesterday, and another today--neither ceased to amazing me with almost every frame.
Today my mom had to work, but my dad took Jeremy and I to a few local wonders. First we took the backroads for about 45 minutes to Kallmünz to see the burg, or castle, up on the hill above the city. After an near-embarrassing trek up the steep, sometimes not so there, stairs up the hill, we made it to the ruins. They were amazing. The masonry, though crumbled, has lasted for more than 500 years. Just running your hand along the aged stone makes you wonder what these stones would tell if they could, what have they seen--battles, love affairs, treachery, peaceful family feasts, weddings, who knows what else those walls have seen in their antiquated years? It was great fun exploring and frolicking among the ruins and in the fields in the courtyard. Jeremy and I love experiencing these sorts of things together, him for the stone masonry, me for the imaginary stories, and both for the history. It was wonderful.
We also went to a very old, very large, very cold church attached to a monastery which was also very humbling and amazing to behold. We walked somberly around inside the great sanctuary of the church, investigating more interestingly old things, as well as pretending to confess in an beautifully carven confessional--no worries, we did nothing heretical (in our theology, at least). We finished off the lovely, yet chilly, day with a small meal in the restaurant attached to the monastery, which was delicious as usual.
I'm not completely sure what our schedule looks like for the next week or so, but I do know that my Dutch sister, Fabienne, is coming for a visit which I am very excited about, we are planning day trips to Rothenberg and Prague which I am also very excited about, and also Jeremy and I will be spending afew days with Meghan, my sister-in-law, in Heidelberg which, you guessed, I am very excited about.
I'll catch up sometime next week if time allows.


Monday, December 22, 2008

rooibos vanille tee. [arias and rainy silhouettes]

Last night was so wonderful. My parents, Jeremy and I traveled into Regensberg last night, which is a larger city only a short drive away from little Velburg. We met some of my parents friends and caravaned to the center of the Altstadt, Old City, to park in a massive underground parking garage. From there we walked to the square in front of what seemed like a huge church-- until you looked up to the left to see the truly towering spires of the ancient cathedral of Regensberg, lit from the bottom, giving voice to every nuance of the experienced stone and carvings colored with the years of history passing. There in the square, a traditional Christmas market was in full swing, though it was lightly raining, no amount of inconvenient precipitation prevents the Germans from celebrating Christmas right--and as it was, neither did it prevent our party from enjoying our evening out, and it surely made for some beautiful photographs. After sipping on the customary beverage of every Weinachtsmarkt, called gluhwein, a piping hot mulled wine with a purpose to warm your body and your mind, we milled around the stands of gifty wares and tasty treats, stopping for a nutella banana crepe. Soon enough we made our way back to the Dreieinigkeitkirche in which the concert of our primary purpose for being in Regensberg was taking place. Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a Weihnachtsoratorium, which is a concert of both orchestral and vocal beauty based on the Christmas story as told in the Gospel of Luke. It was such a beautiful concert, the acoustics in the kirche were so perfect. The chorus and the soloists were all quite wonderful vocalists, but it was the orchestra that had my heart skipping beats. The sound washed over the audience in a wave of notes and sounds that stayed the heart. At one point, as the music swelled, it filled the room so that there was literally no room to move--all I could feel was music, I could hardly breathe, I didn't want to break the wonderful tension that the soul of Bach created with his passionate composition.
Though the music was so beautifully distracting, it wasn't quite enough once the cold began to creep its way into the church, and slowly began to make its way up my body--I tried to stifle by putting on a woolen hat, as I pulled my scarf closer around my neck. But it got the better of me, and I was glad when the concert ended and we could walk over to a warm brewery to have a hot dinner and a hearty drink. Each restaurant in Germany is so unique, there are virtually no chain restaurants, so everywhere you go is something new and different, and almost always as wonderfully enjoyable.
Speaking of dinner, we are away to have some now. I'll catch up tomorrow or the next day.



Saturday, December 20, 2008

apfel vanille tee. [tag zwei]

So it's day two for Jeremy and I here in Germany, and we're both pretty tired still, quite happy to be here but the jet lag is still lingering over our heads, making our eyelids just a but heavier than normal. Here's a photo of my parents view from their window, and also a shot of the main street (haupt strasse) of their little village, Velburg.
We woke up this morning to the delightful smell of bacon sizzling on the stove and snow falling outside. My parents had made us breakfast, so kind of them. Today was more of a lazy lay around day because the temperature rose steadily through out the morning causing it to rain more than snow. We had planned to go to a Christmas Market or Weihnachtsmarkt in Hexenaggar, but because it was raining and the market is outside we decided it wouldn't be worth it. It was disappointing, but we'll have other opportunities to go to either that Weihnachtsmarkt or others. We sat around for most of the day, reading or playing Wii with my parents--my mom is remarkably good at bowling on the Wii.
Tonight, however, we went out to dinner at a local German restaurant called Winkler Braustuberl which is also a brewery and hotel. It was so nice, and the food was geschmeckt, which means YUM! Jeremy and I both got a roasted venison, with spatzle and nudeln garnished with half a pear filled with cranberry like berries. The photo is of my plate--I barely remembered to take a photo of it before I began gorging myself on its delectable flavors. Jeremy was going to get wild boar, but they were out of it. Anyway, the dinner was so delicious--I'm still full.
Tomorrow evening, after church, we're planning on going to Regensberg to see a Bach Oratorio in 100s of years old cathedral, so hopefully I'll have some more photos the next time I post.


Friday, December 19, 2008

chai tea. [in Deutschland]

I really did mean to write a short "I'm going to Germany!" post before I left, on the request of the pixie, but I ran out of time. But now all you lovely readers are just yearning to hear of my travels. Well, yearn no more.
Firstly, let me say that Jeremy and I are safely in Germany, at my parent's lovely house in Velburg, set up on a hill which overlooks the enchanting village that stretches into a gorgeous landscape of rolling hills and fir forests.
Though everything in Germany has been gorgeous so far, everything dusted with a layer of fine snow, the trip here went far less beautifully. It started out well enough, with a drive from Asheville to Charlotte with Rachel in Baquito (Rachel, I apologize for murdering the spelling of your car's name.) Even getting through security at the airport and waiting for our flight went smoothly, as I wrote in my journal, pretending to pen brilliant things. Once we were on the plane, it was a different story completely. Jeremy and I were unfortunately separated by an aisle, he has an aisle seat next to a British man by the window, and I has an aisle seat next to an Indian father traveling with his wife and daughter. That was upsetting, but what made it even worse was that we were some of the last people to board the plane, and so my carry on bag was in the overhead compartment about three rows behind me. This turned out to be a problem when I went to get out my book and ipod from my backpack; I tried to get everything out without taking my entire bag out of the compartment which would then cause other people's precariously placed bags to come tumbling out, and also risk my huge water bottle to come crashing down upon the lady below me. As it happened, while I was trying to find Wolfskin at the bottom of my bag, a jacket that belonged to the lady below me fell out and into the aisle, not on to anyone, mind you. The lady gave a huge huffy sigh, and looked up at me and said all snarky, "Why don't you just take your bag back to your seat, instead of just digging through it above my head?" At which point I said, taken aback, "I trying to avoid anything large from falling out on to you." She snapped back, "Yeah, well that's what I'm worried about." She was so rude, and I was so stressed already because I wasn't sitting next to my husband, that I just grabbed my ipod--no book because the only one I could frustratingly manage to find was Foxmask, and I tore back to my seat fighting back tears which came in full force as soon as I sat down in my seat--too far away from Jeremy for my liking. I refused to go back there, so Jeremy went and got my book for me later in the flight, flashing her a sarcastic smile as he rummaged above her head. I love my husband.
We also had to sit about an hour and a half in the plane because we were too heavy to take off on the runway we had been originally assigned, and to wait for a longer runway would have been a two and a half hour wait--so they unloaded some of our cargo. Jeremy and I were secretly hoping they would unload the drunkenly loud girl from Chicago that had been annoying our eardrums for hours at that point, but alas, no luck. Anyway, once in the air the flight went really well, even though the Indian man next to me was blaring his music that entire flight that all sounded remarkably like "The Nipple Song" (look it up on youtube, I promise it's not scandalous.)
Now that we're here, and have now taken a nap because we just couldn't help it, I feel better because the flight is behind me-- I am going to request that someone switch seats with either Jeremy or me so we can sit together on the flight back. My parents house is wonderful; I'm so happy for them. Kitty is fat and lazy, and makes me miss Cael because he's so much more friendly than Kitty.
So, within the next couple days I post again with some photos, and more stories--hopefully not so traumatic.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

honey vanilla chamomile and chocolate milk. [finished]

To clarify my title, I am drinking chocolate milk (PET, the best!) right now, as I wait for the kettle to boil. Then I will be drinking honey vanilla chamomile tea, yum.
I am writing again at the request of my dear friend, Laura. She misses my writing, and that makes my heart warm.
You know what I'm going to do tonight? Completely relish in the fact that I have no homework to stress about, rejoice that I have reworked the photos I needed to rework, AND sent them off this afternoon, be anxious that I'm giving a speech the day after tomorrow, and read what ever I want, and crochet as much as I want. That's right, I am officially finished with my undergraduate studies, and I seal the deal at commencement on Saturday. I don't know if I'll continue on with graduate studies, if I do it'll be later. Or I could take the urging advice of my beloved professor Paul Owen and become a theologian right away. I'll always continue studying the Bible, but I'm not sure if I want to do graduate work on it. I think if I do continue on, it'll be in either Graphic Design, Photography, or perhaps Creative Writing. But who knows?
Ahh, now I have my tea. This feels better. These past two weeks have been a blur, not only have they gone by fairly fast, but I've been sick and on constant cold medicine of some kind. It's hard to believe that I'm actually done with college. It's gone by so quickly. It feels like just the other day that I was 18 and unsure of who I was, and now I'm married and well on my way to becoming the woman that God wants me to be. Montreat has been so good for me, in so many different ways. My life has changed in ways I could have never imagined, and I'm so thankful that God has had his hand on my life the way he has. He's always got plans for me, and whether they're my own as well or not, I know that they are what is best for me, and best for my future.
I shudder to think of living this life on my own, not only not knowing what's coming up around the corner, but not having a benevolent Father who loves me looking out for my well-being. This world would be a oppressively depressing place without my knowledge of my God. If I were the ultimate maker of my own destiny, I know I would royally screw it up. I am just so glad that no matter how stupid I am, or what kind of a mess I make, God is always right behind me, ready to help me pick up the pieces and keep on walking the path.
Pray for me as I take another big step into adulthood and pursue a full-time job. Pray that God reveals his plan for Jeremy and I sooner rather than later, and pray for discernment, so we know that our plans are really from God, and not just from our own selfish desires. Thank you all for your support during my last semester, it has helped and meant more to me than you know.

Almost graduated,