A Weinachts Blog4:27 AM
“See yooo latah aligatah!” I could barely control the hearty chuckle that rose to my throat as some older Germans next to me attempted this famous catchphrase. Yet again I find myself sitting in a Wuerzburg café surrounded by some rather interesting company. A couple of Lesbians that look disturbingly twin-like chat away while various couples so “in liebe” stare deeply into each others eyes and I thank my lucky stars they do no more. (Germany is infamous for its’ rampant pda) A group of women toting a random sheep dog find a corner nook to gossip in. Dogs are perfectly acceptable in many if not most restaurants here. Yes, it’s an altogether varied collaboration. Thinking back to my last blog post consisting of Wuerzburger café culture, I realize, yet again, how much has changed in just a few short months. These past few months Wuerzburg has entirely turned itself inside out. Where once resided golden hills with multi colored trees sporting all shades of red, brown and a deeply intense gold, they are now united by a single, crisp sheet of the cleanest white. One can almost see God hanging out his freshly cleaned laundry. Chunky snowflakes, falling slowly outside the window accent the subtle candlelight and silently confirm that not one has a twin. Breathing a short but contented sigh, I sip my hazelnut cappuccino and take in a wee bit of a real non- Californian Christmas.
The Germans certainly know how to do party or “feiern”. The first tidings of the season were brought by about three hundred children walking giddily albeit germanly down the street carrying numerous sorts of brightly lit lanterns in remembrance of St. Martin or some other saint who did something for somebody at one time or another. Within a week a huge Christmas market or “Weinachtsmarkt” was erected right in the middle of town. Carrying all sorts of German delicacies ranging from fascinating handmade wooden toys, to boiled, sugar coated nuts called mandeln this is the place to be. Teeming hordes of Germans daily make their way to this cultural wonder under the artifice of buying gifts or meeting friends but in reality the draw is the Gluwein. I, quite touristically, made my way through the market not noticing the stuff until I saw what appeared to be a large German man doing the unthinkable. He was laughing! Naturally, I stopped to investigate this unnatural phenomenon. It was then that I noticed the steaming cup of red liquid in his hand and after coming the conclusion that it was either blood imported via Transylvania or some alcoholic beverage, I sauntered on only to find yet another group of jolly Germans! The stuff really is magic in a cup. The Germans not only celebrate Christmas on Christmas day although that is really more the 24th for them, they also celebrate every day leading up to that! Nearly every home has a wreath with four candles in which one is lit every Sunday leading up to Christmas. For homes with kids, or those of us who take any opportunity to legitimize eating candy, there is an Advent’s Kalendar. This calendar consists of 24 small stockings stuffed with goodies to be opened every day up till Christmas. My German roommates have quickly gotten used to the squeals of delight when it is the American’s day to open a stocking. But these are only a few of the many German traditions surrounding Christmastime. So, although this time of year, it takes all of my willpower not to buy the next plane ticket home to have just one more American Christmas, I am ever so thankful to be here. And as I look outside Café Mozart (cliché to say the least) at the bustling city and the crazy Germans peeking nosily in the window, and making that second too long of eye contact they are so well known for, I realize that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. And in that moment I find relief, that and amusement as yet another dog enters the café.