Halloween and Back to Bremen

I honestly cannot believe that it is already November. The time is really flying by and it is crazy to think that I only have about 6 weeks left here. I remember thinking that 3 1/2 months sounded like an eternity before I came, but now it is starting to feel like I don’t have enough time left. It is also scary to think that I only have one semester left at A&M after this and then I will be done with college. I feel like I just graduated high school sometimes and I do not know how the last 3 1/2 years have gone by so quickly. The real world is quickly approaching, but I do still have time left here and at A&M and I am going to be sure to enjoy it as much as I can!

This was a nice weekend and I enjoyed not having to rush through a weekend trip to another country. I stayed in Germany this time, but hey I am still in Germany! Plus, my brain needed a break after last week. I survived the rapid-fire school assignments, though, and thankfully this week I do not have a test (though I do have to do my first oral presentation on Wednesday and I am sure we will have a quiz…We always have a quiz). I don’t know how I did on my test or essay yet, but thankfully I did well on the quiz so hopefully the others followed suit.

Thursday was a good day, mostly just spent in class, running errands, and doing some studying. My German Cultures class was fun because we got to watch the movie Goodbye, Lenin (with English subtitles). I have actually seen it before and it is pretty funny. I would recommend it if you like foreign films and don’t mind having to read your movie or if you speak German. It is set around the fall of the Berlin Wall and is a drama-comedy about a young guy from East Berlin and the way his life changes when the city becomes one.

Friday was actually a pretty fun day, despite the fact that I had my test in the morning. But after that it was fun. I did have a few emotional moments and I think I was missing home a little bit, but nothing a little Döner and then some post-Halloween fun couldn’t fix. Colleen and I actually went down to Am Sande to walk around and do a few errands after the test and we also realized that we had yet to have our Döner date that we had talked about back when we were in Poland! So for lunch we went to City Döner and got our fill of the Turkish specialty and decided to eat as we walked around and explored the little shops in town. It was a nice time, just looking enjoying Lüneburg and the all the little details that make the city what it is. (Oh, and I tried one of the most ingenious food marriages EVER! At the grocery store, they had samples of Laugenecke-literally “pretzel bread corner”-and oh my goodness! It was essentially what you would get if a pretzel and a croissant got married and had a baby and it was delicious!)

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Yes, those are rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, and nuts sitting out along with the creamers and sugars and napkins at one of the bakeries…

We also happened to run into Elsa and her friend Jess, who was visiting from her study abroad in Bristol this weekend, which was perfect because I was actually supposed to be going to Shiloh’s to bake with them and Andrea for the Halloween party. So after Colleen and I finished walking around Am Sande, I met back up with Elsa and Jess and we headed to Shiloh’s. It was so much fun to get to spend some time baking with a group of girls like that! We made three different kinds of cupcakes and it was also an adventure just trying to figure out how to bake things well in another country. Surprisingly, they don’t carry some of the things that I think of as being essential baking ingredients here in Germany (I didn’t realize vanilla extract was not a common household item in some places). Thankfully, Shiloh and Andrea both had some experience and were well prepared so all of our cupcakes turned out pretty well. We made them all from scratch and I even got to pop the middles out of the vanilla ones to fill them with jam! I really want to start baking more, especially once I come home. I need people to bake for so if you are interested in some sweet treats let me know, because I have lots of recipes I want to try and I think my mom would appreciate not having piles of baked goods lying around.

Friday night a bunch of the USAC people decided that we couldn’t just let Halloween pass us completely by, so even though we were a day late (thanks to having a test the morning after Halloween) we still had a good old-fashioned American costume party! Actually, almost everyone from USAC ended up going and a handful of other Germans and international students as well. Costumes were required, according to Joe (and he lives at the house the party was at so he could make the rules) and surprisingly almost everyone actually had a decent costume. Some people even went all out, including one of the guys who dressed up as a grandmother, and was rather convincing at that! I didn’t know I was going until Friday so my costume was a stretch, but I borrowed an apron from Shiloh and was going to be a Haus-Frau (German housewife) but realized I don’t have anything that “wifey” to wear. So I decided it would be funnier and easier to go as Mr. Mom or a stay-home dad! I wore my man-sweater and the apron and drew on a mustache and voila! I have to say that Joe had my favorite costume, although I know I am biased, because he was the Hulk! He had a footy pajama Hulk outfit that I totally might steal if I can 🙂

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The party was a lot of fun and what is a good ol’ American party if it doesn’t get busted by the good ol’ German Polizei! Yes, they really did show up, but thankfully it was just to warn us that we were being to loud. I left shortly after they made their appearance though, because things were starting to get a little too tipsy for my taste anyway, and I didn’t really want to be there if die Polizei ended up having to come back.

Saturday was a great day! Colleen and I had planned to go back to Bremen and we had fun spending the day together, just like we always do when we hang out. We had a little mishap trying to get on the right train in the morning (let’s just say maybe they should make it a little more clear which train is going where and post it with the time that corresponds to the information online) but it all worked out and we ended up getting on the right train to get us there when we had expected to. We met a nice man on the train too, that we were sitting across from and he was from Cameroon! I love getting to meet people from around the world and it reminded me a little of when I was in Athens last summer. His name was Parfait (yes, like the dessert, I had him write it on my hand to make sure I was hearing him correctly) and he had been in Germany since February. He only spoke German and French, so our communication was limited but we actually had a pretty good conversation with him and even walked with him for a while after we got off the train in Bremen.

This was the perfect time to go to Bremen too, because it was the last weekend of their fall Freimarkt, so multiple blocks were full of carnival games and rides and food stands galore. It looked a lot like the stuff that had been set up for Oktoberfest here in Lüneburg, except about ten times as much. We explored all the different stands, wandering around for a while and then we headed back over to the Schnoor area, which is the oldest part of the city where all the little shops are. We looked in all sorts of cute shops and Colleen even found a few souvenirs and other things she had been looking for. Bremen really is a cool little town and now I am thinking I am might have to go one more time just to get a few things that I considered buying and decided against.

The weather wasn’t fantastic yesterday, but thankfully we at least didn’t get rained on (which it did all morning up until about the time we got to Bremen) and when we got back to Lüneburg, the walk back home from the Bahnhof was a lot more enjoyable with Colleen rather than when I have had to make it alone. We started talking about Christmas carols and I ended up singing Christmas songs so that I wouldn’t think about how cold I was on the last part of the walk that I had to do alone. I usually have a no Christmas songs until after Thanksgiving rule, but I might have to break that this year. I am so excited for the Weinnachtsmärkte (Christmas markets) here and I am hoping that they will start soon enough for my mom and Dave to get to see them when they are here (which is not even three whole weeks away now!!)!

Today was nice and relaxing. I got a little bit of homework done this afternoon and then got to Skype with my mom tonight. Apparently she is the hunter of the family now, because she got the first kill of the season when her and Dave went out this weekend. I never thought my mom would be one to go hunting in a million bajillion years, but look at her now! My favorite part of today was church this morning though. The service was great (back at Friedenskirche again) and I was most excited because I think I understood more of the sermon today than I have ever understood of anything I have listened to spoken in German like that! He talked about Martin Luther and then about being saved by faith alone through grace in Jesus Christ. We also did the Lord’s Supper, which was beautiful and such a blessing to get the opportunity to take part in. After the service we stayed for over an hour talking with different people and I left feeling like I always do, truly loved and blessed. The community at that church really just blows me away and I am so grateful that God led me there and that Colleen and I have been able to start getting plugged in.

Now we are back to being seven hours apart again and that means that while it is not even dinner time (unless you are my mom’s family…) for y’all, it is past my bedtime if I want to be able to wake up for my 8:15 class tomorrow. So I will say good night for now and I hope to write again soon. Viel Liebe!

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