I wonder if I’m ever going to catch up on the last couple of weeks, if not now. Christmas, Germany, family time – this all seems so long ago again. I am really not a fan of how fast the ‘vacation feeling’ wears off once you get home and are thrown back into everyday life.
Our trip, 3-weeks long (and yes, I am very appreciative of that much time off in one chunk!), was simply wonderful. We got to see so many people!
The weeks leading up to our trip were stressful as I was trying to set dates and times with everybody we wanted to see. Do people not realize what a huge organisational undertaking it is to coordinate so many people in a three-week window (not to mention with holidays and family obligations strewn about in between)? Yeah.
In the end, (almost) all worked out. We had stuff going on pretty much every single day, but it was so worth it. I saw friends that I hadn’t seen in a few years, we saw dear friends that we miss having around during the year (and wished lived closer) and we spent some real quality time with my family.
You want proof? You got it.
The only person that was missing this year was our Ina. She passed away a year ago last Sunday and coming home and realizing that she would be missing at our Christmas Eve dinner table was… hard. It was just not the same without her. I had a similar feeling the year when my Granddad passed 4 years ago. It’s weird when chairs are suddenly left empty where somebody sat and smiled and laughed only a year before. Loss is a strange thing.
My Dad worked up an incredible Christmas Eve dinner again this year. He had me fall in love with savoy cabbage all over again. I know, it sounds like a pretty un-fancy vegetable for a fancy dinner, but seriously, bear with me. I am a big fan of cabbage as is, but they way it was prepared (with creamed horseradish) was absolutely divine. Here’s the whole order of courses (that will make your mouth water, I promise):
Cod with leaf spinach
Beef filet with creamed horseradish savoy cabbage and root vegetables
Lava cake with vanilla sauce, caramelized apples and pears and vanilla ice-cream
We took turns giving and opening presents (even the kids patiently participated), ooh-ing and aah-ing over the exchanged gifts.
As much as I don’t want to buy into the “Christmas-consumerism”, I do take great pleasure in finding and/or creating and giving gifts to people I care about. They don’t have to be extravagant and expensive. It’s just a sign of love and appreciation. Of course, time spent together is the most sought-after commodity during our short visits and I try to enjoy every second to the fullest.
Greta being silly
my sweet sister and I
my beautiful Mom
… also the world’s greatest Dad
Basti and I
my parents and my aunt
I have way too many pictures and stories to share for one post, so there are a couple more recaps to come (if you don’t mind). Stay tuned.