Frank Sinatra is crooning in the background as I sit to write this post. Thanksgiving has passed and Santa Claus is coming to town! The Weihnachtsmarkt here in Freiburg opened its doors on Monday, filling the city with Christmas cheer. I made my first visit on Wednesday to enjoy a few glasses of Glühwein.
I’ve always enjoyed the Christmas season, but Germany has outdone itself. The Weihnachtsmarkt glows with twinkling lights, smells of traditional German foods and spiced candles, sounds of laughter and clinking glasses. I look forward to the rest of the month as I experience more German traditions and make the rounds to Christmas markets across Europe…
In this moment, I feel utterly grateful. Despite the bitter cold and gray skies, every day continues to exceed my expectations. On Thanksgiving, I skyped with Mom as we both baked our favorite topsy-turvy apple pie! Despite our separation, I knew that both of our kitchens smelled of the same buttery crust and gooey apples. It was as if we weren’t separated at all. I spent that afternoon feeling thankful for the ease with which recipes are shared, but also, for the pecans I found at the all-natural grocery store here in Freiburg. I went on quite the hunt over the last week to find those nuts, but no cost is too high for a perfect pie. And let me tell you, it was delicious!
Thursday evening IES Abroad hosted a dinner at Datteler—the Schlossberg Restaurant in Freiburg. With a foggy, but beautiful view of the Münster, we enjoyed champagne and wine alongside our not-so-traditional, but absolutely delicious Thanksgiving meal. Surrounded by professors and friends, I realized just what a joy the last three months have been. As we toasted and said words of thanks, it really started to hit me just how quickly time is passing. I couldn’t be more grateful to be spending the year here in Germany as I anticipate seeing many of my friends off in the coming weeks. The students studying simply for a semester will make the journey back to the states in three weeks time. It’s absolutely surreal.
I’m so thankful for the memories, for the ease of communication via WLAN, and certainly, for the adventures to come.
As I say goodbye to IES Abroad friends, I will be saying hello to some of my best girlfriends from home as we reunite to begin our Christmas holiday… New Year’s, too! Here’s to new friends, to old friends, and to anticipation… Paris, Switzerland, Salzburg, Vienna, and Berlin… I am coming for you!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hallo! I am Haley Wilhelm, a Junior at Scripps College from the Midwest. I enjoy reading, writing, traveling, and most of all, eating! I can't wait to explore all that Freiburg has to offer, as well as many other European cities during my academic year abroad.</span></p>