Christmas has arrived!
Christmas really has arrived here in Erfurt. The streets are blanketed in snow and fairy lights adorn almost every window. Last weekend, Ramona and I went to Lauscha. It is a town in the middle of the Thueringen Wald that is really famous for their baubles. They make them all year round but for 2 weekends in December, they have a Kugelmarkt which is their version of a Christmas market. There are stalls selling lovely food all the way down the main street and lots of the shops offer special deals on their lovely baubles.
My favourite part of the day was actually the drive there. The snow got more and more heavy as we ventured through the forest. The views were beautiful and the roads were wonderfully quiet. As Ramona and I are both suckers for a lovely photo, we stopped a few times and padded across the snow to just look at the beauty that the countryside offered.
Lauscha was beautiful, hidden in the depths of the wood. It was extraordinarily cold and I could hardly bare it but it was a really lovely day and we enjoyed ourselves. I think I’m really lucky to have Ramona as a Betreuungslehrer. She invites me out on these adventures out into the countryside. We seem to both be interested in seeing something beautiful and she’s always so excited to show me the things her country has to offer. I love it.
Advent is a much bigger deal here than it is at home. This weekend just gone, I had 2 Advent concerts with the Erfurt Teachers Choir. Although on the Friday night I was tired, I still really enjoyed the singing, even if I was not so able to appreciate the other things there were to enjoy that evening. However, on the Saturday night, I loved every minute. We shared the concert with the Erfurt Men’s Choir and the pieces they sung were lovely. We were also occasionally accompanied by the Children’s String Orchestra and they also played a solo piece which I really enjoyed.
Something really lovely happened that Saturday too. During the concerts, I stood next to a lady who I haven’t really spoken to before and she really took me under her wing. She was always so excited to see me and commented on how lovely I looked. Before the concert on Saturday, she excitedly took me aside and gave me a Christmas gift bag. She took out the clear plastic bag which was inside to show me. It was full of biscuits and chocolate! She had one for me and William: a gift for us for the second weekend of Advent. It wasn’t until I was on my way home that I really realised how lovely it was though. When I was waiting at the train station for my tram, I got the bag out again. I looked more closely this time though. She had made the biscuits herself. I could tell because mine said my name on. How wonderful is that?! That was what she had been trying to show me.
I have been so looked after since I got here. Yes, not every moment has been easy. Hell, hardly any have. But I have a whole array of people around me that just want to help. Not just when I ask, but they try to anticipate any problems that I have and help me out. I know that if I get stuck here for Christmas, I won’t go without a roast dinner, even though I don’t have an oven. Not that I’m not hoping that I get to go home though ;).