Hi everyone! Happy New Year! I have been quite busy in December and the early part of January so far. Highlights include finishing (and passing) my B1 German class in Stuttgart (major woohoo!), visiting Vancouver for Christmas, checking many things off the wedding to-do list (including one marathon day with 3 back to back appointments), catching up with friends and family, and visiting my brother and his family for New Year’s in Toronto!
First off, we thought the fair would be some small, sparsely-attended event with a couple of booths pilfering cooking oils, jams, chocolates, you know, the usual food fair kind of stuff. Well, we were kind of right, but mostly wrong.
The event was held at the Landesmesse, which is a convention centre complex near the Stuttgart airport. When we tried to find a parking spot, we were alarmed to see that this massive Parkhaus was packed to the gills. On a Sunday. I thought, ‘Really, people? Are you all going to this food fair? You too want to score as many crazy food samples as possible?’ After about 20 minutes in the parking structure, we finally found a money spot near the exit.
As we began walking toward the convention hall area, we saw hundreds of families with their little kids. Most were holding flower balloons. That was our first clue that something odd was going on. Did we go to the right place?
In mid-October, I started taking German language classes at a language school in Stuttgart which is about 45 minutes away with public transportation. I had to take a placement test before getting assigned to a class. It’s an intensive course which runs for 4.5 hours a day, Monday to Friday. We have 2 teachers who alternate teaching our classes.
My first impression of the class was that it was very different to any kind of German class that I ever took in Vancouver. First off, the entire class is taught in German (as opposed to mostly in English or half in English, half in German like I was used to in Vancouver). Second, my classmates are not native English speakers; in fact, I am only one of two native English speakers in my class! My classmates come from all over the world – Turkey, Iraq, Brazil, Kosovo, Indonesia, China, Russia, Georgia, Romania, Spain and Cameroon. The teachers are very direct and opinionated which was (and still is) a bit difficult to get used to. So far, I’m learning a lot but there’s still a long road of language learning ahead!
After 2 weeks of classes, my Mom came to visit me and S for a week! It was nice to see someone from home and catch up on all the latest news. I was especially tickled to get a few treats from home (and some things I couldn’t pack in my suitcase when I moved to Germany), like my beloved Bath and Body Works candles, my mixing bowls, canned pumpkin, my old UBC sweatpants, and one of my favourite cookbooks. Thanks for the goodies, Mom!
Happy Thanksgiving! As some of you may know, Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. I love fall – the colourful leaves, pumpkins, sweater weather, and of course, the Thanksgiving meal!
Germans celebrate a similar holiday to Canadian Thanksgiving, the Erntedankfest, the harvest festival of thanks. It tends to be more of a rural and religious celebration than a large family tradition as it is in North America, however.
Despite the fact that I am the only Canadian around that I know, I really wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving. I usually have a hand in preparing Thanksgiving meals but have never made the whole meal by myself.
First off, the turkey. Where to get one when Germans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving with a stuffed bird at this time of year? S and I checked out a butcher shop in our small town, but no dice. Next up was the local big supermarket. Success! I wasn’t looking for a whole bird, just some pieces so I could make this Turkey and Stuffing casserole from my new favourite food blog, Budget Bytes. I was able to find 4 dinosaur-sized turkey legs which I thought would do the trick.
I wanted to keep the menu simple – just the classics. I made stuffing, turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, maple roasted sweet potatoes with pecans, and green beans. For dessert, I made pumpkin scores with a spice glaze.
It was fun to celebrate Thanksgiving again with S – the first time we celebrated together was in NZ when we helped to prepare a meal for about 25 students living in our student residence. I am thankful for everything in my life – good friends, a loving family, and my life here in Germany with S knowing that we have many adventures ahead.