Monday, December 24, 2012

Heiliger Abend (Christmas Eve)

Monday, Dec. 24, 2012

It's Christmas Eve!!  And a beautiful day here in Augsburg.  The SUN was out today!  That is a first in the 9 days since we arrived.  It was quite warm, up to about 55* F.  Brad left before we were up to get fresh bread, rolls and pretzels.  And he brought me home the most adorable Christmas flower ever!

I made a cake, after a bit of trouble!  (American cake mix + German measuring cups + German oven = a bit of stress.)  It all worked out and tasted good!
Nothing some frosting and sprinkles can't hide!
Lainie and I made a last run to the grocery store since it will all be closed until Wednesday.  Then we went back to the Augsburg Christkindlesmarkt.  I was proud of myself for managing to drive there myself with all the traffic and construction!  We looked at a few of the shops but it was so crowded that we really could barely get around.  Most of the people were not shopping at the booths, but eating the amazing food and drinking the mulled wine!  It was a really beautiful day and I got some good pictures.
Rathaus (City hall)

Paper star lanterns at a booth

Huge pyramid spinny thing
I also bought more mugs.  At the wine booths, they sell the mulled wine in ceramic mugs that say "Augsburger Christkindlesmarkt" and I can't stop buying them.  (well I have to stop now because it was the last day!)

We came home and ate lunch and got ready for our Christmas Eve celebration with the Papsdorfs: Soeren, Anja and Antonia who is 4.  They invited us to a church service and then dinner with them at their house.  A real German Christmas Eve!

The church was incredibly old and beautiful.  Very ornate.  Look!

Balcony and organ

One of many sculptures on the wall
It was a service designed for children and was very nice.  We had a sing along sheet which helped a lot.  There was a cute play and not a lot of talking which is good since it's in German!  This church was cold like last night's church, but it had heaters under the pews, so our booties stayed warm!  :)  The church was decorated so nicely for Christmas and had a nice Nativity scene.

For me, the most beautiful moment was singing Stille Nacht (Silent Night).  An incredibly beautiful church, huge Christmas tree all lit up, and even though the words were in German, the tune is the same.  It brought tears to my eyes!  I was once again reminded of how blessed we are to have such an amazing opportunity.

After the service, we went on a short hike to look for Santa.  This is something Anja always did as a kid and they now do with Antonia.  We hiked under a little bridge thing and found a shrine in the middle of nowhere.

Seriously, can you believe this was our day?  So cool!

Next we went back to the Papsdorf's house.  Santa had come!  Antonia had a really cool new palace for her Fillies (German pony toys.)  Santa knew our girls would be there, too and they had some gifts!!

Classic present opening pic!  (plus red nose from cold)

DS game

Hair stuff

Next up was dinner.  We had hot dogs and potato salad.  We all agreed it was the best potato salad EVER!!!  A mixture of both of their family's traditional recipes.  It was really a great meal!
Beautiful table with the advent candle arrangement made by Anja
We hung out for a bit, but Antonia and Lea both have colds and weren't feeling well.  We were home by about 8.  Brad and I took a walk around the block and now we are playing a fun game that the Papsdorfs gave us called Zebra Pig.  It's hilarious!!  Can't wait to see if Santa comes for American Christmas, too!