Well right now we are staying warm inside on a very snowy white Christmas! Dani is trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube (starting from the solved position) and I built a two-seater car. We are really glad to have some time to ourselves and to have a short break.
My dad and Raina just left from being here for about 10 days. We went to France, Switzerland, and of course Germany. They wanted to see all of Europe, but that wasn’t going to happen. 🙂 We both miss having family here for the holiday seasons. Christmas is amazing here, but it isn’t the the same without family.
The Past Months
So I’m going to try and recap our last two or so months here in Kandern, Germany. We’ve had some really great experiences and some not so good ones, from working in the dorms during Thanksgiving, to having the car break down on our way back to Germany.
This is the fall festival/fair that happens at various places around the area. Pretty much everything is closed except food and rides. The school takes a day trip to Basel for all the students to be able to take part in the festivities. It was pretty crazy seeing all the rides. It was like a little carnival. But the big hit at Herbstmesse every year are the bumper cars. I guess those are always popular no matter where you are. You can see the pictures here → Herbstmesse Gallery.
Thanksgiving in Germany
So, of course, there is no Thanksgiving celebration in Germany. (I wonder why?) But the school and the individual dorms celebrate the event during the month of November. At the dorm we substitute at, Blauen, we helped prepare the food and get ready for the meal. It was a great evening with the girls at the dorm, and with the other couples who help, at the dorm, as well. You can see the pictures here → Blauen Thanskgiving Gallery.
So Dani and I also go visit a few of the other dorms. One of those is Storchenblick, or Storch for short. I had to get our car worked on after the first freeze. The driver’s side door decided to not unlock anymore, and we also hadn’t put our snow tires on the car. So, one of the girls at Storch, who speaks German, helped me translate at the local auto-shop, Auto Brehm. We got our car back a few days ago, with new locks/keys and tires. Yeah! I also took a mid-semester group picture for them. You can see the pictures here → Storch Group Gallery.
The school has a few banquets during the fall semester, and one of the biggest is the Christmas Banquet. This years theme was a Masquerade Ball, and the Student Council decide to just do desserts instead of a full meal. It was alot of fun, and there were some great skits that happened. The school grants wishes every year that the students submit, and one of those was for all the Korean guys to go up and sing on stage. Needless to say it was hilarious, and not all the guys knew what they were getting into. You can see the pictures here → Christmas Banquet Gallery.
Last But Not Least, The Visit
So my dad and my youngest sister, Raina, came to visit us for about 10 days. They wanted to see everything in Europe. We are not that adventurous, or capable. 🙂 So we ended up visiting just a few places. We went to a castle, Haut-Kœnigsbourg, and a cute little village called Riquewihr in France. They walked around Lörrach (without us). And had a few days to walk around in Kandern Germany. We then went to Adelboden, Switzerland and skied the Alps. And then on the next to last day took a train and visited a few towns on the way to the Christmas Market in Freiburg, Germany.
So, Coming Back From Switzerland
We were driving along, minding our own business, when all of a sudden the engine light comes on, and the car starts overheating! Seconds wizzed by, and moments later…Okay, ignore the melodrama. We did end up getting stranded in Heimburg-Bern, Switzerland for about 5 hours more than we had planned. The radiator had overheated. It was too late in the evening to find help, and we had no cell-phones. So after looking for possible solutions Dani and Raina found a wireless signal without a password, which is illegal in Germany. (I’m not sure about Switzerland.) And we used the wireless internet, the laptops we had, and cell phones to find help.
We were eventually able to Facebook, make Google calls and email our way into finding someone to pick us up and call for help for the car. We found our way to a McDonalds, had some food, and our ride picked us up and took us back home. It was a crazy unexpected twist that taught me that I will have to look into getting a cell phone plan here if I’m’ going to be doing some more driving. We all went home exhausted and overwhelmed since this was two days before they went back home.
‘Tis the Season
So overall we’ve had a good first semester. It’s been much more difficult then we expected. And there have been plenty of unexpected challenges along the way. We’ve learned alot about the trials of marriage, living in another culture/language, and developing a new life in a new world. We love it here. But are learning that it’s not always easy: like getting stuck in Switzerland.
We hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Drive safe, and always wear your seat belts. We love you all, and are very thankful for the gifts and prayers that have been sent our way.
– Israel and Dani