Wednesday, December 26, 2007

We're Home!!!

We are finally home!!!! We had a sehr Frohliche Weihnachten! (very Merry Christmas!) in Bavaria. I believe it has been one of our best Christmases. The German's certainly don't have the flair for wanton consumer consumption that we have. What would the retail world do without Americans? They'd go under, I believe. We spent Christmas (the 24th) with our new German in-laws. I agonized about what to buy them. I didn't have a clue what to expect. I didn't want to show up with overly extravagant gifts or overly small gifts. I didn't know them. I didn't know what their customs were. I just didn't know what to expect or what to take to give them.

I was pleasantly surprised when we showed up at their home to the freshly decorated (real!) tree trimmed with real lit candles. The slightly English speaking father of the house announced that they spend the evening celebrating the birth of Jesus, singing Carols and eating a traditional meal. The family exchanged simple, relatively inexpensive gifts and the rest of the evening was spent eating a fabulous meal and attempting to communicate in the odd way we found to communicate with none of us speaking the others language. We found common ground in laughter and love for our children who had married just the day before. I received gifts that included a porcelain angel, a metal plate with Bavarian scenes hand carved on it and a long leisurely evening around a dinner table spent with new family and new friends. It was a memorable and wonderful evening.

Now we are back in our own home. I'm looking forward to my own bed and a few days of relaxing rather than jamming across Bavaria. My son has two modes of operations, sleep and full throttle, so we fit a lot in to the two weeks we had there. Not to mention these semi-old bones need a couple of days of time zone recuperation and hopefully warmth seeing as these semi-old bones aren't accustomed to walking around in the snow and cold as if its a summer afternoon stroll. Frozen to the bone pretty much sums it up. But in a good way.

We have been traveling for 24 hours and I can't hardly think straight and I look like I've been rode hard and put up wet. My pen did something funky while I was filing out my declaration forms and leaked ink all over my fingers and hands leaving black stains all over them. I managed to break 5 fingernails during the trip today so my hands look pretty embarrassing at the moment. I spilled Mountain Dew on my sweater. When we were going through customs I dropped my passport and we couldn't find it for about 15 minutes. We only found it (in the fold of one of my suitcases) after a frantic search through the entire customs area with a customs agent holding me at his station while Beloved Curmudgeon retraced our steps looking for it. The customs guys periodically told me that this was not a good thing. I suggested that perhaps I should look instead of Beloved Curmudgeon as he can't find his socks in his sock drawer. The customs agent didn't think that was funny and told me, rather forcibly, that I could not and WOULD NOT leave my bags to go look. When I finally looked down and saw the passport in a nook of the suitcase and gave it to the customs guy he just motioned us through. The irritated look on his face and his exasperation left us laughing that he undoubtedly figured we couldn't possibly be terrorists when we were that incompetent. The whole thing was feeling a little like National Lampoon's Our Family's Christmas Vacation. We were a mess, exhausted, we hated the actual traveling but the overall trip was fantastic.

I hope you all had a special Christmas this year and spent time with the people you love and enjoyed the truly meaningful things in life, like schnitzel and the magical way that a well made bratwurst sandwich and gluhwein warms the body and soul when strolling through a Christmas Market when its 20 degrees. Its a wonderful thang!

Merry Christmas to all!