Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving Weekend 2015

I know I'm a little late but, Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  How was your turkey day?  Good?  Mine was good!  This year, my husband was home to cook his girls an amazing turkey dinner, and we could not have been more grateful for both his being home and his cooking!  We kept the rolladens down all day, Eric and I started drinking wine not long after our morning coffee, Isabelle even hung out with us downstairs rather than in her bedroom talking to her friends like she usually does, and we obeyed the strict rule of staying out of Eric's kitchen.  

But I sure did love the view!

Is it ready yet?  Is it ready yet?  Is it ready yet?

We spent the rest of our Thanksgiving eating ourselves silly, napping, watching a 'Hunger Games' marathon, and drinking alcohol (just the adults, not Isabelle), and reminded ourselves how blessed we really are.  
We even tried to imagine what next year's Thanksgiving was going to be like back in the States with an American sized oven and living out of boxes.  Not living in Europe anymore is a little hard to wrap our brains around right now, especially since we can't even begin to plan our move until next fall, but emotionally, we might as well get a head start on getting our hearts ready for a big change.  Isabelle goes between being really ready to be back in America, and not wanting to leave her friends here, I never want to leave, and Eric just does whatever the Army tells him to, but we all said that we are excited to see where life will take us next (my fingers are crossed for Hawaii).

Black Friday exists on base here in Germany, but I refuse to go anywhere near a setting that could pull my energy away from all that I had focused on on Thanksgiving, so instead, we continued on our glühwein cup collecting mission and headed over to Rüdesheim for another Christmas market!  
We woke up to Germany's usual fog and drove to Bingen where we parked our car and then walked onto a ferry to cross the Rhein river over to Rüdesheim.  

f*#^ing fog!

My Rüdesheim glühwein cup!

We had went to Rüdesheim last summer when our friends visited and loved it!  It's another one of Germany's little gems, and their Christmas market is a favorite of a lot of the travel Facebook pages that I follow, so I was glad to go back and see it in all of its Christmas glory!  Eric even scored two bottles of Vat 69, a scotch blended whisky that CPT Nixon of the Band of Brothers drank!  It's been extremely difficult to come by over here, and if you know my husband, you know he is a huge Band of Brothers fan.  He was as excited about his whisky as I was about my little glühwein cup!

It has been a Thanksgiving tradition for the last couple of years to go see the new 'Hunger Games' movie.  Isabelle read the first book, I read all three books, and Eric hasn't read any of them but he does like the movies, so after a day in Rüdesheim we went to see Mocking Jay Part II!  
I was really excited....

On Saturday, Isabelle made plans to meet a group of her friends at the base mall and go to a movie.  Eric wasn't sure that he was comfortable with dropping her off and just letting her go to a movie without any adults... I wasn't sure I was comfortable with it either, but what 12 year old girls life would be complete without being able to say that she wandered around a mall with a group of girl friends?  And besides, the base mall is pretty tiny.  So, we allowed her to go to a movie and while she was doing that, Eric and I ran around to the small villages around where we live and got more glühwein cups!

First, we headed to Landstuhl- a small village between Kaiserslautern and Ramstein.  I'm still not wanting to take a whole lot of pictures, but I did take my big camera with me just because it's weird to go somewhere without it, but I only took my wide angle lens because I didn't feel like fishing around my camera bag for any other lens.  These two pictures are all you're gonna get of the Landstuhl Christmas Market.

There were a lot more people and festivities at the Landstuhl Christmas Market than my camera manages to show you, but both Eric and I were tired from turkey leftovers from lunch and just didn't really care about taking pictures.  But we did get another glühwein cup!  And another one when we headed over to Schopp- another small village near Kaiserslautern- while Isabelle spent her evening at a movie and we killed time. 

To end our very last Thanksgiving weekend in Germany, Eric and I went on a bus trip to Metz, France and Luxembourg City, Luxembourg for more Christmas markets!  This was the easiest bus trip we have ever been on- even with Metz and Luxembourg being in two different countries, they are both within two hours of each other, and within two hours of where we live, so a late start and quick bus rides were the name of the game!
But quick or not doesn't matter to Isabelle, she always gets carsick, and with all of the travel advisories after the recent terror attacks in Paris, Eric and I decided that Isabelle should stay home and not go with us to France.  We do not feel unsafe traveling around Europe, and we are NOT scared!  This was just a decision that we made as parents for this one instance.  The police presence was heavy, and we were aware that being in a crowded outdoor area put us at risk, but we never once felt unsafe!  

I had worn layers and my new adorable Santa leggings so even though the weather in France was rainy & cold, I felt fabulous!  But the markets were a bust.  There were 6 different markets all around the city center, but each of them were small and quiet.  Eric and I wondered if the recent terror attacks in Paris dampened France's Christmas spirit, I wouldn't have blamed them.  Metz was beautiful, but we were bored out of our minds the entire morning we were there.  But I got another glühwein cup, so I guess Metz had that going for it.  

I really hope they find their Christmas spirit.

But Luxembourg City, Luxembourg was where it was at!  They had live music, bonfires, high end shopping, alcohol, and a parade!  This was the kind of Christmas market you think of when you think of Christmas markets!  They even had a carnival game like where you go fishing for the little rubber duckies except with ornaments!  It was so cute!!

This was our second visit to Luxembourg City and the second time around was better than the first!  Our afternoon & evening was spent soaking up every Christmas second we could, and never felt unsafe!  Luxembourg City is even recommended as "one of the 50 places you should travel to in 2016!"  It was a great way to end our Thanksgiving weekend!

I got to add 5 glühwein cups to my collection this past weekend alone!  I might be a little obsessive about those adorable little cups, but I feel like they're a tangible thing I can hold onto when my pictures are bad, my memory fades, and we're back in America trying to remember how great living abroad was.  Running around to all sorts of cities and villages to get a cup of warm delicious wine makes for great stories to tell to whoever wants to listen, and I've got a cup to show for it!  They're important to me, and they make me happy.

I feel like with all of the crap going on in the world lately, Thanksgiving is exactly what we all need right now.... we all need a day to focus on our blessings every once in a while.  Taking a second to see the good parts of our life is good for the soul, and I certainly don't do it enough!  I know I'm a little late but I am wishing you all a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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