Literally, yes. Emotionally, not so much. Let me explain.
Christmas at the Sebode house with Inge, Andreas, Moritz, my other host sister Janna, and other family members was incredible - Truly a great experience. They made me feel so at home and truly like a son in the family. With great opportunities to skype back home and say Merry Christmas and Wesołych Swiąt to everyone back in the States [ and in Poland – how cool to call my family in Europe!] the was no homesickness at all during this very important season for family gatherings. My Grandpa must have brushed up on some Deutsch skills and impressed everyone in Germany who heard him on the loudspeaker when he greeted me with a hearty “Wie Geht’s Ihnen?” – a formal greeting of “How are you doing?” when I was on the phone with him.
[ Some warm images from home for the holidays, as well as some of my favorite decorations in the house - many a few generations passed down. ]
[ Thought this was funny - it reminded me about the "shitting paper is over" back in Saarbrücken! ]
Christmas at the Sebode house was filled with just as much excitement, great new traditions and many packed days of celebrating with an even greater amount of food [which you will see in the upcoming photos]. The preparations of the tree, the cooking and other errands around the house and in town that I could help with really made the holiday feel more festive to me and more that I was part of the family.
On the 23rd I helped Inge dice up some vegetables and prepare some other ingredients to be used over the next few days – I must say it was extremely impressive. At my house back home – albeit we cook for several dozens of people – the cooking is a project for the WHOLE family over several days with everyone boiling, mashing, pinching and rolling ingredients for excellent Polish cakes, soups and locally famous Crachiola-Partynski Pierogi. In Germany however, Inge impressively, and in extremely organized fashion, had the entire menu set up and ready to go for the holiday festivities – and most importantly it was extremely delicious.
Along with the vegetable dicing, we had to prepare der Meerrettich – the homemade horseradish – to be used for the succulent Gewürzt Lachs – Marinated Salmon. Inge warned me it would make me tear up – but I figured it would be like dicing onions – a bit of watery eyes.
Shaving the root on the cheese grater – Woosh! – the misty cloud rushed up into my face – they must make pepper spray out of this stuff.
I couldn’t even blink – I was crying like I was just forced onto Santa’s lap like a petrified 2 year old. The tears were streaming down my face, eyes blod shot – this stuff was intense!
Taking turns with Inge – crying together over the great bonding experience that it was! – we finally grated that root down and mixed it together with the sauce that would complement one of the best main dishes of the first evening of the festivities – December 24th – Heilige Abend.