Saturday, January 16, 2010

Alles gut zum Geburtstag

[ Happy Birthday to you! ]

Back in Göttingen just before school started gave me a bit of a chance to collect myself after a very exciting and busy few weeks of holiday celebrations and traveling. I knew that Göttingen was going to be a bit quiet when I returned - no friends really back until the weekend - and that my birthday would pass by a little low key, yet after having so many great experiences that was completely fine to me.

I think it was this state of mind that made the surprises for me turning 20 that much more unexpected and really wonderful. Coming into the kitchen on the morning of the 5th, Inge was there to give me a huge hug - she had already very excitedly greeted me the evening before for my return home, and we sat together to talk about the new years celebrations we had - but this hug for my birthday was huge - Zwanzig Jahre Alt! - 20 years old!

Wow... I am 20 - no longer a teenager. The number didn't really strike me right away, but this year really is one of great transitions for me. When Andreas returned home mid day for lunch, I also received a very warm greeting from him and a long list of wishes for me for the upcoming year.

With Janna and Moritz on their own travels, and life at the Sebode house returning to the norm of Inge, Andreas and myself together, it really meant so much to me that my host parents were so excited to celebrate my birthday and have many surprises waiting for me. For lunch, as a centerpiece on the table was a German good luck charm for birthdays - complete with a silver champagne bucket signifying the good champagne for the year, a bouquet of 4-leaf clovers, and a little Kaminkehrer - a chimney sweeper - that also denotes good luck in Germany. Inge made a great lunch, and before we ate, a toast with Champagne and another new tradition for me - an entirely new song in German sung for Birthdays [and one with many verses too, I should add, really testing Inge and Andreas' endurance].

Heute kann es regnen,
stürmen oder schnei'n,
denn du strahlst ja selber
wie der Sonnenschein.
Heut ist dein Geburtstag,
darum feiern wir,
alle deine Freunde,
freuen sich mit dir.

Wie schön, dass du geboren bist,
wir hätten dich sonst sehr vermisst.
wie schön, dass wir beisammen sind,
wir gratulieren dir, Geburtstagskind!

[Today it can rain,
storm or snow,
because you yourself are beaming
like sunshine.
Today is your birthday,
that's why we're celebrating.
All your friends,
are happy for you.

How nice that you were born,
we would have really missed you otherwise.
how nice that we're all together;
we congratulate you, birthday child! ]

Everything was perfect - I really felt so loved on my birthday at home, and there were already some great German traditions that I learned that will now be great memories. Everything so far was already so appreciated, but Inge and Andres also had a few other gifts for me - They really went above and beyond for me - a new book to read as well as some Göttingen attire to proudly wear my University on my chest. Later in the evening I received a surprise phone call from Moritz all the way from Mexico to wish me a Happy Birthday. I am really so lucky to have received so much generosity on my Birthday, and it will definitely be one that I will always remember.

Montag, Dienstag, Mittwoch,
das ist ganz egal,
dein Geburtstag kommt im Jahr
doch nur einmal.
Darum lass uns feiern,
dass die Schwarte kracht,
Heute wird getanzt,
gesungen und gelacht.

Wie schön, dass du geboren bist,
wir hätten dich...

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
that doesn't really matter,
but your birthday comes only
once a year.
So let us celebrate,
until we're exhausted,*
Today there's dancing,
singing and laughter.

How nice that you were born,
we would have...

1 comment:

  1. Chris! Happy birthday! Hope you're enjoying your birthday -- Germany style. Miss you lots and keep up those posts! <3 -- ellis