Monday, 27 January 2014

When it snows.

For the passed three to four days, it has been snowing in Munich. But you wouldn't know it by looking at the roads.

Germans are world-renowned for their efficiency, and for this, the glorious type of weather that makes Winter so special, there is no exception.

{Munich in the Snow - source here}
When it snows at home, it creeps up on all the Brit's and transforms their world overnight; there is nothing like the surprised, delighted faces of children who have woken up to snow after days of crossing fingers and toes. Snowmen pop up barely ten feet apart, lining every street. Every hill - frighteningly steep or mildly gradual - falls victim to repetitive climbing and sliding, until even the crisp grass is torn away and the bare earth is exposed to the bitter, excited cold. Snow is thrown back and forth between boisterous boys and their brothers, and you might even spot an igloo or two.

{Snow at the Pier, Weston-super-Mare - source here}
If you were planning a trip, even in to the nearest City, you can bank on it being postponed for at least two more days. Events are cancelled, shops are closed, public transport ceases to exist - children listen intently in the early hours of the morning keeping fingers, toes, arms, legs and whole bodies crossed, desperately hoping for their school's name to be read over the radio; hoping for a rare "Snow Day".

{A Snow "Man" on a bench in Bristol - source here}
But you also have the other end of the spectrum - those who despise the snow. They don't see it as the pure white blanket, covering almost everything in sight - troubles, worries, woes and cares included - that others do. They don't see the joy in almost-frost-bitten extremities and rolling ice into dirt to create a fat, beloved, fantasy friend know as The Snowman.

{Someone struggling to drive through the Snow, South Wales - source here}
They see the blanket as a barrier on their way out the front door; an obstacle in their route to work; a hindrance to all of mankind. And they can't wait for it all to melt and the world to get back the right way up.

And neither is the right, or wrong way to view snow - both have a magic to them.

But here in Germany, they don't fit in to either group.

Rather than transforming the city overnight, the snow seems to come in gradually, and everybody knows when it will come - not that it will make a difference to anything when it will. You can smell the imminent arrival of the snow in the air, and see it in the bright white sky, and surely it starts to fall mid-morning and by the end of the day everything is white. You can see it fall under the lit streetlamps, in all of it's magical glory, and it flurries through front doors with every gust of wind, and for a couple of hours, it is just breath-taking.

Then 5am rolls around and along comes the Winterdienst, pushing all the snow to the sides of the road, and ploughing up all the dirt and grit with it. The massive piles of snow look ever-so-inviting to British-born me, but I'm not thinking twice about launching myself in to it; nobody else is.

{the Winterdienst - source here
Buses, s-bahns, u-bahns, trams and all other forms of transport run as usual. Schools are always open, the roads are as busy as ever, and life just carries on as usual, for everyone.

{Snow in the Bavarian Alps - source google images}
Which, again, is neither right or wrong, but there's not so much a "magic" in it.

People laugh at us Brit's for being so unprepared for the white weather - our whole little part of the world almost completely shuts down when that blanket is laid over us - but there's something magical about when it snows in England, and today, I really miss it.

{Snow in Queen's Square, Bristol}

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Too long, too long.

How long is too long?

However long it's been since I last posted - that's how long!

Munich made Christmas come to life

We wandered through to famous Christmas Markets, and ate traditional, warming Bavarian food.
We bought a real pine tree and dressed it in red and gold and sparkly lights.
We shopped until our knees almost gave way and gave lots of gifts.
We sang favourite Christmas Carols in two languages.
We recorded memories on our cameras and phones at every opportunity.
We watched our Little Flower giggle and clap and play.
We dressed her in a variety of festive outfits, and wrapped her up warm wherever we went.
We bought a Lego advent calendar in memory of our precious boy.
We baked a French Christmas breakfast and had the missionaries over.
We cooked a British Christmas dinner inspired by Jamie Oliver.
And We loved our first Christmas in our own home.

And we shared New Year with beautiful friends, and experienced Germans' way of ringing in Neues Jahr... Fireworks! You couldn't escape them! Being the one night of the year that it's legal for civilian's to set off fireworks, German's do go a little crazy, but it was truly magical. And we drank alcohol-free sparkling wine, and danced, and smooched, and laughed, and picked Flower up at 4am!

Although I enjoyed the festivities we'd experienced so far as a family, there's nothing like celebrating the Holiday Season in your own home; Magic! That's what they call it. 

Now, I have made no resolutions or "hopes" this year, but I have written down a few life goals; things I'd like to achieve, see or do. No plans as such, but just a few things to keep me on track over the next few years.

I'd like to say I'd be on the blog a little more, with a bit more of a focus, but you never know when life is just going to happen...!


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