January in a Nutshell

Arriving home from Paris, where it was in the 40s and 50s, I entered a full wintry mix. Ice, snow, sleet, freezing rain. My lovely host mother drove the normally easy 40 minutes to get me in an hour and a half.  The way home was no faster.

School started up again; it was good to be back. Classes now trust and know me, they raise their hands and talk, respect me when I try to keep them on task, and always say hi to me in the hallways. It is a great feeling to see what an influence, however small, I am having on their learning experience.

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On a chilly Friday night, the neighbors had a little get-together with Glühwein and these cool hollow, free-standing logs that are lit and throw great heat. I found the fire logs so cool and took notes to replicate back at home. After a quick internet search, it seems like a Swedish or Scandinavian tradition. The company was good, even if they all were at least my parent’s age. The Dorf (village) has been so welcoming that just chatting and spending time here is really nice. IMG_0844

The next day was the famed, much awaited “Plattdeutsch Theater” that our neighbor acts in every year. Plattdeutsch is Low German, what some Germans may mistake as a dialect, and is closely related to English and is actually its own language. In my internet travels, I came across this great diagram from one of my favorite sites, Grammarly, that shows how English and German are related. I have gotten into many a discussion (almost fight) with people about how languages are related. After listening to this play and understanding much more than many Germans did, it all makes sense. The play was hilarious and we had a fabulous time in the village community house.

The banner boasts the fact that this event has been running for thirty years and even some Plattdeutsch theater groups from the US have visited
The banner boasts the fact that this event has been running for thirty years and even some Plattdeutsch theater groups from the US have visited

The next day was the famed, much awaited “Plattdeutsch Theater” that our neighbor acts in every year. Plattdeutsch is Low German, what some Germans may mistake as a dialect, and isWestGermanicLanguageChart closely related to English and is actually its own language. In my internet travels, I came across this great diagram from one of my favorite sites, Grammarly, that shows how English and
German are related. I have gotten into many a discussion (almost fight) with people about how languages are related. After listening to this play and understanding much more than many Germans did, it all makes sense. The play was hilarious and we had a fabulous time in the village community house.

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Excuse the terrible photos of the hall. Opening night of the play was followed by drinking and dancing.

On January 11th, we celebrated (yet) another birthday. [December birthday month] The last minute birthday dinner for good friend and colleague of Claudia’s, Martin, was a hit with venison, a wonderful tomato-juniper cream sauce, red cabbage, potatoes, and warm peaches with lingonberry jam. I had never had venison before and the flavors of all the vegetables and fruits worked perfectly together.

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IMG_1582After two weeks of traveling in France eating all of the bread and cheese and countless birthday parties in December, I was ready to hit the road and get running. Even though the cold and snow are beautiful, these warm weeks for running are keeping me sane. I’m not a fan of running in 30-degree weather, especially on country roads that are icy.
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Enjoying a walk with the old man

The snow came and went, much like it does in New England. The temperature bounced from freezing to sunny and practically April-like weather. But it wasn’t long before it got cold again.

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The view out my bedroom window with a light dusting, January 18th
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Stubbly corn fields looking northeast out my window
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I woke up, grabbed my camera and went outside to get photos before the wind knocked the dusting off the trees

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Truly a winter wonderland

And then a few days later, after the other snow had melted of course, instead of snow, the fog froze over night and gave us these beautifully coated trees.

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Sun rising very low, looking northeast out my window, January 22nd
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Mexx the old man joined to sniff around while I snapped

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Every branch and blade are covered with little shards of frost

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The last days of January are here and the weather has been very mild since this frozen fog. The running weather has been perfect albeit a bit wet, but I can deal with that.

School wrapped up its first semester and ended with a two-day break after teachers came within inches of their life after writing report cards. Monday, well Tuesday for me, the second half of the school year begins. I am finishing my fifth month here; it is quite hard to believe. Five more months left to enjoy this crazy, surreal place that I have called home.

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What 55 degrees in January looks like
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One of my few friends who likes to hang out and play with me here, Angie

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