Last night I moved in with my new host family, and so far things are going well. My host sister invited me to bake Christmas cookies with some friends, which I enjoyed, and today I had my first day of school.
Today was also Nikolaustag in Germany. The holiday honors St Nikolaus, a philanthropic bishop. Many children in Germany set their shoes near the door or fireplace on the night before Nikolaustag, and, on the 6th of December, their shoes are filled with gifts and sweets.
It had been a hectic twenty four hours this morning as I prepared for school, and it didn’t dawn on me that today was Nikolaustag. Confused, I searched the house for my shoes until my host sister calmly led me to the fireplace, where our shoes sat next to chocolate Santa Claus bodies.
The festivities didn’t stop there -- this evening my host family and I went to a Weihnachtsmarkt in a nearby city. This Weihnachtsmarkt was especially cool, and included a Medieval section and a large Christmas pyramid. I was also able to see a bit of the surrounding city, which had several historical attractions and a creative variation of the Ampelmann.
Christmas in Germany is an incredible experience -- whether it be opening my Adventskalendar, exploring a new Weihnachtsmarkt, or finding a chocolate St Nikolaus next to my shoes, there are lots of opportunities to celebrate and learn from diesem tollen Land.