Friday, January 3, 2014

Fröhliche Weihnacthen

I realize that it’s been more than a few days since I last made a blog post. Sorry to disappear from the blog-world, but, as I’m sure you can imagine, the month of November and December have been extremely busy here at Black Forest Academy. Not only did we have major school events such as the first home basketball game, the Christmas Banquet, and the Christmas concert featuring the orchestra, band, and choir, but we also had papers to grade, tests to give, and the campus to clean in preparation for the new semester. Needless to say we made it through all these events with flying colors and watched the happy tears and hugs as students packed their belongings and headed off to the airport to travel home for the holidays.

On the last day of school before Christmas Break, I had the special blessing of getting to meet the father of one of my cross-country runners. Her father had come all the way to Kandern so that he could see the school, visit the dorm, meet some of the teachers, and travel home with his daughter. Now that I have been at BFA for almost an entire semester, I have come to realize that one of the greatest blessings of working at such a school is getting to meet the parents of my students. There are few things more satisfying than being able to tell a parent how wonderful it has been to coach or teach their child. I could see the love and pride in this father’s eyes as I told him what a joy it has been to have his daughter on my cross-country team. I told him how much I appreciated her positive attitude and constant smile and what an encouragement she has been to me, the other coaches, and to her teammates. He thanked me for coaching her and for taking care of her while he and his wife are serving in the Middle East. I am so thankful that God has given me the opportunity to be a blessing to this family!

We have all been on Christmas Break for about two and a half weeks now, but the crazy thing is that I still fell like the break just started. I guess that’s how it works sometimes, we spend all our time waiting, and then the long awaited event is gone before we hardly realize it began. But believe me, I’m still soaking up all the mental and physical rest that I can before January 7th and the return to school.

Frying potato pancakes
Perhaps one of my most favorite European Christmas activities that I have enjoyed over break has been visiting the European Christmas markets. For those of you who know me well, you know that I love markets. I love tasting the local foods, admiring the handmade crafts, and exploring the various aspects of culture that you can only discover at a market place. Well, the Christmas markets of France and Germany are some of the finest. There are fresh bratwurst and weißwurst grilling on the street, hot potato pancakes deep-fried and topped with applesauce, spiced Glühwein, Nutella crepes, chocolate dipped fruits, and fresh waffles right off the griddle.

Shopping for stars at the Freiburg Christmas market!
There are beautiful hand painted glass balls, wood-cut Christmas ornaments, light-up paper stars, wool scarves, hats, and mittens, fine chocolates, dried fruits, flowers, and handmade cards.

As a special blessing for this Christmas, I had a visitor all the way from the USA—my sister! I loved having the opportunity to spend time with Amanda and show her around Germany during the Christmas season. I don’t think I could have wished for a better Christmas present! :)

Best Christmas present...a visit from Amanda!

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