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Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Lüneburg Christmas Market in Pictures

Lüneburg street to Christmas market
The German boyfriend and I finally made it out to Lüneburg's Christmas Market today!

I really love German Christmas Markets. They are definitely my favorite part of spending the holidays in this country. So although we are leaving for Nuremberg tomorrow, where the biggest Christmas Market in all of Germany is, I still wanted to see Lüneburg's this season. 

So here is our little walk through Lüneburg's Christmas Market in pictures.

Lüneburg Christmas market stall

Lüneburg lebkuchen hearts

Lüneburg Christmas train ride

Schmalzkuchen at Lüneburg Christmas Market

Eating Schmalzkuchen at Lüneburg Christmas Market

Lüneburg Christmas Market

Merry Christmas!
Frohe Weihnachten!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Our Christmas Decorations + Advent Calendar

It is almost Christmas here in Germany (and everywhere else, of course), so our apartment is decked out with all the decorations we've got. While I admit it's not much, I think it looks pretty nice. So I wanted to share some pictures of our Christmas decorations with you.

Christmas cards to Germany
Christmas cards from my family in the U.S. on a shelf with some candles above our dining room table.

Christmas stocking and poinsettia
Marco stocking, which I knitted for him last year, hung under the shelf, and a poinsettia on the table.

Christmas table decorations
A baby poinsettia and a candle holder wrapped in tree bark, which was Marco's Christmas gift this year from his professor. Inside I have a pine-scented candle to make up for the fact that our tree is fake, and it smells amazing. Also notice our festive place mats :)

Our first German Christmas Tree
And here is our baby Christmas tree! This year, we decided that instead of buying each other big presents for Christmas, we would just buy each other 24 tiny presents as a kind of advent calendar. In the picture, you can see that we each put our first 5 presents, all wrapped in newspaper, underneath the tree. Since then, we have continued to open one present each morning, which has been a lot of fun.

I hope you like our Christmas decorations. It isn't much, but we are happy with it :)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Key Considerations When Making a Move Overseas

Today, I bring you a guest post by Crown Locations. It is a helpful guide for figuring how what considerations need to be made before making the big move to a new country.

The planning and preparation involved with any move is paramount. Particularly so when managing an extended overseas adventure.

Make sure you mastermind the move to your dream destination, so that it no longer seems like difficult task.

Remember to Do Your Research
It’s crucial to settle on a single destination and to glean as much general knowledge about your chosen country as possible. From its customs and culture to expatriate opinions on lifestyle and standard of living, forewarn and forearm yourself with a wealth of knowledge.

Simply settling on a country won’t be sufficient. You need to decide upon the exact destination intended to be home.

Arrange Your Financial Affairs
From the cost of living to the practical costs involved with moving, you’ll need to make provision for the entire resettlement period and beyond. Considerations may include an emergency fund as well as financial planning for the future.

Listen to Your Loved Ones
From familial support to the needs of your nearest and dearest, it’s important to consider both the emotional and practical needs of your companions and those remaining in your home country. From school enrolment requirements to pet quarantine restrictions, make sure you manage your move positively and compassionately.

Guarantee Gainful Employment
It’s essential to be able to afford your new life abroad and earning a living is a key consideration. Some skills and qualifications are transferable, whereas others may require updating in order to be recognised in your new nation.

Whether relocating for the purposes of a new position or job hunting for a post in a foreign firm, relocation companies can help with the practical side of employment.

Research Red Tape
You must be in possession of the appropriate paperwork to be admitted by immigration officials. The visa application process can be painfully long for some countries so ensure your proposal for permanence meets with their requirements.

Specialists in this field can also offer useful help with the application form.

Hunt for a Home
Renting a property on a short-term basis is preferable to making a long-term commitment. Having somewhere to hang your hat upon arrival will lessen the upheaval and allow you the time to house hunt.

Purchasing a property can wait until you’re convinced that life overseas in your chosen community suits you. Securing tenants and hanging onto your home in the UK will provide the security of a fallback position should living overseas be short-lived.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Medieval Christmas Market in Lüneburg

Stalls at the Medieval Christmas Market in Lüneburg (Historischer Christmarkt Lüneburg)Known here in Lüneburg as the Historischer Christmarkt, this is a special Christmas market that takes place for just one weekend each year. Since neither the German boyfriend or I had ever been, we decided to stop by on Saturday evening.

Unlike a traditional German Christmas market, which has wooden huts draped in Christmas lights, the Medieval Christmas market attempts to remain authentic to the Renaissance style. This means no electric lights, traditional clothing, and handmade goods.

While this may sound sweet, we weren't really impressed. It was basically just a dark and dreary market with sparse points of candlelight.

There was one upside, however: the bratwurst cost one euro less than at the regular Christmas market in Lüneburg.

Eating a bratwurst at the Lüneburg Medieval Christmas market

I have attended Lüneburg's Renaissance festival in the summer, however, and it is a lot of fun. I just think that this style of market just isn't nearly as fun when mixed with the wet and cold Lüneburg weather.

What do you think: Do you like this Medieval style, or do you prefer the traditional German Christmas markets?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

On the night before December 6th, German children leave a shoe outside their door. In the night, Santa Claus comes and leaves treats in the shoes. I guess this is just his way to buy more time on Christmas Eve, since he has a whole country of children out of the way already.

So this year was my first time getting my shoe filled with candy from Saint Nikolaus! You can see that he really understands me and Marco's different tastes. My boot is on the left, filled with candy. Marco's shoe is on the right, filled with an assortment of salami.

Shoes filled with candy for Saint Nicholas Day in Germany

Another interesting part of this holiday is Knecht Ruprecht (basically Santa's evil counterpart). If children weren't good over the year, then he gives them coal in their shoes. According to Marco, small children also have to give up their pacifiers to Knecht Ruprecht, otherwise they don't get presents. Of course, every German I have talked to about these things have traditions and beliefs surrounding Santa and Knecht Ruprecht that are totally different, so this isn't true for all of Germany by any means.

First snow of the season in Germany on Saint Nikolaus Day

This year, however. Saint Nikolaus did bring another present for us in Northern Germany...

I woke up this morning to this beautiful scene outside the bedroom window, and it has continued to snow all day today.

But now I am curious, do you celebrate Saint Nikolaus day? I know there are many similar traditions in other countries as well. So, let me know!
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