Still here

This is terrible quality but you get the idea. While most of the snow is gone in the inner city, this park is the only area where there’s still some on the ground. So I come here as often as I can.

in Cologne, Germany – taken January 21, 2013

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The first snow of the year


The thing with snow in this part of Germany is that it’s usually short-lived so it is actually extremely stressful for people like me who love snow more than anything. As soon as it starts and the temperature is just below zero and some gorgeous white begins to blanket everything – even here in the city – I’m like: OH GOD THIS COULD BE IT. This might be the only day of snow we get this season. Cancel all plans. You CANNOT miss this. Ohmygodohmygod. Get gloves and a scarf. Where is a good place to enjoy this? I don’t know I don’t know. It might stop any minute now. I need a thicker coat because I’mma stay outside until it stops. WHERE IS THE CAMERA. I DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT SHOES FOR THIS. I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS SINCE LAST MAY. WHY HAVE I NOT BEEN PREPARING. PLEASE LET IT STILL BE SNOWING WHEN I’M DRESSED AND AT THE PARK. OK I’M OFFICIALLY PANICKING. OH GOD.

— And then I got to the park, and it was perfect. Just all white and quiet and peaceful, and soft and cold and lovely. A few people were walking their dogs. Cars’ headlights made the freshly fallen snow sparkle. And I was just wandering along, smiling like a lunatic, caught between the joy of the moment and the lingering fear that it might be over by the next day. I looked up at the planes coming in from Barcelona and Casablanca, dipping through the thick clouds, and I imagined the pilots announcing: “We’ll be landing at Cologne airport in approximately 10 minutes. Local temperatures are below zero and it is snowing heavily. Thank you for flying with us and have a great day.” And I could just hear the passengers groan about how much they missed the sun and the heat already, and I thought: YOU IDIOTS, you got this so wrong.

Snow turns the world into such a magical, beautiful place. How can you not want this every day?

From aboard this train


I’m on a train speeding through a snow storm, the first I’m witnessing this season, and everything is white and the train, for once, is warm and quiet and cozy and comfortable, and I’m reading some beautiful writing by a dear friend, and I’m on my way home, to my mom who will be picking me up from the station. What more could a person ever really ask for?

Spread the joy


My mom and I went for a walk through the fields behind my parents’ neighborhood last weekend, and took with us some bows and Christmas tree ornaments that we wouldn’t use ourselves this year. We put five or so on random trees and bushes in the hope that others would spot them and smile. You could probably call this littering but we chose to call it spreading the holiday spirit. Heh.

Prepping for Christmas

We’re officially past mid-November so it’s officially ok to listen to Christmas music, bake Christmas things and buy Christmas stuff. Everyone knows these are the official rules from the official guidebook.

So say hello to these guys:

Aren’t they ADORABLE? They’re Christmas tree ornaments and will go up on my parents’ tree this Christmas (since I will spend Christmas with them and won’t have my own tree).

My parents left early for some shopping in a neighboring city this morning while I slept in late. My brother and I ended up spontaneously deciding to join them and drove out there as well, and- it turned out to be so lovely. So gloriously unplanned and relaxed. It was cold today, a real winter day, and by the time we got there the sun was already hanging low, making for some beautiful light in the small shopping streets. It reminded me so much of Gothenburg – not sure why that specific city, and not any other Swedish town – and I loved it. My mom tried on coats and I bought the ornaments and we looked at snow globes. (Why am I not collecting snow globes yet? I should. It would help me get through the 10 dreadful months of the year that we don’t see any snow here. It would also cement my Weird Nerd Lady status.)

My mom and I also baked a Gundulakranz when we got home – recipe to come tomorrow, if I can stick to my blogging plans for once – which bookended our family centered Saturday perfectly.

With my mom


I spent today with my mom, who had taken the day off work so we could hang out. We drove to the big city nearby, and just did whatever we felt like at any given moment. Stopped at H&M to try on flannel shirts and pullovers. Had caramel lattes at Starbucks. Looked at cutesy winter decoration stuff in small stores that smelled like Christmas and played modern jazz. And yes, I did in fact seek out the men’s fragrances section at a large department store in the hopes of spotting Alexander Skarsgård in his Calvin Klein ads, WHAT OF IT? I just needed to smell that Encounter fragrance once. Once. And take home a flyer with his face on it because they had them and I could. SHUT UP AND GO ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS, EVERYONE.

I also bought a Stutenkerl (bottom left photo). It’s a traditional pastry sold at bakeries this time of year. I don’t know the story behind them but they remind me of my childhood and they are delicious, so there. Sweetest part of the day, though? Looking in those dressing room mirrors and being genuinely content with what I saw. Most delightful reward for months and months of hard work.