Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Is Near

Anything for a picture.

I had had a couple of mysterious calls come in during the day on Dec. 3 but I didn't know the number and I could not catch it in time as I was in class.  When I came home later on and was in the middle of doing my homework, my cell phone rang again.  This time I caught it.  It was a person from Haderslev Ugeavisen (Haderslev weekly newspaper).  He asked me about some photos that I had sent in to see if they wanted them for the newspaper.  Then he went on to ask me many many questions about who I was and what I was doing here in Haderslev.  At the end he told me that he was going to write an article about me for the paper which will show up on the 19th or 26th of December.  Holy cow.

I made it up there for my photo!

I have joined our little college choir.  The first practice that I went to was so wonderful.  I walked home on cloud 9.  It was such a wonderful feeling to be back doing something that I loved so much.  I hadn't even realized how much I had missed it.  Then last Thursday we had a little Christmas concert at school.  We sang four songs and it was amazing to be back on stage performing for others.  The folks who put together the decorations for it were just wonderful.  They had put up Christmas lights everywhere and boughs of Nordman fir all over.  There were tables dressed in red tablecloths with a candle and more boughs on them.  They were selling cakes, beer, and tea.

Our International group had a Christmas dinner together.  We all brought a piece of the meal.  I had no idea what was served for a Christmas dinner here.  It is called a julefrokost.  So our organizers made a list of food and we all chose something to bring.  I brought something called leverpostej with bacon and mushrooms.  I had no idea what I was supposed to do with it though and had to ask.  It turns out the you fry the bacon slivers and then cook the mushrooms in the grease left over.  Then when it is served you spread the warmed up leverpostej on bread and top it with the cooked mushrooms and bacon.  Oh my goodness but it was amazing.  I think even those of you that don't like liver, which is the base for leverpostej, would have like this.

salmon, dip sauce (honey mustard, dill sauce) 
shrimp and mayo
karrysild (herring with curry salad) 
eggs (eggcake and hard-boilded eggs)
dark bread and white bread
leverpostej, which is a liver spread (with roasted champignon and bacon)
red cabbage in jars
baked root vegetables (rodfrugter)
cheese plate with grapes and pepper (three different cheeses)
ris a l'amande with cherry sauce 

That was an amazing meal and a huge thanks goes out to the organizers.

I have been watching a number of different Christmas shows.  One is called Julestjerner which means Christmas star or poinsettia.  It is the story of a family that loses their home in town and find out they have a place that they have inherited in the country.  All sorts of strange things happen to them there including things that happen due to Christmas elves called nissem├Žnd.  There is another one called Jule i Kommenen which is more adult oriented.  The mayor is a little nuts and not very mayor like thus causing all sorts of difficulties.  Then there is Jul i Valhal which tells the story of two children who find the ancient Norse god Loke tied up in a cave.  He finds a way to get them to untie him.  He is the trickster god, among other things, so trouble starts and the kids end up going to Valhal in order to find a way to fix what they have done.  Sadly, I don't understand all the words so I am sure that I miss a lot that is going on but it gets a little easier everyday.

Christmas decorations at my school UCSyd Haderslev. 

Christmas is such a huge thing here and it goes on all month long in different ways.  We also had a little Christmas gathering with our class where we brought a candle, treats and a 10 kr. present with us.  We sang a couple of Christmas songs and then we played a game with the presents.  We had to throw a dice and whoever got a six would get to chose a present.  Then when there were no more presents in the middle, you would take one from someone else.  At some points people had nothing while others they had many.  This was a little uncomfortable for those of us who were Internationals as we didn't know what was going to happen at the end.  It could end up with one or a few people having all the presents and then others having none.  That didn't seem very friendly.

It turned out that people who had more than one gave the extras away to those who had none.  That also caused a little difficulty because there were those who felt embarrassed to accept one as their culture had taught them that that was like accepting charity.  I think that it might have helped if we had understood the rules of the ending at first although, I had spoken to someone from one of those cultures and they said that it would still be difficult to accept.  It was that strongly engrained in them.

We have had a couple of parties that are also sad as we have two of our International fellow class members make the decision that this isn't right for them.  So they have gone home.  We will miss them.

Cooking dinner.

Enjoying a hyggelig dinner.

Candles make things hyggelig.

An interesting game building towers until they fell.

It has snowed a few times over the past few weeks and we have built up a pretty decent amount of snow.  As of right now, it is in the process of melting as the temperatures have gone back above zero.  Sadness.  Today has been quite foggy and surrealistic due to the melting snow causing a lot of moisture to be in the air.  A few nights ago it was bitter cold with raging winds and snow falling that was more like mini ice pellets than snow.  I love all of it.

On the way to school in the morning.
Snow on the cafe tables in Torvet Square.
Snow melting and falling off of my roof.

A realistic look at the fog today here in Haderslev.

Coming home and covered in snow.

The nissemand or kvinde struck again at our apartments this morning.  I went outside awhile after I got up to find that there was a Christmas stocking for me at my door.  It brought tears to my eyes.

My stocking from the nissemand.

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