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Weinachten in Ichenheim III

December 28th, 2010 No comments

This is actually the fourth Christmas I’ve spent in Ichenheim, but only the third in a row. If you want to know what this one was like, you could basically just go back and read my account of last year’s Christmas or the one from the year before, as this was practically a carbon-copy of those other two with just a few slight differences. That’s the nature of tradition though, and it’s nice to do the same things every year in spite of the fact that it gets less and less interesting each time. I still feel obliged to record the events, but I’ll keep it brief and only highlight aspects in which this Christmas was different from the previous two.

Thursday the 23rd, I arrive in Offenburg in the early evening and am driven back to Ichenheim by Ralf and Myriam, who almost don’t recognize me with the short hair. We have a nice dinner and nice conversation until about 10:00 when we all go to bed.

Friday the 24th, we head to Hans and Gerlinda’s for Kaffee und Kuchen just like the last two years, and just like the last two Stefan and Evelyn are there with their daughter Analena who looks one year older and one year chubbier. When I’m not trying to follow the mostly incomprehensible conversation my mind is thinking about Lea, whom I just received an e-mail from before leaving. I’d just about given up hope on hearing from the woman I’d met the previous week on the plane, but she wrote to me after all and it put me in quite a good mood.

After a couple of hours and a few glasses of wine, we head back and have the traditional fondue dinner, the only difference this year being that we eat upstairs at Ralf and Myriam’s as opposed to downstairs at Ursela and Dieter’s. We don’t go out for a walk afterwards because it’s been snowing all day and the roads are covered. I’m glad I finally got to see Ichenheim in the snow, as this is the first year we’ve had a white Christmas that I’ve been here.

Saturday the 25th is almost completely uneventful except for the annual Christmas concert of the male voice choir that Hans is a part of. Last year they held it in the church which made for some really nice acoustics, but this year it’s back at the school (apparently there was some tension between the Catholics and Evangelicals). This was where I first noticed Elena two years ago but she doesn’t come tonight. I do, however, get a rare Tanja sighting. She now has short hair and she’s getting progressively chunkier, but she’s still got a really nice face. And she still either doesn’t remember me from the infamous Musik Club Offenburg night or she insists on acting like she doesn’t.

Also present is Lara of the infamous previous-two-New-Years’-Days, apparently still with the same boyfriend, the son of the obviously-gay man who is also in the choir. Because I won’t be around for this New Years’ (I’m going to a party in Hannover with Oliver and Lena instead) I know this will be the only time I see her this time around. As we’re leaving the school when everything is over we pass her and her boyfriend. I shake the boyfriend’s hand and wish him a “Schöne Weinachten” and Lara is looking at me while I do so I go up to her as well, take her hand and say, “Lara, Schöne Weinachten” and she wishes me one as well with that adorable smile of hers. I suck up all the appreciation of that pointless little moment as possible and head my merry way. I wonder if she processed the fact that I remembered her name and not her boyfriend’s, but I doubt it.

Sunday the 26th is the big day when Ralf’s parents and brother come over and we have a giant lunch of geese and mashed potatoes and red kraut. It’s all very delicious and all exactly the same as the previous two years. Only this time our post-lunch walk is out in the snow, which is especially beautiful now under a blue sky. After Ralf’s family leaves the rest of us remain upstairs and continue to drink wine and talk, followed by drinking beer and eating a small dinner, after which Dieter invites me to come out for another little walk. But instead of walking around he suggest we go into the local hotel bar for a beer and I don’t refuse. There are a few random people there and Dieter knows all of them. The bartendress is a very cute lady apparently the same age as Myriam, and when I ask how old this hotel is Dieter asks her and she informs us that it was established in 1775, which I remark makes it one year older than the United States.

Also there to pay someone a visit is Elena’s younger brother whom I’d previously mistaken for Lara’s boyfriend in a journal entry about Rheinfest (now privatized). I’d taken note of him because he also had a really beautiful girlfriend and I couldn’t believe such a scrawny acne-ridden guy could get such beautiful girlfriends. But apparently it was two separate scrawny acne-ridden guys with two separate beautiful girlfriends, so that cleared that up.

Monday the 27th there is absolutely nothing going on until the evening when Dieter, Ursela and I pay a visit to my grandmother’s sister Fannie because I won’t be around on New Years’ Day when we normally go. She’s happy to see me and we have a nice meal as my mind drifts between attempting and failing to understand the conversation and thinking about the e-mails I’ve been exchanging with Lea.

And today is Tuesday the 28th and there is also nothing going on today, nor will anything noteworthy happen tomorrow. I’ll head back to Hannover on the 30th so I’ll have a night to myself before the New Years’ Eve party on the 31st with Oliver, Lena, and a bunch of her socialist friends. I’m going to invite Lea to come but I assume she already has plans and won’t be able to. But I assume I’ll be able to see her again sometime soon, as she won’t be working at all this month.

Regarding Lea, I’ve learned that she is actually Russian, her family having returned to Germany in 1990 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. She’s also an avid reader and likes to read true stories and biographies of famous people. She seems very interesting, and while I honestly don’t see any kind of relationship forming (I’m *probably* going to finally go Japan this year after all) it would be nice to make a new friend.

And that’s really all there is to write about for now. This may be my last journal entry of 2010. It’s been a mostly dull year with a few scattered notable events. Seeing Green Day, going to CeBIT, joining the anti-war protest with Lena in Hannover, and of course going back to visit America for the first time in two years. Finally topped off with that excellent weekend in London for the Japan job interview and meeting a couple of potential life-long friends. It wasn’t a wasted year by any means, but hopefully 2011 will be far more interesting.

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