Archive for December, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Friday, December 31st, 2010

So here is how Christmas played out in our part of the world…

Traditionally Christmas is celebrated here on the evening of the 24. Family gathers, eats usually a fairly simple meal, and then the Christmas Child (I haven’t quite got the whole story yet on who that is. Jesus? An angel?) comes and brings the children presents.

We decided to have the family dinner at the cafe, as it was easier for everyone. Markus closed at about 1:00 p.m. and then we went back a few hours later to set up and get ready.

Pretty Christmas table

Everyone arrived together: Markus father and step-mom, sister Suzi with her daughter Lili and two dogs, and Suzi’s grandmother. Markus’s dad made steak tartar, which amazingly I actually like (just have to pretend I’m not eating raw meat.) Markus also put out breads and spreads and Italian meats and everything was lovely.

Franz, Renata and Uhroma, (she is 93!)

Suzi and Lili

Uhroma and Diego

The Christmas Child brought Annie a Princess tent, a doll and beads. Perfect!

On Christmas morning Annie woke up to a present at the end of her bed that Santa left. A ballerina-pink sparkly dress was inside. That Santa sure knows Annie well!

Downstairs the wonder of gifts under the tree and stockings hung by the fire (really laying on the couch) brought hoped-for squeals of delight. I actually didn’t take too many pictures, as we were just enjoying opening gifts and being together. Also, when I was a child, present opening lasted literally hours, so there was loads of opportunity for photos. Here, with one child and few adult gifts, it was all over in 20 minutes. I did snap these two lovely shots though.

AND!! (I’m so excited) I turned on the video to catch Annie spinning in her dress. It is way too dark and grainy, BUT I unexpectedly captured that iconic childhood moment when Annie’s little brain is trying to figure out why there is more than one Santa. She is saying that she saw Santa at the Christmas Market and he had a different face from the one that came to her kindergarten, Kindervilla. (Then she says the whole thing again for Papa in German, as he clearly doesn’t speak English.)

Just check out her face as her brain tries to process the information when I say that maybe one is Santa’s helper. Hilarious!

There are 2 Santa Clauses!! from Hillary Samson on Vimeo.

Happy New Year to you all.

This Day Brought to You By the Letter “S”

Monday, December 20th, 2010

Sunday Markus, Annie and I went to Seefeld, a pretty recreational area about half and hour from Innsbruck.

The day was filled with skiing…

I'm in the white and Annie is ahead of me in the pink. (Click to enlarge.)


…and sleeping.

Annie and I have had a run of particularly crappy days lately, so this awesome one was truly soul saving.

The Difference a Year Can Make

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Annie and Markus had their first ski day! It has been snowing here quite a bit the last two weeks and several of the mountain runs are already open. I was so disappointing I couldn’t join them, but a series of health problems have been plaguing me the last few weeks, (today it is a bad sinus infection) so I spent most of the day in bed. Annie was excited to tell me that she went with Dad down the big hill twice. Last year it took about an hour to get down the full run with Annie, so she has obviously improved.

I did rally for the Krampus parade and we all went together. Last year was a bit of a trial with not only tears but outright screaming, and I swore we wouldn’t go again until Annie was older. But Markus has been prepping her for the last few weeks and Annie said she really wanted to go. Alright then. Well, I guess all the original, non-Disneyfied Grimm Brother tales have toughened my girl up, as she barely blinked when the scary monsters came by. When they were up really close she did need me to hold her, but I think I’d be more worried if she was completely immune to those creatures.

We didn’t stay long as there was a strong wind making it unpleasant outside. But that was fine. Annie got her St. Nikolaus sac filled with oranges, nuts and chocolate (volunteers must be filling those for weeks!) and all was well.

On another note, I like these yearly events as they are a good gauge of my German skills. I understood everything that was being said by St. Nik, which certainly wasn’t the case last year. And when I came home I read 20 pages of the novel we are reading for class in less than an hour. I used to read less than 10 pages per hour not too long ago.

I guess both Annie and I are making progress in our own way.