Advent Wreath: A Symbol of Preparation for His Coming

It’s the first week of Advent season in the Liturgical year. Advent symbolizes the preparation for the coming of our Lord Jesus. This season is marked by the Advent Wreath or Adventskranz. For those who don’t know what Advent wreath is, it basically a garland of evergreens with four candles on top of it. Candles symbolizes the four Sundays before the Christmas day.

Here in Germany, many household have wreaths in their homes. Since mid-November, garlands were already sold in markets. They were picked and bound fresh in different sizes and you wouldn’t believe how pricey they can be. Some opt to do their own Advent wreath. Evergreens can be found and picked even in nearby parks or playground. For me, I opted to buy from a store. Even though it’s easy to make one (I think), I just don’t have that artistic touch. My Filipina friend shared to me her wreath which she made on her own.

adventskranz, advent wreath
Fresh Advent Wreath

Yeah, I know it’s easy. Maybe next year I will try to make one. This is the one I bought from the store. Advantage of this… it will not wither. 😛

advetn wreath, adventskranz

Silberzwiebeln: My New Favorite

I admit I haven’t really embraced German food and the German eating habits 100% even when I’m here for almost 3 years. I still cook Filipino dishes and dine in restos that serves Asian buffet everytime I crave for them. I can’t cook traditional German dishes without the help of instant fixes from Maggi or Knorr. Although unhealthy, for me that’s the only way we can eat German and other European specialties to get us familiarized. Every meal for us is not complete witout rice on the table. We consume 20 kilos of rice in just a little over 3 weeks! But I’m planning to change that, now that the kids are already in school. And that’s the reason why we don’t let the kids bring their own lunch for school. We wanted for them to eat what Germans eat.

abendbrot
Typical Abendbrot

Did you know that Germans only eat bread for dinner? When I say Germans, I’m not saying all of them but I believe most of them. Their dinner is called Abendbrot which literally means Evening bread. They have these different kinds of bread, from pretzels, bread roll and others which really are filling to the tummies. They have salami, ham, leberkaese  or liver cheese which can have different “flavors” such as pizza or pepperoni, lyoner, and so much more sausages to eat with it. Apart from the bread and the meat filling, cheese, butter or flavored yoghurt can be spread on the bread. They also have fresh vegetables on the side. Side dishes can be pickled vegetables, salad, pickled cucumber and the one that I have just discovered recently which I am really starting to love; the Silberzwiebeln which literally means silver onions.

abendbrot, silberzwiebeln
Silberzwiebeln

They are pickled and taste a little sour but just perfect for my taste buds. I love munching on it with the bread. Just the perfect side dish for me. I had a taste of it first during the time Zyc stayed in the hospital for almost a week. Even he liked it then. We even thought it was peeled grapes. Haha! I liked it so much I searched for it as soon as we went for grocery that week. Although we still don’t have bread for dinner regularly, I eat them everytime I got bread even for just a snack.

I’m still looking forward to discover food new to my taste here and hopefully some day I can actually cook them without the instant mixes.

Image credit: de.wikipedia.org
paradisi.de

Maultaschen: Little Cheaters on God

When I was attending the Orientirungskurs (Orientation course for immigrants), an overview of geography, politics, history and culture of Germany were tackled. Although it was just a brief 15-day course, it was indeed interesting knowing I’ll get a little more familiar with the country I am right now. Passing the test of this course is a requirement aside from B1 level language and the exam for citizenship if an immigrant wishes to become a citizen here and have a German passport. Anyway, I found politics a little hard for me however similar it is with our concept in the Philippines. Most probably because of the technical terms. I find them confusing actually. Geography? Confusing for me, too but still was interesting. Unfortunately, I was only able to watch a film when it came to our history session. There were many days that I wasn’t able to attend to class because the kids got sick. We watched Valkyrie which starred Tom Cruise. I just learned that it was a story of the failed assassination attempt to Adolf Hitler.  I passed the test, by the way. Got a score of 21 out of the 25 questions. But do you know that those 25 questions were from a list of 250? I could have perfected that if only I had focused on studying and memorizing those questions. Anyway, making 4 mistakes is not bad at all. 🙂

Now you might be wondering what is Maultaschen. Our teacher told us breifly of the history of this food of Swabian origin. I found it fascinating that this was started during the Lenten season when Catholics are refrained from eating meat. Since men need energy to perform heavy work, the meat was concealed under the pasta dough so they can not be seen by God, hence the nickname Herrgottsbescheißerle or Little cheaters on God.

maultaschen

Maultaschen comes in different sizes. They are originally wrapped just like ravioli but bigger and in rectangular shapes. We bought the sliced ones. Main ingredients are pasta dough, minced meat, smoked meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions. (Wikipedia). A variety of flavors was also introduced. They can be grilled, pan-fried or simmered in soup just like we normally do.

I personally like Maultaschen. aside from being easy to cook (hehe..) I like its taste. It is my refuge when I get tired of cooking and eating meat. 🙂

Weihnachtsmarkt in Stuttgart

Zyc just turned 7 yesterday and his celebration was way far from what I have planned. I guess it won’t happen either if we were in the Philippines. After we’re done with the Museum visits, we went straight to the city center and roamed. As usual we bought toys for the kids after seeing this toy store just as we came out from the basement parking.

As it was getting dark I realized that the Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas market of Stuttgart is still there (I thought they’ll close it after Christmas). I was so excited as we were nearing the area where it is. From afar I was already seeing the lights that lit up the market. “Finally I will see another Weihnachtsmarkt aside from Allen’s”, the thought that ran through my mind.

Weihnachtsmarkt
Weihnachtsmarkt from afar

It’s true what hubby told me, Weihnachtsmärkte are all the same. Same food served, same gimmicks as we would say. However, since Stuttgart is a big city, it offered more choices of stores and I could say that the atmosphere was more alive. Being the state’s capital, we expect people from different cities coming here.

 It had an ice skating rink which I think was the most popular attraction aside from the traditional food offered by the stores. For a fee, kids and adults could enjoy skating. Unfortunately, none from us know how to ice skate so we just settled on watching the people have fun with Christmas music on the background.

After checking out this Weihnachtsmarkt, we just went to some appliance stores and of course I will not miss this chance of getting a sip of my favorite frapuccino so we headed to Starbucks. I was so happy because I didn’t miss one of their flavors offered only during Holiday Season, the Toffee Nut.

It was a tiring day but I know my kids had fun, especially Zyc with his simple birthday celebration.

Weihnachtsmarkt 2012

For the first time, I’ve been to our Weihnachtsmarkt or Christmas market here in our city center at night time. Yes, it was only my first time since we don’t usually go out at night especially during winter because of the kids. But this time I requested hubby to let me see it so I would know what it would look like with its light decors turned on.

Shopping hours were extended that Saturday night up to 10pm so we first went to the mall. Some stores were on sale and we checked out if we could buy something. (Un)Fortunately we didn’t see any. 🙂 There was a festive atmosphere when we came as Christmas songs were played and there were still many people shopping. Christmas trees and decors adorned the place. We took this opportunity to take a picture with them. Sooo… Pinoy! Hahaha! Anyway, who cares? People wouldn’t know if we’re here as tourists or not. 😛

Weihnachtsmarkt

Our Weihnachtsmarkt, called Aalener Weihnachtsland is incomparable with the other big cities’. Due to limited space and small population we don’t have that grandeur as what other cities have. But I liked it when I saw that the place was still jampacked with a lot of people and even with their kids in tow. Small stores were set up around the place and mostly offer traditional German delicacies. The different grilled sausages especially the most famous currywurst and the most sought after drink during the season, the glühwein.

Weihnachtsland, Weihnachtsmarkt

Zyc, chopping my face…

Hubby bought a glass of glühwein and compared to what we had last year, this is sweeter. I could have also bought mine but I still didn’t think I could finish a glass of it.

A glass of glühwein to warm yourself up

 

Our Weihnachtsmarkt may lack that luster and grandiose as the others but for me it doesn’t matter. This is still a place where people share laughter and company over great food and drink.

Christmas is in the Air

On the day we left our car in the workshop we had no choice but to go to the city center on foot. Although it was only a less than 15-minute walk I still “enjoyed” that moment. The comfort of having our own car sometimes make me forget to appreciate simple things. Looking at my kids and their dad playing around while walking was a pleasant sight. Just a thought, walking TO the city center is different from walking IN the city center while there are not much you can see along our main road.

No car…

We went to our mall here and passing through the center I saw that preparations for the annual Weinachtsmarkt or Christmas market is ongoing.

weinachtsmarkt2012, weinachtsmarkt Aalen

weinachtsmarkt2012, weinachtsmarkt Aalen

I can’t wait to see this at night when glittering lights lit up the place and see people enjoying the taste of gluhwein to keep their bodies warm.

Anyway, we went to the mall to shop around for clothes for the season. Hay… The change of seasons just kills our budgets! 🙁

Aside from the preps in the city center, our mall already have their Christmas decors. You could really feel that Christmas is in the air.

mercatura weinachts2012

Apologies for the photo, I only used my phone on this shot. 🙂

As it was almost getting dark (at 4pm) we started to head back home. We checked on the schedule of the bus but unfortunately 3:35pm was the last trip. With no choice we had to go home on foot. Nevertheless, we passed by a supermarket and went for our groceries good for just a day or two. With the shopping bags we had, we can not add more weight with our groceries.

Heading home was a drag especially for the kids. Poor them, they had to walk uphill. I could still remember Ryz’s sleepy eyes, tired body and dragging her feet to walk. I just hope this will not happen to us again.

A Week Break for the Saints’ Day

Yahoo!!! I have a one week break from my boring German class same with all the schools here in Aalen. 😀 Just like many other Catholic countries, we are celebrating the All Saints’ Day called Allerheiligen.

Traditionally, Catholics take part in a church service, light up candles and offer prayers for their deceased relatives. People may also visit graves of their dearly departed family members or friends. These graveyards are adorned with plants and flowers and candles are lit just as it begins to get dark in the latter part of the day.

Honestly I’m really surprised knowing this. I thought Philippines is the only country remembering our departed loved ones on All Saints’ Day and not on All Souls’ Day which is celebrated on November 2. I have yet to see really how they do it here as we didn’t go out last year to witness their celebration.

Newweling, All Saints' Day in GermanyUpon research I learned that All Saints’ Day in some parts of Germany is symbolized by Newweling. As described, Newweling is made of two or more candle wicks dipped in wax and wrapped around a cone shaped form. The form is removed before the candle is lit. Traditionally, each candle wick is dipped in red, white, blue, yellow or green wax and two or more different colors are used for each candle.

 Anyway, for the whole week me and Zyc will just be staying home since Ryz has Kindergarten and offices aren’t closed except on All Saints’ Day itself. What will I do? Of course update my blog(s) and work up with my two new baby blogs. 🙂 Oh, I almost forgot! Our teacher gave us “tons” of homework to do during the week-long break. Haist! Oh well… Hope I still remember to do them and will not be so preoccupied with my online world.