In Germany we call this time between Christmas and New Year's Eve "between the years" (zwischen den Jahren). It's a time when we often have a break and consequently more free time - time to reflect on the year that is almost over and looking towards the new year that's almost here. I'm off work from both the high school and the German School right now which is a more than welcome break from the quite hectic days at both schools. Kaefer has been home since the third weekend in December and will be here for another week before she, too, needs to get back to the work and college life.
I do love the more quiet time after Christmas. Since we celebrate on Christmas Eve as is our German tradition, Christmas Day itself was very relaxing with playing games and cooking (and eating) a good meal for dinner. Kaefer and I did a complete re-run of all the Downton Abbey episodes - binge watching at its best for almost two weeks - and enjoyed the Christmas special of "Call the Midwife", our favorite TV series. We were invited to a lovely 65th birthday party which resulted in some great dancing and lots of laughter. The clutter in my studio has bugged me for a long time and I finally cleaned out at lot of stuff and brought it to the thrift store that specializes crafts supplies. I have been working in the garden - there has been a lot of trimming back and I'm still not done. We had frosty mornings and mild days - oh, how do I love the Northern Californian winter. We also had some heavy rain which is always much needed in this area, and it has kept away the fears of wildfires for now.
Good old-fashioned German Glühwein
For the entire month of December I have joined Susannah Conway's "December reflections 2018" challenge on Instagram which I enjoyed very much and is a beautiful tool to go back and reflect about the year. If you want to you can see the results on my Instagram.
This was a mixed year and not everything was good. But when I look back it's mainly the good thinks that stand out for me - our trip to Istanbul, a Turkish wedding, traveling in Turkey and Ireland. 10 marvelous days on the Big Island where we could enjoy the wild beauty of Puna before many parts of it were consumed by the lava spilling out of fissure 8 a few months later. Some lovely hikes and seeing how nature bounces back after the devastating wildfires of October 2017. We're seeing burned down neighborhoods springing back to life, fire survivors re-building their homes. Our daughter was traveling in Europe on her own, then going to Dubai and finally to Cape Town where she was doing an internship in two hospitals, experiencing a completely different life. It is delightful to see the young woman she is growing into.
The last of the roses in December, "Anna's Promise"
For the new year I wish that my family and friends stay healthy and happy. I hope that our country will be kinder than it is right now and that common sense finds its way back here.
To all of you a lovely 2019 - may the new year give you many reasons to laugh and experience the joy of life.
Sunset on Christmas Eve