Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Years 2008 - Celebrating in Germany (Once Again)

What a perfect start to the new year. We spent the night with friends in the nearby town of Heroldsberg. For dinner we had fondue - Brazilian fillet, chicken, and pork - followed by cheesecake. There were three couples and four children, in all, and all of whom got along surprisingly well.

In fact, whenever we get together with Thorsten, his wife Claudia, his brother, Marco, and his sister-in-law, Tanja, we can't help but have fun. Marco is like a big kid, and the children (and adults) can't get enough of his silliness. And Thorsten, Claudia, and Tanja are incredible hosts. Thorsten is generally responsible for drinks and music (although he's also an incredible cook), while Claudia and Tanja put finishing touches on the dinner.

It's awesome to get together with other travelers and it's hard to believe that was a time when we all got together, without kids. We spent some time together in Florida, and then some in Germany, and the Müller Foursome (Müller being their last name), often vacationed together, be it in Asia, Europe, America, etc.

Fellow travelers don't get bored or irritated when you say, "Where were we when that happened - Sydney?". They know the pros and cons of travel, and the drawbacks of having a spouse that travels for work. Been there, done that.

But back to last night. We brought the kids outside for sparklers and (smaller) fireworks, then got them to bed around 10:30 (we made a collective decision to let them hang out until they were noticeably ready for bed), watched a bit of New Years' TV, poured the champagne, and when the clock struck midnight, toasted, kissed, hugged, and wished each other a happy 2008. Then we quickly got dressed and ran outside to watch (and participate in) the craziness on the street.

I don't do well with German New Years celebrations. The Germans send things up in the sky that, in America, are left to the professionals. They ignite various fireworks in the street, just before their house and beside their cars, and with things occasionally going astray or closer than expected to the cars, it's a complete mystery to me that injuries are so few and far between.

To my credit, I did stand outside for a few minutes before going in to check on the baby (he may be almost 2, but he's still our baby). :-) It was pretty loud, and rather than having Lukas wake up alone in their unfamiliar basement (which is where the guest room is), I layed down with him and called it a night, despite the sound of continuing fireworks and, later, karaoke. I'm not much of a night owl, and for someone who generally dozes off at 8 PM, staying up until after midnight is quite the accomplishment. :-)

This morning, Thorsten and Claudia made a breakfast fit for kings, and we ate, talked, and ate some more, sipping on coffee from oversized mugs, and letting the kids play a bit more before parting ways.

What better way to start the year? The adults had fun, the kids had fun, and we all got a fare share of sleep (except for poor Claudia, who had a tooth ache and was suffering from an espresso buzz).

Thank you, Müllers!

Hope you all had a fantastic New Years, too, and that the upcoming year is happy, healthy and successful for you and yours.

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