Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Corpus Christi 

Thursday is a holiday here in Bavaria, not all over Germany. It is Corpus Christi, and I was a little interested in what the actual meaning of it was. There have been quite a few holidays recently, all tied into Easter. Starting with Good Friday, Easter, the ascension of Christ, and Pentecost. But I couldn't figure out what this one would be. Obviously Corpus Christi means "body of Christ" but what exactly is the event being remembered. I asked around a little and never got an answer, the few Germans I asked kept saying "Fronleichnam" which really was of no help. I finally turned to the trusty keeper of all information, the internet. Rather than rewrite this info, I'll share it directly from the website:

Corpus Christi Day (Fronleichnam) commemorates the Holy Eucharist, i.e. the ritual consumption of bread, or rather wafers which, according to catholic practice, become the consecrated symbol for the flesh of the Crucified Redeemer after the priest has blessed it. The German name for this feast day derives from "fro" which is the Old High German word for Lord. Fronleichnam means 'the body of the Lord' or 'Corpus Christi' which is the name used in the English language. In regions with a primarily Catholic population the Church organizes a procession which usually sets out from the town's church and returns to it at the end. The so called Holiest of Holies (Das Allerheiligste), the monstrance containing the wafers, is carried by the priest under a canopy. If it is a nice sunny day an altar may have been erected in front of the Church, and both the Church and the streets where the procession passes through are colourfully decorated with greenery (usually birch tree branches) and flowers.

Since we are living in a primarily Catholic town, I'm wondering if they will have a procession tomorrow. If I would have known sooner I would have asked at Jacob's kindergarten. So, at least now you all know further what Corpus Christi means, it is not just a place in Texas...

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Today is another beautiful day, the weather is so nice. It is already about 65 degrees, so by this afternoon we should be in the 70's. We put out our tomato plants over the weekend, they were getting too big to stay inside. So now they are all outside, with the exception of one pot of peppers that Kenny is keeping inside. It is really doing well, so we thought it was small enough to stay inside.

A friend and I went last Friday to a town just down the road, Gunzenhausen. We went to the "downtown" to look at the shops and have some coffee, it was really nice. The Altmühl river enlarges to a lake in that area, it is called the Altmühlsee. There are some other lakes there as well, and it appears to be a fairly popular summer destination. It's actually just as close as Ansbach to us, we are right inbetween the two places.

We are heading to Holland for the Memorial Day weekend, to a Centerparc bungalow park, De Huttenheugte. We are looking forward to a relaxing weekend, and hoping for warm weather. If the weather is not nice, it's okay! All of the swimming area is indoors so we can spend our time in there. We have a small 2 room bungalow booked, and some bicycles reserved also. Should be lots of fun.

I went to the metzgerei (butcher) today and got some fresh bratwurst to grill this afternoon for dinner, it is too nice to cook inside. They also have really good salami there, so I got some of that as well. Jacob likes to take it for his mid-day meal at kindergarten. When I dropped him off today, he was hoping that since it was sunny he would get to spend a lot of time outdoors. I'm going to pick him up in just a little while, we'll see if he did or not. They had all the windows wide open to let in the fresh air, I had done the same at home as well. It's a great thing until they start spraying the fields next to the house, then you have to run and close them up quick!

Friday, May 20, 2005

homemade bagels

Some of our tulips


So, I realize it's been a while since I posted, I really have been busy. And honestly, most of it is boring busy stuff! Nothing too fun and exciting to post about. Where do I start?

Jacob is back to kindergarten, and enjoying it. He really missed it while we were gone. We brought back shells from the beach for all the kids in his class, they really liked them. Jacob enjoyed handing them out to all his classmates also. The weather is warming up and they have a great playground there, so they are out in the fresh air almost every day. When it rains the temperature really drops, so those days they are usually inside.

While in the States I remembered how much I liked bagels, especially fresh ones. We have the frozen ones in the commissary here, but the fresh ones are so much better. I tried my hand at making some, and they came out pretty good. Not the best I've ever had, but better than the frozen ones I think. I made garlic/italian herb bagels, since Kenny is a huge fan of garlic bagels.

Our seedlings, which are now plants, are still inside in our bedroom. There was frost again this morning, we're not sure if they will ever go outside. I'm really tired of looking at them in the bedroom, I am so ready to get them into pots. We think maybe this weekend we will do it, and just cover them if it's going to frost. I still can't believe we had frost on May 19th!

We have had a saga with our "Energie" bill, which is our electric and gas. Our hot water and our house is heated by the gas. The system here is that you pay the same payment every month, and then at the end of the year you reconcile it. We got a post card in the mail and we record our meter numbers on it, then mail it back. They send a reconciliation with how much you over/underpaid. We expected to owe them something, but the bill showed an additional $1300 (mainly from the gas portion)! Needless to say we were shocked, and were looking forward to a dark, cold winter this year. We really didn't feel like we overused the heaters, but planned to use as little as possible this year. We are entitled to some "tax relief" here, where we can turn in a form and not pay german taxes on certain things. A friend passed on some info about how to get the tax relief on my energie bill, and also about rate classes. So I went down to their office in Nürnberg and brought my tax form. I also checked my rate class and found out I was in the wrong class, and paying about 1/3 more than I should. They wouldn't go back and change it for last year, which was a bit of a bummer. But at least this year will be better. Our payment is less and we shouldn't owe anything at the end of the year, which is a relief. Just one more thing we now know about Germany, you have to ask for a certain rate class on your energie bill, or they will charge you the highest possible amount!

I have really suffered from jet lag this time, usually it just makes my sleep schedule a little off. This time however, I have truly been exhausted, and ready to sleep all the time. Seems to be easing up, with the better weather and more sunshine. I'm sure I have more I should write about, but for the sake of finally getting a new post on the the blog, I'll just stop now!

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