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A year ago, Bill and I spent December 1st moving into what was our new home in Wiesbaden. He was recovering from cleaning our old house in Jettingen, which turned out to be a complete waste of time, since our former landlady was determined to find and charge us for every little defect, whether or not we were responsible for it. In retrospect, I wish we had just broom swept the place, as required by our lease, and been done with it. Trying to clean that house to her impossible standards was a waste of energy that took away from the energy we needed to set up our new home.

Anyway, because we were in the process of moving, we never did make it down the hill to Breckenheim’s adorable little Adventmarkt, which goes on for just one day every year. They had it last night, so we went down for a couple of glasses of Gluhwein. I got some pictures. Most of the booths were for food and mulled wine, as far as I could tell. They had waffles, crepes, and I could see the Breckenheimer bikers were selling brats off the grill. They were the ones who threw the awesome rock festival over the summer.

I love how community minded Breckenheim is. This is a community that does a lot of neighborhood events and I can see that the neighbors are friendly and social and like to do stuff together. I experienced this a lot less when we lived in the Stuttgart area. They had events, but they weren’t necessarily neighborhood events. It was also a lot harder to meet people down there because it seemed like the general mood was more reserved. I did make friends in the Stuttgart area, but it usually took more time. A lot of times, our dogs facilitated the meetings, too.

The lady who owned the dog, Sammy, was also working the Gluhwein stand. She noticed Bill’s German accent wasn’t native and quickly figured out we are English speakers. It turned out she lived in the United States for awhile and worked for Seagram, the beverage company. She came out and had a lovely chat with us on topics ranging from The Rolling Stones to Donald Trump. I found myself apologizing for our president, who is not popular over here for obvious reasons. But Germans have a laugh about that, since Trump’s origins in Kallstadt are not far from where we’re living now. Some of Trump’s poor extended relatives in Germany have been treated badly because he’s a distant relative.

Our new acquaintance from last night had plenty of opinions about American politics, which she expressed in excellent English, as well as a funny story about visiting the Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky and being shocked that it was in a dry town. We chuckled and told her that Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee is also in a dry town, and that folks who live there have to bring in their booze from a neighboring town that doesn’t ban alcohol.

When we told our new acquaintance we used to live in Swabia, she had a good laugh about the dialect, which even a lot of Germans don’t understand, and the stereotypes about people from Stuttgart. She said they are very good at business, since they’re very detail oriented and hate to spend money. I suppose I can agree with that, although I don’t know that being that way always leads to good business sense. Sometimes, both of those qualities are alienating and can get in the way of business. The trick is knowing when to be that way and when to lighten up and go with the flow. Sometimes a person can be “penny wise and pound foolish”.

Sammy, the dog, was incredibly adorable. His owner told us that he doesn’t like little kids and she worries that he’ll bite them. I noticed Sammy started barking whenever kids ran past him, but he was utterly charmed by the two fluffy furball puppies another family brought. I wish I had Arran with me, but he’s at the Hundepension Birkenhof today, because Bill and I have to go to Landstuhl and spend the night. Bill is having routine tests done at the hospital and I am the designated driver, because he will be under the influence of sedatives. God help us. At least we have a Volvo!

We headed back to the house when it became clear that my kidneys are in good working order. I suppose we could have gone back to the festivities and hung around for the appearance of Santa… Maybe if we’re still here next year, we’ll do that, if it’s not too cold. Last night’s weather was chilly, but not too unpleasant, but you never know in Germany. A few years ago, we had snow on December 1st. But then, that was down in Stuttgart, where things can be chillier in more ways than one!

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