When I arrived in Frankfurt the holidays whirled by, Christmas in Oberhausen with The German’s parents, his brother and his brother’s wife. We dined on fondue bourguignonne, which is basically meat fondue. The fondue pot is filled with oil and heated and you cook cubes of steak or pork to dip in various sauces (my favorite is curry) served on the side. It is so simple and delicious. I also love eating raclette, cooking my lil piece of bread with cheese, y-u-m. After dinner, bottles of different flavored grappa were brought down for our digestive and sampled. Yowzers, grappa. That stuff could start a car. But I liked it. NYE was celebrated in Köln with The German’s army buddy Oliver and his girlfriend Melanie (by the end of the night it was Melaner and Oliven) and their gang. We watched fireworks standing beside the Rhein. I remember it being so freezing cold I froze my cute lil behind off in my tights and miniskirt (but wearing a huge polar bear like furry coat, naturally faux fur, I love that coat).
Then the blur subsided and reality gave me a quick, swift kick to the head. I had just quit my job, moved out of my NYC studio, left my family and friends and was now living in Germany. I had minored in French for God’s sake.
My first instinct when moving to any new town is get to know your neighborhood. I love to explore. Our house sat perfectly on top of a hill at the end of a skinny street where there were strawberries and currants growing on the lot next to us. Looking out a large window my view scanned the top of the red roofs and up on a hill was a large soldier looking statue. I had to find out about my new hood. Where does that stream run to? How large is this beautiful forest surrounding me? What is that huge statue? And who is that crazy lady living down the street, she kinda freaks me out.
Herman the Gothic, Herman the German, Das Hermannsdenkmal, is a monument that stands 173 ft tall in the Teutoburg forests that surrounded my new town of Detmold Germany. It was a popular German tourist destination (a statue? whatev) but so was another place not too far away, the Externsteine. The Externsteine are a distinctive rock formation possibly founded as early as 815. It consists of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills and there is definitely a spooky vibe surrounding it as it was a center of religious activity and the tallest stone was used for sacrifices. The German would tease me that the crazy lady came to the Externsteine every night and did a ritual. And I believed him. I would say hello and smile every time I saw her so she wouldn’t put an evil hex upon me. She scared the bejesus out of me.