Lenny, Juliane, little Jonathan and I left Helga on the sidewalk bidding us goodbye, and we were off on the long ride to Hannover, where Lenny and Juliane and Jonathan have an apartment.
We arrived late, ate pizza and then crashed for the night.
Today, I went to the local neighborhood Christmas market with Juliane showing me the way. We stopped and had a traditional Dutch treat that Germany borrowed. It is a cone shaped paper that holds French fries dripping with mayonnaise.
The first time I was in Holland with Will, he introduced that snack to me. I still have a photo of us in Delft each holding a cone of French fries with mayonnaise.
Juliane left me at the market and I continued on with some necessity shopping. That’s all I buy-although I must admit to seeing all kinds of things that would be a perfect gift for this person or that one-but all my American relatives are not expecting gifts this year.
They know I love them – and that will be my gift.
The goal I had today was to find a warm coat, and what should I find? A Woolworth store! Can you imagine that the old American institution that has been closing down in the states is thriving in Hannover?
I found a coat that will supply warmth throughout the winter here, for the inexpensive price of twenty euros. I was so proud of myself for this important find.
Then I began looking for a bakery/coffee shop, but not outside in the market where you have to stand. My legs were asking for a place to sit.
The place I found was at the intersection on the street that ends and where the Christmas market begins.
I went in, ordered a waffle and coffee. The waffle came with whipped cream and hot cherries on top. I was near a window and watched people walking on the sidewalks covered with snow. Adults and children were bundled up and the scene looked like a German Christmas card.
Then, a bit of waffle didn’t make it all the way down my throat, and I began to have one of my famous coughing fits. These have happened throughout my life, and I finally figured out that if I remain calm, and drink lots of water I will be okay. But the key is to remain calm – the hardest part.
I got up from my seat and walked to where the young man who waited on me watched me coughing and motioned to him that I needed water. He handed me a small glass. I drank it, handed it back to him, and asked for more. Three times I drank it fast and the coughing began to get better, but I felt I should leave because I was getting warm.
So I gathered up my sweater, and other items, said goodbye to the young man and regrouped outside.
In about five minutes I was okay again, avoiding an embarrassing moment. The first time this happened I was about ten years old at a piano recital. I began the coughing and couldn’t stop. The piano teacher took my arms and held them up over my head. That was too much of the wrong kind of attention for a ten year old.
I have found that many people here assume I am German – and they are one half correct – until I tell them I do not speak German. Most people have answered back in English.
The sun came out on my way back to Juliane and Lenny’s apartment, and then I sat at the window marveling at the 1920’s style, four story apartments across the street.
Lenny and Juliane’s apartment have the traditional big framed windows with curtains that go to the hardwood floor, and other decor treatments that put you back in the 20s. It reminds me of classic movies of that era.
Later this afternoon, Juliane, Jonathan and I went way upstairs to the fourth floor apartment, where a two year old was celebrating his birthday with other toddlers and their parents. It was fun to watch the children play together and to watch how they check each other out.
Jonathan was in toy heaven, with many toys spread out on the floor. He would crawl to one, put it in his mouth, find another one and crawl to that one. He was the youngest in the crowd, and showed a very possible, active social life in the near future.