Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Glover's! May all your Christmas wishes come true!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

News from Brussels....

I thought I was safe in Brussels...then I find this news on xpats.com!

ENVIRONMENT - US bomb cleared near airport
BRUSSELS - An unexploded 250 kilo World War II US bomb has been discovered during work near the freight terminal at Brussels Airport. Ordnance experts from the Belgian army took the bomb away while neighbouring warehouses and offices were evacuated. Brussels Airport was a major German airbase during the second world war and was heavily bombed.

Let me remind you that my office is in the freight terminal of the Brussels Airport!

I'll be home for Christmas.....

Let's all sing together......

"I'll Be Home For Christmas"
I'm dreaming tonight
Of a place I love
Even more than I usually do.
And although I know
It's a long road back
I promise you
I'll be home for Christmas.
You can count on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree.
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love-light gleams.
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.

I leave for Memphis this Thursday, December 20th! I am so excited! I will be home through January 7th...so I hope to see you all soon!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cologne, Germany

My 2007 tour of Christmas markets continued this past weekend with a fantastic trip to Cologne, Germany. I went with my friends, Dan and Pam (Zsa Zsa's parents). Over the past 6 months, I have had the great pleasure of getting to know the both of them, but this was the first time I have actually traveled with them. They were soooooo much fun and I am looking forward to our next trip together!

We arrived on Saturday afternoon and fought our way through the crowds to see what this market was all about. We decided we were hungry and stopped for some lunch and a traditional German beer(s)! After lunch we browsed around the markets and did some great shopping! There was a polish pottery vendor....so, of course, Pam and I bought them out! Have I told you how much I love polish pottery??

I was also introduced to hot red wine with rum. Dan informed me its official name is "glu wine". Ok, you may think it is good....well, I am here to tell you, it is not! I gave it the ole college try, twice...with the same result.....handing it off to Dan to finish!! I will say the little mug and boot mug it came in were sooo cute! However, I decided I would just stick with the German beer (also in a great glass)!!

There was a cool ice skating rink where kids were sliding around...it was nice to watch from the sidelines!
Oh silly Pam!

Pam loved the Kumquat puppets...I think she just liked its hair!!

We had a great dinner at a Mexican restaurant (how about that for cuisine)! It was so good and really hit the spot after a long day of walking in the freezing weather!

On Sunday, we walked around some more to finish our shopping! Pam and I got suckered into trying out these little hair weapons....excuse me, I mean, hair pins. The lady showed us how to do it ourselves (she promised we can) so we will see if that actually happens!

She was pulling really tight.....love my face here!

The market was fantastic and the traveling companions were fabulous....so that must equal one incredible weekend!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas Visitors!

My friend Jane made a quick visit to Brussels while she was vacationing in France! I was so excited to see her and to meet her friend (and now mine), Lisa. They stayed 1 night with me so we did a quick trip around the Grand Place to show them a couple of must-see attractions in Brussels, had dinner with a Belgian beer, ate a waffle, and did some chocolate and lace shopping! I think they covered a lot of ground in a matter of 12 hours!

Christmas is a great time to see the Grand Place. It is absolutely beautiful this time of year with the decorations and Christmas tree and nativity. We had a great time!

Thanks for stopping by Jane and Lisa! Come back soon!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Frankfurt, Germany

I was in Frankfurt, Germany this past weekend for the first stop on my 2007 Tour of Christmas Markets!! I went with my friend Julie and also a friend of hers from Los Angeles who is currently in Europe for work. Can you tell we were a little chilly!!??

We took the 7AM train from Brussels for a 3 1/2 hour ride to Frankfurt. I must tell you how much I LOVE train travel in Europe! It is so convenient and easy to get anywhere without the hassle of security and delays that you experience in airports!

Anyway, we arrived at 10:30AM and the fun began. We picked a perfect hotel literally 100 yards from the Christmas market.

I have always heard about the German Christmas markets but really did not know what to expect. I found the Frankfurt market to be very festive with tons of vendors selling lots of food, ornaments, toys, etc. In my opinion, you go to a Christmas market for the festiveness of season, a little shopping, indulge in some hot wine, hot chocolate, carolers singing your favorite Christmas carols (in German, in course), and just to get in the spirit of the season. The Frankfurt market was all of that and more.

The vendors had very festive stalls where they sold all their goods. Check them out!

Since we arrived early in the day we were able to do most of our shopping before the major crowds hit. We were also very blessed with the weather as it was sunny and clear blue skies, although a little chilly! After dark, the crowds really came out!

I am not sure why we thought this trash can was so funny....maybe it was because of the hot wine!

We also found the HUGE chocolate covered pretzels hilarious!

There was so much food you could literally stuff yourself walking from stall to stall. It reminded me a bit of the Mid-South fair with all the yummy treats to choose from.

Everyone was in the spirit of Christmas. There were carolers, Santa's posse, and some awesome hats...

And there were ornaments galore.....

Frankfurt definitely lived up to my expectations of a great Christmas market! I am now definitely looking forward to Cologne next weekend!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Tradition says...

Early in the Advent season people celebrate a feast that has been popular for centuries in Christian countries, especially in Northern Europe. In our over-commercialized society, this holiday gives us a good "teaching moment" to remind children that Jolly Santa Claus, is, in fact, Saint Nicholas, a fourth century bishop of the city of Myra in what is now Turkey.

Saint Nicholas was renowned for his great kindness and his generous aid to those in distress. Among the kind and miraculous acts attributed to him are saving three young girls from prostitution by secretly providing them with dowries, raising three murdered boys from the dead, and saving sailors caught in stormy seas. For these reasons, he is considered the patron saint of children, unmarried girls, and sailors, among others.

Traditional celebrations of Saint Nicholas Day in Northern Europe included gifts left in children's shoes (the origin of our American Christmas stockings). Good children receive treats - candies, cookies, apples and nuts, while naughty children receive switches or lumps of coal. Sometimes coins were left in the shoes, reminiscent of the life-saving dowries the saint provided. Today - especially in families of German extraction - children still put a shoe outside their bedroom doors on the eve of Saint Nicholas Day, and expect to find candy and coins or small gifts in their shoe on December 6th.

I was first exposed to the tradition of St. Nicholas Day last year when we did a community service project at a school for underprivileged children! We went to the school the day before St. Nicholas was to come and decorated the classrooms with gold tinsel and left backpacks filled with gifts and toys for the kids. In many cases this was the only Christmas gift some of these kids would receive. We came back on St. Nicholas Day and saw the expressions on the kid's faces when they received their gifts! It was so cool to be apart of! We got to read them the story of St. Nicholas and spend some time with them. It was very special and certainly made me more appreciative of all that I have been blessed with.

This year, St. Nicholas visited me at work and left chocolates and speculoos for us to enjoy! Thanks St. Nick!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Markets!

I absolutely love Christmas and all of the decorations! I have moderately decorated my apartment for Christmas. I did not want to go overboard mainly because it is just me and I am not throwing any Christmas parties this year...and I am leaving on December 20th heading to Memphis for Christmas.

Anyway, I am planning on getting into the Christmas spirit starting weekend! I am off to Frankfurt, Germany with my friend Julie for the first stop of my tour of Christmas markets! Then, I am in Aachen and Cologne, Germany next weekend with my friends Dan and Pam (Zsa Zsa's parents).

I also cannot miss the Brussels Christmas market! The Grand Place will be decorated with a huge tree, lots of lights, and a live nativity! How cool is that!?

Lots of festivities getting started so I am excited about seeing how the other side of the world celebrates Christmas!!

I will have more to report soon!