Mom and Dad love ice cream. No matter the weather, they’re up for a scoop or two. This afternoon, we went to an Eis Cafe that no longer displayed their flavors in the front window. Thankfully, they still had some in the back to sell, but it was like they thought ice cream had a season. Not for this crowd.
Yesterday at Vinnie’s birthday lunch, Mom and Dad experienced the sad surprise that tap water isn’t complimentary in German restaurants. I am not a fan of this cultural difference. I really love drinking a lot of water.
However, since I won’t pay for tap water on principle, I’ve discovered the glory of the weinschorle: wine and sparkling water mixed. It’s priced similarly to regular water and makes my cheeks rosy.
After our great afternoon in Titisee last month, we wanted to share it with Mom and Dad. We were there on October 15, but it felt like summer. The kids were in shorts and wading in the water. Today, less than a month later, it was winter. We saw our first snow of the season on the train up to Titisee and enjoyed the festive scene of flakes falling on our walk to the misty lake.
The kids and I had a bit of trouble getting back to Freiburg. Although the weather added to the beauty of Titisee, apparently, the trains in and out of the forest don’t fancy it. We did eventually make it back, but we were pretty jealous of Mom and Dad getting to stay in their cozy Titisee lodge.
It is the eve of St. Martin’s Day, and both of our schools had celebrations tonight. All four kids had made lanterns and learned songs to mark the occasion. Vinnie paper mache’d a balloon for hers, the twins were Minions, and Thom was so proud of the big T he painted on his.
We could only go to one lantern walk tonight, and I chose the one organized by the twins’ school. It was closer, and it was raining. It was scheduled to be in the forest, but, due to the weather, they had it in Johanneskirche, a beautiful neighborhood church.
The children’s lanterns were illuminated with real fire. I have to admit that I was pretty nervous about so many small children carrying around a basket of fire on a pole, but I think everyone got home safely.
This was a beautiful event, and I can see how it binds a culture together. We got some smiles on the tram when people saw the kids holding their lanterns. I’m sure they were thinking back on their St. Martin memories.
In German class last night, we were doing conversation exercises on hobbies.
“Was machst du gern?”
What do you like to do?
I told Jodi, what I really like to do is have intimate conversations with people. Strangely, that wasn’t one of the examples in our book.
Google translate says:
Ich spreche gerne intim.
My favorite part of our London trip was the first hour of each day. I’d take one, two, or three of the kids a couple blocks to Waitrose for the day’s groceries and then dodge the big red buses to cross the street for cold coffee at Starbucks. This routine was so luxurious. I didn’t realize how much I missed the banter between strangers until I had it again.
Since the twins were born, my mother has provided me with a steady stream of Starbucks gift cards. My kids--especially the twins and Vinnie--have many memories there. They’re kids that mark the seasons by cake pops, with fall’s mummy the all-time favorite.
When we were waiting in line at our London neighborhood Clapham location, Vinnie remarked, “It almost feels like we’re back in Princeton here.”
Our first day we visited the British Museum and the Tate Modern. We only spent an hour in each. The twins can’t quite see the beauty in this kind of setting yet. Though, they appreciated the interactive swing exhibit at the Tate. Vinnie loved the mummies. Maybe it was all the cake pops.
Other Monday stops were The Wellington, a pop-up museum in a ship anchored on the Thames open only Sundays and Mondays. She was part of the British Navy and made supply runs in WWII. Thom was quick to offer corrections to the exhibit. He thought “German” should be replaced with “Nazi” in all the reports, but we informed him that the Nazis didn’t fight in WWI.
Mary Poppins was a huge part of my childhood and still influences me. That said, we needed to visit the steps of St. Paul’s and look for a familiar face. We didn’t see her. This time.
When Errol was out with Andrew on Monday night, I learned that lunch cruises on the Thames were half off the following day. Food and boats are safe bets with this crowd.
The Halloween festivities with our Princeton pals were fantastic. No one complained about missing trick-or-treating. It was that fun.
Wednesday we split up. I took the three littles to Battersea Park Children’s Zoo. It was a great place for them to spend a few hours and was full of locals. It had several playgrounds that the kids loved. The dynamic between these three is usually good, and I ventured they’d be okay foregoing mass transit. They walked almost three miles from Clapham to Victoria station. Crossing the river on the Chelsea bridge was memorable.
Meanwhile, Errol took Thom on adventures to the squash courts, Andrew’s barber shop, Heywood Hill book shop, lunch, and the Natural History Museum. When we reunited for Wicked, it was pretty obvious Thom wasn’t ready to give up his only-child lifestyle.
Errol’s talk was during the show, but the kids and I managed to get back to Clapham just fine on our own. It helps when the theater is directly across the street from a train station.
It was haircuts for the twins and Clapham Common with Andrew on Thursday before we headed back to Freiburg. I loved this trip.
Our hearts are broken over yesterday’s church shooting in Texas.
Thom had so many questions, and I had very few answers.