Happy New Year Greeting from Germany

We do not say Happy New Year! before the actual new year has started. Instead, we say:
– Einen guten Beschluss! (Happy ‘Closure’)
– Einen guten Rutsch! (Happy ‘Sliding’)
Right after midnight, we say ‘Prost Neujahr!’ (Cheers to the New Year!)
The following days, we wish ‘Alles Gute im neuen Jahr!’ (Happy New Year!)

In case, you’re wondering about all these chimney sweeps you see on display in German supermarkets. These inexpensive trinkets we buy as a thank-you present for our neighbors, colleagues, friends, and family. This one contains most of the good-luck charms: chimney sweep, four-leave clover, ladybug, and toadstool (this one is missing a piglet).

Flooding in Germany

Hochwasser June 2013 – some areas in Germany are experiencing the worst flooding ever. Many homes had to get evacuated, farmers fear for their livelihood, and rebuilding will be a heavy toll on the country.

Just yesterday, we had a sunny day in between. After weeks and weeks of rain, I had the chance to air out the bedding. At the same time, I let our daughter’s bears enjoy a bit of the sunshine too.

bears in the sun

This only lasted for a day. We are back to heavy rains, a monstrous thunder storm had just rolled through Hesse (otherwise, unaffected by the flooding) and in some places in Germany, water levels are still rising.  One dam just burst near Madgeburg where the Sahle river and Elbe river meet.

Rain, rain, everywhere.

rainy grass

Ordering Gingerbread Hearts from Germany

This afternoon, we will be attending a wedding at the Gherkin in London. Since the bride is German (with Sri Lankan heritage) and spent her childhood in the deutsche Vaterland, the goodie bag will be full of things to reminisce.

There will be an issue of the Teen magazine BRAVO, some cans of beer, her favorite pastries from the local bakery, and this Lebkuchenherz (gingerbread heart) below.

I ordered it from a German company (see link below) and it arrived within 10 days. The total cost was 26 euro and it’s worth it.


The bride is a hopeless romantic and I’m sure she will enjoy this. They do deliver overseas, so if you are interested to learn more about these customized Lebkuchen hearts, then visit Lebkuchen-Markt.de for more information.

The company offers hearts for all kinds of occasions.

Germans are no longer World Travel Champions

Based on stats released by the governmental tourism bureau of China, Germans have just been moved to second place on the list of Reiseweltmeister (world travel champions).

Results from other tourism offices differ from this latest result, but are in agreement to China beginning to overtake the Germans in regards to Reiselust (also similar to Wanderlust).

In 2011, Germans spent almost 61 billion euro on travelling with the favorite locations being Germany itself, Spain, and Austria. The euro numbers for travel spending in 2012 are expected to be even higher.

Nationalities in Oberursel

Mid-November 2012, Spiegel Online reported about the steady flow of immigrants into Germany. In the first half of 2012, half a million foreigners came to stay, a 15% increase from the year before.

The newcomers to Germany are mostly from Greece, Spain, and Portugal.

Below is the chart for our small town of Oberursel, located northwest of Frankfurt, and home to Frankfurt International School (FIS).


The school’s student body contributes to the high number of South Koreans, U.S. Americans, and Britons around here.