Another week in Germany means another slew of stories and pictures!
However the primary focus of this particular post will be a fun life moment I had here in Germany last week, and that is….. My 23rd birthday.
This was my first birthday abroad and away from family and close friends. However, if you couldn’t tell from the endless gushing I do about them each week, I am with the best host family ever and had a truly wonderful birthday! So at the risk of sounding self-indulgent, but also just never wanting to forget this day, here is a play-by-play of August 30, 2021.
Well, I guess we’ll start on the 29th, which was Sunday night. My host sisters Juli, Emmi, and I spent the evening making cake pops for me to take to my class the next morning. It was so fun and they were so delicious. Of course, cooking also includes a healthy dose of Disney karaoke.
I woke up for school on Monday and found this note from Julie on the bathroom mirror:
Julie also made me a lunch to take to school including pancakes and veggies and hummus. (I mentioned this family was the best right…… just wait)
When I got to school my classmates sang my happy birthday Auf Deutsch of course!
We enjoyed our cake pops and had a nice day of language learning.
When the school day ended my host family came to pick me up. They waited for me outside the school where they arrived with flowers, snacks, confetti, and sang again!
After we got home they told me they needed some time to get all set up for the evening's activities. So, Caleb, Winnie, and I went for a walk. I noticed on my commute a few days ago a small vending machine that said ‘Kunst Jetzt’ or Art Now. I have read articles before about these art vending machines that were founded here in Germany but couldn't believe there was one less than 2 blocks from the house. So, this is where we went on our walk, and for 4 euros I got a mini original painting along with information about the art vending machine program, and the specific artist that created the piece. If you ever find yourself in a city that has one of these I highly recommend you check it out….. So cool.
Once we returned we had a little bit of time to relax before a few friends from school joined us.
Deb, Elise, Paul, and Felix came to our house and we started off the festivities with arguably my favorite German tradition ‘Kaffee und Kuchen’. We sat around the table and had coffee and various desserts. This is a common thing for Germans to do in the afternoons, especially on weekends. See the pictures below. As a fun bonus: Emmi decorated my cake with things that we had talked about or things she knew I liked including umbrellas, golf clubs, music notes, and more! (guys, I'm not kidding, these people rock!)
After we were full up with cake, we had to pause for a quick photoshoot!
Then we decided to walk off a little bit of our dessert by playing frisbee at the nearby park. It was such a nice day and was great to get outside.
When we came back we got to do the full birthday traditions. My family lit candles and laid out birthday gifts. They explained that it is customary for the geburtstagskind to enter the room first and for everyone to follow them, sing, then watch as they blow out candles and open gifts.
My family and friends got my really wonderful and thoughtful gifts including ingredients for my favorite drink, Saarland souvenirs, Shakespeare books in German, and, of course, plenty of German chocolate.
Then came the final gift which my host sibling told me I had to save for last. I opened a box with a piece of paper in it. There were pictures on the paper which they helped me decipher till we decoded that we would be spending the next week in Paris and one day at Paris Disneyland (don't worry a detailed description of the Paris trip will be in the next post).
After presents and singing we had a delicious pizza dinner altogether.
After dinner, my host father Ralf made cocktails for everyone. We got to try a Gin drink as well as Strawberry Daiquiris! We took our cocktails with us to the living room where we did a few rounds of karaoke around the piano.
We closed out the night with more snacking, drinking, and talking.
I can’t even begin to explain how special of a birthday this was to me. It is one that I will certainly treasure forever. The fact that people, both family and friends, who I have only known for one month put so much effort into making me feel celebrated is something I will always remember.
EINS) My Host Family. If you couldn’t tell they are just the absolute best. They put so much time and energy into me having a special birthday and I am just so, so, SO grateful.
ZWEI) My Mom! Who despite being oceans away still managed to get me a little birthday gift in the mail that arrived exactly on time!
DREI) My new friends here in Saarbrucken. I’m sorry, but Shakespeare books and Paloma Mixings? Those are some of the most ‘me’ gifts I’ve ever received. Thanks for making me feel seen, friends.
Enjoy some karaoke vids below! (With a little shout out to the Bride-E-Meyblones)