cinque terre, italy

Last year Julius and I went spent the Pentecost holiday in Cinque Terre on the western coast of Italy. The Cinque Terre National Park is home to 5 colorful little fishing villages perched upon rocky cliffs and terraced hillsides over the deep-turquoise hued waters of the Ligurian Sea.

The five villages are Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. We stayed in Corniglia, the village in the center of the five, which is the only one that isn’t directly on the sea. It sits high up on a hill and is only accessible by climbing many, many stairs. We loved staying in Corniglia, because the day-tourist crowds aren’t as heavy there as in the other four villages, it has a great panoramic view of the ocean and the neighboring villages, and it offers good access to the hiking trails.

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Corniglia is called the turtle village. From the sea, you can see how the main part of the village (on the right) looks a bit like a turtle shell on top of the hill.

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new seasons, new year, new job

A let a lot of time go by between posts, and to rectify the situation, I’m attempting to offer a few catch-up posts.

Since the last time I wrote, the weather really changed from fall to winter. We’ve had a lot of cloudy, foggy days, white skies, and a few big snow falls. (I had to buy new boots, since I found out the hard way that mine were not waterproof!)

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The first big snow in December – and our neighbors’ cute snow man.

At the end of November, Munich, like many German towns and cities, was taken over by the Christmas markets. Continue reading

intercultural holidays

When most couples start celebrating holidays together, they have to cross a difficult bridge: which family do we go to? do we alternate years? do we drive long distances to see both families? and what if both sides of the family see their plans as inflexible? Ah, the cause of much marital strife… When you add an intercultural dynamic, the questions multiply, as the holidays are traditionally celebrated in different (sometimes incompatible) ways for each partner.

And then for us, there’s the issue of the ocean between both sides of the family… Continue reading

greeting 2013

Happy New Year! (Although this post is certainly belated for new year’s greetings… oh well.) Since I last posted, I celebrated Silvester, ringing in the new year here at the Collegium Oecumenicum with a bang. New Year’s Eve is the big night for fireworks in Germany, and I had fun watching friends shoot rockets into our neighborhood skies from a safe distance while toasting with champagne the turn of the year. It was a cozy way to start off 2013.

New Year’s Fondue

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all is calm, all is bright

The Christmas activity has ceased at the Collegium Oecumenicum and most students are still at home, so things are very quiet here on this 3rd day of Christmas.

The past week was filled with busy preparations and celebrations. I bought gifts, made cards, and spent hours baking goodies leading up to Christmas Eve.

Christmas cookies and biscotti

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sights of the last few weeks

I really can’t believe how long I have waited to post on my blog! Somehow, things got busy. I will take time to write a little more in the near future, but I want to just share some photos from the last few weeks for now.

The last time I posted, I documented St. Martin’s Day (the 11th of November). That night was cold and misty – like most days in Munich this month. However, I was lucky enough to head to the mountains a couple of hours outside the city with some friends, where we found sunshine and (relative) warmth on November 21!

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st. martin’s day

On November 11th, Germans celebrate the 4th century saint, Martin of Tours, in a special way. Children carry homemade paper lamps from door-to-door, sing songs about St. Martin, and receive sweets in return. (It is like a mixture between Christmas caroling and Halloween!) St. Martin’s Day is celebrated widely by Protestants and Catholics in Germany.

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erntedankfest and the gift of faith

It is certainly Fall here! This past Sunday in Germany was Erntedankfest – a holiday akin in sentiment to American Thanksgiving – a day to give thanks for the fruits of the earth and God’s gifts to us all (but typically not celebrated by overeating). This evening at the Collegium Oecumenicum (COe), members of our community gathered along with residents of the Hailpädogogisches Centrum Augustinum (HPCA), with whom we share a campus. The COe is our community of students, both German and international, united in our love of Christ. The HPCA is a community of adults with mental and physical disabilities and their helpers who live together in a therapeutic environment. These two groups came together to celebrate Erntedankfest in worship.

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