Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016

What a year. 

I had great hopes for it as we headed into the year, and seeing so many prayers answered and so many of my heart's longings fulfilled fills me with gladness. 

Some highlights...
We started the year celebrating with friends. I finally got exercising regularly and feeling okay about myself (let's ignore my current state...). We went on adventures to other cities. Celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary in Amsterdam. We celebrated friends becoming parents. Malcolm turned 28 and finally saw Marburg from above. We saw a glimpse of the Czech Republic and what God is doing with international students in Europe. We had a slow summer with lots of icecream. I turned 27. Malcolm's research has gone really well. We found out we're going to be parents, and have been fascinated by the little girl growing inside me. Anabel came to visit, Malcolm went to China. We enjoyed cities lit up for Christmas, and celebrated the birth of our Lord and Saviour. 



Oh, what a year it has been! This year has seen so many tears, so many anxious moments. So many times that I've felt weak and helpless and fragile. And so many moments when I've lifted my eyes to the Lord and seen what He has done. 

I am so thankful for another year, for the opportunities we've had, and for our God who carries us. 

We wish you a very, very happy and prosperous 2017. 

November

NOVEMBER: 

November is awesome because everything turns Christmassy and even just a walk through town feels a little magical. 

We also got our first snow, which only lasted a couple of days, but was exciting! 


In baby-preparation, we started transforming our little storage room (1.2x1.6m) into a baby-nook. Here's a look at it before (although an old shelf with stuff in it had already been cleared out), and maybe one day there'll be an after. 


And baby clothes! Baby clothes is just so cute! And expensive! 


We also found out the gender of our little one, who started looking incredibly human, and had a little fun in telling friends the news with sprinkle-filled cookies. 



In Marburg. we attended "Marburg Buy Night" again, where the city's favourite building are lit up in garish colours. It's fun to squeeze through crowds though! 






We didn't stay out too long, because the next morning we headed to Bonn to visit Tante Ursel and Onkel Arno. The Bonn Christmas market had opened, so we wandered around there, enjoyed hot chocolate, and spent a cosy evening in their apartment before going to our hotel. 




The next morning Tante Ursel wasn't feeling too well, so we went out with Onkel Arno. Back to the Christmas market, and then to a museum, and then to their apartment for coffee and cake after lunch.


After we said goodbye to them, we returned to Marburg via Cologne. Since we lived there we wanted to visit the Christmas market, but it's never worked out to make a special trip to see it. So an hour or two spent wandering around it and enjoying the lights (and spending our last euros and cents on a Christmas ornament where the man felt sorry for us not having the full amount), was so worth it. 








Friday, 30 December 2016

October

 OCTOBER: 

The start of October is the anniversary of our move to Marburg. 3 years! We went into the city for lunch at the restaurant we went to when we first arrived, and the super-misty day reminded me why I wasn't crazy about Marburg on our arrival. It was nice to stroll around and reminisce of our first days in town and how much has and hasn't changed since then. 



October generally has miserable weather. One day, we decided it was a perfect day for a walk. We started out with our flask of tea and headed towards the forest. And then it started to rain and we're not that tough so we sat on a bench close by, and had our tea under an umbrella. 



The whole of Summer we'd tended carefully sporadically to our plants, and were rather pleased when our chili's survived and even did pretty well. The problem is, that we don't actually eat much spicy food and I hardly cook with it. But, we managed to give some away and the rest spiced up whatever happened to be for supper. 


On the Day of Unification in Germany, there's always a cultural festival in Marburg. We went to it, and were happy to find a stand selling Samosa's. A taste of home! On the stage inside the theatre, there were songs and dances from various cultures and it was really interesting to watch.




The weather improved and lent itself to pretty Autumn walks. I love the light in Autumn. One day we went for a walk with a friend who took us to an apple orchard just down the road and we picked apples. My first time! 




The start of October also brought the end of ballet classes for me. I could have kept going longer, but because I could only terminate my contract at the end of September or end of December, I decided to stop sooner rather than later. So I soaked up every moment of my last class, took a few selfies to commemorate the moment, held back tears now and again, and then packed my shoes away. Although, I'm confident they'll come out again! 





In October, some concrete baby-preparation-steps were taken, and we acquired a wee little bed from the ebay classifieds. 
Since it was already disassembled when I bought it, we set it up "just to see how it looked" with every intention of storing it away again. But, a few months down the line, it's still there. It's just a cool reminder and nice to see, plus, since there's no baby in it yet, it became quite useful for hanging clothes on ;) 


A birthday-themed blog. September.

The year is nearly over, so I think I'd better catch up here quickly. 
My absence has been due to a few factors... that the laptop has needed repairs (or actually just a good vacuum, can you believe it?), that day to day life has been rather mundane, that I've been really busy, and that I switched to journalling in a book where not the whole world (ok, only 3.2 billion people, not the whole world) have access. 

Anyway. Onwards! 

SEPTEMBER: 

I turned 27! I thought I'd been 27 for a while, because I often calculate my age from Malcolm's. So for the 6 months between Malcolm's birthday and mine, I also feel a year older... so turning "only" 27 seemed like a nice surprise... 
And then Malcolm started the day by surprising me with my favourite things. Brownies in bed for breakfast AND smarties. 




Later, another surprise arrived - all the way from South Africa. Mum had sent me some granola bars and Provitas after I lamented that Germany's cereal bars and savoury crackers just don't measure up. 


That afternoon, I had my English kids' group in the city, and afterwards as I sat in front of the one church with a beautiful view of the city, I skyped home. Malcolm met me afterwards and we went out for supper and then wandered through the city. 



September also saw me experience a German children's birthday party. The birthday girl turned 5, and celebrated at a playground nearby. I haven't been to any children's parties as an adult, but I don't think much was vastly different. EXCEPT one thing. I was most fascinated by the healthiness of the snacks, and the fact that the birthday cake was cheesecake. 


For reference, I use the following photos of me at my 4th, 5th and 6th birthdays... Do you see fruit? Do you?! And are those MSG coated Niknaks that I am so delighted by?!? 
(Ok, little Kevin looks a little saddened by them, but I'm pretty sure both his parents are German. I kid you not.) 




It's not too clear what's in those bowls, but I honestly have no recollection of fruit at parties. And when I think of class-parties or ballet parties, I feel a little ill at the thought of the amount of sugar and oily chips that were consumed. 
Anyway, the party was fun and I finally learned a version of "Happy Birthday" that was in German, and am relieved that there's an alternative to "Heppy Bösday tooo yooo".
I few days later as I cycled past the playground on my way to work there was still evidence of the occassion, though it looked a little like a crime scene. Next time the theme can be Tatort


In staying with the birthday theme, another fun part of September was telling friends that I'm pregnant. I hit the 12 week mark around my birthday so along with having my appetite back, I was glad to be able to tell our friends. Sharing the news and seeing their reactions made it all so much more real.