Exchange student spends her break back home in Germany with family

Guiliana Thomanek, Staff Writer

When I booked the tickets for my flight to Germany over Christmas break I was already planning long walks through the snow and sleigh rides with my little sisters since last year school started two weeks later because of all the snow and ice that made the streets impassable.

I was already wondering if the jacket I bought here would be warm enough for those three weeks of european winter. However, I did not include climate change into my plans.

Arriving in Germany, I recognized that the temperatures were actually that different from those in Florence. Instead, it was raining constantly, as usual, so I wished I would have taken the rain boots my roommates had forced me to buy during my first weeks here.

“You will need them when the hurricane comes,“ they had said.

Surprisingly, I probably wore them five times since. During Christmas break in Trier, the water of the river Mosel was already flooding the pavements.Still, I could enjoy the end of the year in the city of my university and northern Germany where my family lives.

The pre-Christmas period that I had missed in Florence welcomed me in all its snow-less beauty in my two chosen hometowns. The Christmas market in Trier gave me and other visitors the opportunity to taste German and international specialities like waffles, crépes and “Germknödel“, yeast dumplings with all kinds of different hot and cold sauces.

In many little cabins, merchants were selling souvenirs and Christmas decorations while the songs of street musicians conveyed a warm holiday atmosphere.

Being six time zones away, I saw 2012 a little earlier, and I assured my American friends that it was safe to come over. I did not follow the ball drop on TV, but I did watch fireworks at midnight in the Moselvalley in all kinds of different colors.

Unfortunately, since Trier is a valley, it took approximately five minutes until the whole city was covered in smoke. Thanks to the rainy weather, however, the first day of January was a clear and beautiful start to the new year.

As a result of this eventful and wonderful semester break in my home country, I decided that although southern summers might be amazing, I would always fly ten hours for a european winter.