25 December 2009

happy holidays from tilburg

This time of year the church bells ring
And carolers on corners, sing
Of gifts of love and peace and cheer
And a happy, prosperous New Year.

As Christmas Day ends, I wanted to send you my warmest wishes from Tilburg -- I wish that the feeling of love, peace, and joy that envelops this season remain with you throughout the new year.

As for me, I spent the past two days visiting the Christmas Markets in Cologne, Germany, where I stuffed myself silly trying all the local dishes: wurst grilled over charcoal, reibekuchen (potato cakes) served with applesauce, dampfnudels topped with vanilla sauce and berries, mugs of glühwein (mulled red wine), leberkäse served a fried egg and potatoes, schweinshaxe (pork knuckles) with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, glasses of Kölsch (a local beer brewed in Cologne), and a lot of other dishes whose names I can't even recall. I think I gained ten pounds in two days! :) On Christmas Eve, I had a lovely dinner with friends in a little restaurant on the banks of the Rhine and capped it with a midnight mass at the Kölner Dom.

Now, I'm having myself a merry little white Christmas here in Tilburg, The Netherlands, where I'm doing a semester of my masters programme. (The picture above is one I took of Heuvelstraat, Tilburg’s main shopping street.) It's my first Christmas away from family, but I have discovered it is possible to be miles away from home and yet still feel the warmth of home. I feel truly thankful that I am blessed and loved. :)

Thanks for being a part of my 2009, and all the best in 2010!

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