The last time my parents were in Germany, it was December 2010, and I had just moved to Münster. I had also managed to come down with some sort of ‘mono thing’, possibly as a result of working something like 70 days on the trot, in a bar, serving inebriated tourists until 3am, over the course of one very long, very hot Greek summer.
It began snowing in Münster, in 2010, on the last day of November. No on quite knew what to do, least of all me. For the first week, I was utterly enchanted, rushing to the window every time I saw the stuff fall. Then one cold evening after work, I got off the bus, put a touch too much weight on my leading foot, slid a metre or so on the ice and came to a crashing halt on my bottom. Enchantment over.
Meanwhile, over in France, where my parents were holidaying before coming to visit me in Germany, my father was doing the precise same thing; skating along the ice in his smooth-soled shoes, and coming to an abrupt halt on his own bottom. I do believe his enchantment with the notion of a winter wonderland ended somewhere around then as well.
But there was more snow to come. By the time my parents blew into Münster, it was covered. Schneebedeckt. We had our first white Christmas, the post-fondue walk occurring knee deep in snow, because the Münster council hadn’t acted quickly enough after the first snow dump and it all just piled on from there. My mother was getting about in some ridiculous coat that could have kept her warm in the depths of Siberia, my father was clomping along in brand new snow boots he had had to purchase after his smooth soled shoes had betrayed him in France, and my sister was trying to push me into the snow (she ultimately fell in herself to make a snow angel, and couldn’t get out.)
The Australian Griswalds had taken on the snow and it wasn’t pretty.
Ultimately, the snow defeated my father. Late one night, unbeknownst to my mother, he changed their flights home, meaning they skipped the planned Dresden and Leipzig visits (I had heard him asking many people ‘will it be like this in Dresden’ and blanching when the response was ‘probably worse’) and flew back to Sydney two weeks early. It was one of his better dummy spits.
Now my parents are back. They’re in Munich as we speak. Presumably, so are Dad’s once-worn snow boots. They’ve never witnessed a Bavarian winter. It is supposed to sink to -17 overnight, soon, and when I told my Dad that, he casually said ‘oh, again?’ as if his experience of Münster’s -2 will be comparable. And I woke up this morning to this:
Mum and Dad … you ready?