It is the most hideously grey and drizzly and cold weather today, fitting for those who despise Monday. I personally love Mondays because the markets are on and I can stalk my favourite coffee wagon while singing the praises of ‘local produce’ and sounding like a right knob. But today die Lüdde was having none of it, and our market visit was whirlwind and I got half the coffee in before she spat the dummy and was wrestled, shrieking, into her Magic Sleep Suit (wonderful things) for a nap.
So here I sit with the second half of my coffee, resigned to the fact that I likely will not leave the apartment again today because I simply cannot be arsed getting her back into a Schneeanzug and underneath three blankets and zipped into her pram bed (which she hates, and lets me know, lustily, as I am wedging her in) and me into fifty layers, and her pram into a plastic raincoat, for the pleasure of an ice cold walk around the leafless, slippery block. It also means tonight’s dinner will solely be roast veggies because I wasn’t quick enough to get meat or cheese.
Naja, Was kannst du tun? The important thing is, we are gemütlich. The house is toasty, there is an abundance of chocolate, courtesy of three Advent calendars and St Nikolas, and despite dinner being inadvertently ‘paleo’, we have food. So things are sort of delightful inside, despite being completely frightful on the other side of the front door. Now we just camp out and wait for the hideousness to taper off outside. So, you know, see you in six months.
Speaking of being toasty, I noticed something last week. Something about myself and my household habits, and how they are slowly changing to be more … German. For the past several days, all the windows in our apartment have been closed. I feel gross saying that. I am an open window person, regardless of how cold it is outside. My mother-in-law delights in stalking around the apartment closing all windows in sight, even when it’s twenty degrees outside. I don’t keep every window open during the colder months, but at least one. The kitchen window, preferably, to keep a nice flow of fresh air coming in and to chase away food smells. I hate old food smells. I have long wrestled with the German (well, really, cold-climate country) tendency to have all the windows closed all the time, opening one or all every few days for just five minutes to freshen things up. If all windows in the house are closed, I lie in bed at night and fixate on the stale air I am breathing in, similar to how I do about ten hours into a long haul flight. But with the baby in the house, and the heaters already on, and the recent revelation that open windows during the colder months can lead to mold (the things you learn as a Southern Hemispherer) I have started keeping all the windows closed. It feels weird. But I am adapting, resentfully, with more frequent openings of windows than your average German would recommend.
Sometimes, when something like this occurs, when a lifelong habit is squeezed, flipped, folded or done away awith, to fit a new lifestyle, I can’t help but look at the present moment. I see someone who rarely ate meat five years ago, wedging in a mustard-smothered Bratwurst with relative frequency. I see someone who was pathological about open windows, living in a sealed off capsule. I see someone who was always, always approximately twenty-two minute late, now worrying my date won’t turn up if it’s two minutes past the appointed time. I see someone who is a complete Mischung of two rather different cultures.
Tell me, frightful or delightful?