Living so far from the place where I grew up, I had long ago given up on the possibility of a chance meeting with a so-and-so from a whenever-a-long-time-ago. I like chance meetings. I like finding out what has become of people I knew when we were kids. Character development. It’s fascinating. But I like living in Germany more, so down the drain with chance meetings, I figured. The closest I’ve come, will probably ever come, was a few weeks ago.
I’m coming to Frankfurt for work tomorrow! the email said. Whoa! I said. We met, after years and years of not seeing each other, of not even talking, two people who once called each other best friends. Life is funny like that. And so we went to the Christmas market, freshly opened, home of deep-fried everythings that had been silently begging me to come pay them homage from across the city (or was that my stomach?). As annoying as the winter holiday season can be, it sure is delicious.
We strolled through the crowd—a small one, we were lucky—until we found a good-looking mulled wine stand. We ordered and found a little table to lean against while we raced the cold air to the bottom of our mugs, comparing politics in the countries where we live, about Obama’s universal health care and the election and New York City. More tables crowded around us and more mulled wine drinkers around them, a little rock in a stream of shoppers pushing by on their way to fill their bags and empty their wallets.
When I was a vegan, the Christmas Market held no power over me, but now that I am again an omnivore, the temptation to pull out my wallet and bury my snout in another puddle of frying fat is large. When hunger arrived, we decided on langoes, a friend potato bread topped with cheese and garlic sauce, and it was tasty, if not overpriced in that way that seasonal, touristy attractions always are, and we left without ordering one of everything from everywhere. Though I do vaguely regret not having purchased any of these chocolate tools, my favorite discovery of the evening:
I thought they were real for almost an entire minute and couldn’t figure out why someone was selling rusty old tools at the Christmas market. Yum.
On a sidenote, tomorrow is the winter solstice, and while it is a holiday I would like to be celebrating, I have yet to establish a tradition for the day, overshadowed as it is by the habit of Christmas. Will any of you be celebrating? Happy winter!