"Down here at Cape Spartel is the celebrated cave of Hercules, where the hero took refuge when he was vanquished and driven out of the Tangier country. It is full of inscriptions in the dead languages, which fact makes me think Hercules could not have traveled much, else he would not have kept a journal."

-"The Innocents Abroad," Mark Twain

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Before It's Over...

Today, I regret to say (or in this case, write), is the last day I have before I go back to school. Don't get me wrong; I am one of Those People who like going to school. Still. Before I return, I thought it would be a good idea to (finally) summarize what I have been doing over the holidays.

Christmas... was so long ago. Really. We celebrated on the evening of the 24th by eating, going walking,  visiting with people, eating, opening gifts at my grandparents' home, opening gifts in our home, going to church, and eating, more or less in that order. (The Christkind, an angel-like child that delivers the gifts, puts up & decorates the tree, and enters through the window, visited us twice.) The Christmas tree was lit with real candles, which was absolutely gorgeous. I enjoyed everything, but as I have said before, it was still odd for me. On the 25th, we all went downstairs in our pajamas and looked terrible while we ate breakfast (and I opened the gifts from my blood-related family - thank you!) as I said was required for an American Christmas morning.

For New Year's, we made lucky pigs & mushrooms out of marzipan! (What, you didn't know they were lucky?) Here is a sample of a few of them:

I have also begun learning to ski! It is harder than it looks at the beginning, but, of course, becomes progressively better. I have now been 4 times, and have had excellent teachers!

My first time - looking much more professional than  it actually was!

3rd time, at the bottom of the hill we were on, with my aunt, who is one of my teachers :)
Confused my the tipi/tepee/however-you-spell-it? Yeah, me, too.

Tried this afterwards - and. it. is. good. I'm not really sure how to describe it, other than to say it was cake-y with a blueberry filling and the sauce you see is vanilla.
On the 6th of the New Year (normally held on the 5th), we went and saw the Glöcklerlauf, which translates as "bell run." For this, older boys/teenagers/young men work to make HUGE hats that are lanterns lit from within. They are made from thin beams of wood, and black paper is attached around this framework, with colored patterns allowing the light to shine through. Bells are worn around the waist and ring as the people run throughout the town. This is done in the old pagan tradition of chasing out the bad spirits, but today, the lanterns also include Christian-related images to appease the Church. As it was dark, it was a bit difficult to get good pictures:

Some of the lanterns...

A car's headlights here allow you to get a better idea of the proportions of the hats...

It had really snowed while we were out!
Hope you are managing to stay warm and enjoy the last bit of the weekend!
Happy New Year!
Mary Beth


  1. Thank you for letting me see and hear about some of the things going on with you! I like the lucky pigs (somehow related to piggy banks and saving for your fortune/hoping for a prosperous new year?). what is the story with the fabric veggies?

  2. You're welcome! The fabric veggies were some of my sister's Christmas gifts, and were so cute that they were included in the pictures :)