As the candle gets shorter and shorter everyday with the count down to the 24th, the overwhelming Christmas spirit becomes more and more apparent. I figured this out on Friday, when I returned to Nina's school for the day to once again help out with the kids. To start off the morning, we all sang (Danish) christmas carols, with the help of a piano which had numerous candles on top in a single row. Let me tell you about how dumb I am. A teacher went along, lighting the candles, but stopped 9 before the end. My genius self saw this and thought "Oh, guess she couldn't be bothered lighting the rest, or maybe her lighter ran out of fuel". No Katie. No. Like all the other Christmas candles here, they were to count down the days until Christmas- there was 9 days left.
Anyway, First class was art, in which I managed to contribute encouragement and a shoddy drawing of an Aussie snowman. We then had Danish and then Nina was done teaching for the day, however the school required her to remain on campus until 2:30, so I read in the staff room. At one point, Nina wanted to show me some painting one of her students was doing. If you didn't catch my earlier update about this school, the walls are lined with awesome drawings and paintings from different TV shows, movies and cartoons, such as Star Wars, The Avengers and multiple Disney movies. In the library we found one girl filling in a pre-drawn picture of Kyoshi, a character from one of my favourite shows- Avatar: The Last Airbender. She actually let me help her, so forever more, something I painted will be on a wall in Denmark. Success!
^ I painted the hair- A true masterpiece, I know.^
When we got home I was to be a lonely child for the evening, as Freddy had work, Mathilde was going to a "Christmas Lunch" (which occurs at night, strange I know. That's just what they call their Christmas Parties) and Helene was going out for the evening with her friends. I did manage to delay her departure by telling some hilarious stories about my time here (They were laughing very hard, I swear. I can only hope to one day be as good a storyteller as you, Dad), but alas, eventually she too left and I was alone.
Not to be disheartened, I spent the majority of the evening wrapping all the gifts I had gotten for the family. Due to my perfectionism in this department, this took *several* hours, but on the plus side, the gifts look great! I placed them in the living room under a special hanging candle holder, where a small pile had formed.
I hung out in the living room until Freddy came home from work, and then we showed each other some of our favourite youtubers (of the limited few that we didn't both already know). Helene had asked Freddy to pick her up after going out and had mentioned that it "wouldn't be a late night", so I originally planned on staying up and tagging along for the ride like we did with Mathilde a few weeks back. However, as I began falling asleep on the couch at half past 12, I gave up and left Freddy to wait for her call. I later found out that said call came closer to quarter to three, which Freddy had to wait up to get (Poor Stringbean). According to Helene, a late night for her is 5 in the morning, so by her standards 2:30 was an early night.
Waking up to a fabulous weekend breakfast, Nina and I were out the door before the sun had risen and made our way to the local mall. Nina is quite the shopping strategist, let me tell you, and she had planned out her every move. We first went to a Danish fusion of Big W and Woolworths, which opened earlier than the other stores. There she did some shopping while I went off in search of some more gifts for the family (I'm not telling you, don't bother asking, Freddy/Mathilde). Next, we made our way around the Mall and met up with (slightly hungover) Helene and Uve. Helene and I spent the rest of the morning shopping for an outfit for Christmas and New Years, because in all my frantic packing, I didn't think to grab something nice to wear, as I was a tad too concerned with warmth. This plan fell through, however, as let's just say the European Fashion doesn't suit my body type...
Shopping done with, we went home to regroup for lunch (twas hella good) And then we all suited up for our most exciting adventure yet. Going to pick out our *REAL* Christmas tree. We took a long time picking it out from the field of trees as Nina was determined to find the *Perfect* tree. She wouldn't decide on one until I approved it, which was so sweet. I'll let the pictures tell the story-
When we got home, we began completing another family tradition- making Æbleskiver and burnt almonds
I then cracked out a family tradition of my own- Fudge Making. Those of you that know anything about my family know that we have a bit of a reputation for our fudge, so much so that some teachers have been scorned by missing out that year. It's fairly legendary at BMSS. Nina was desperate for Caramel Fudge however, and you may know that Barrett's do chocolate fudge best. That said, I did have a fairly solid Caramel recipe, so I threw caution to the wind (and ignored the fact that I had never actual made this particular recipe) because Nina was counting on me for the best fudge ever, and come hell or high water I was going to give it to her. As it would happen, high water never came, although I was verging on hell after a few hot sugar burns. Despite a few minor injuries, the fudge came out fantastically (You'd be so proud of me, Mum), no crystallization and smoother than my freshly shaved legs.
Later that evening, Mathilde and Freddy had a Staff "Christmas Lunch" to attend, so Helene and I watched Arthur Christmas. I also binged watched the 10th season of Family Guy until Uve and I went to go pick up Freddy and Mathilde from the party, which had relocated after dinner to a nearby bowling alley.
Upon picking them up, I got the best news ever. Freddy had split his pants while lunging to bowl. And to fix the situation, he had wrapped duct tape around his bum and all the way to his crotch. I kid you not, I laughed about that all evening.
Waking up the next morning, Nina asked if I would help muck out the horses' stables. Now, while I have ridden quite a few times, I have never had the opportunity to do this particular task. Let me tell you now, week old horse urine is the strongest, most foul smelling thing in the world. Nina was amazed at my incredible speed, as I desperately shoveled pile after pile of hay and horse excrement into the wheelbarrow so that she would have to remove it and I would get a brief moments reprieve to take in a few lungfuls of sweet oxygen before I had to head back in for more. I made record time, and then went inside to prepare for a family Christmas get together with Uve's family. My lack of nice clothes meant that I was severely underdressed, but I tried my best to look presentable by intricately braiding my hair and putting on some dark lipstick (literally the only cosmetic product I brought with me- I haven't smelt nice or looked pretty in weeks). Then Freddy had to go and wear a nice blazer and fancy shoes and I was back to square one.
The family Christmas was very similar to ones at home, although the lack of cherries was strange (They're pretty much synonymous with the Christmas season at my house). A few of them spoke English, and those that didn't had many helpful translators. At one point I started doing some origami with the napkins to make a starbox to put some lolly wrappers in, and then in response Freddy made a origami ball. Not to be outdone, I made a paper ninja star (it was pretty sick) and then made a little paper plane. This sparked a fierce paper plane making competition, which ended with us (and a few adults) outside in a unofficial throwing tournament. It was pretty awesome.
When we got home, I was properly knackered, and actually had a nap that lasted several hours. For dinner that night we had a slight variation on a traditional Christmas meal, which was rice cooked in milk, then covered in a *generous* layer of cinnamon sugar. It was quite strange to be having for a main meal, but it was quite tasty, so fair do's. We also had pancakes for dessert with berries and sugar (I introduced them to the concept of sugar and lemon on pancakes- apparently that it weird. I can't win). I also started re-watching Bones from the first season, and may or may not have binged watched until pretty late on Sunday.
That's all from me today, two updates in one day? Go me! We're nearly caught up.