As the semester came to an end and classes and exams began to wrap up, a group of scholars came up with a plan to travel around Europe for winter break instead of going back to the US. When I heard the details of the plan, which comprised of flying out to Prague then taking a train to Vienna, spending a couple of nights there and lastly, commuting to Munich, I instantly knew I could not miss out on this opportunity. Ellen Graham did a phenomenal job of putting together an itinerary and finalizing logistic plans for the entire trip. Since we would be in Germany for Christmas day, I was curious as to what our plan was for that day. I checked in with the group and we came to a consensus of attending Mass at a nearby church and exploring the city.
Christmas morning was very different. I could tell that the scholars really missed their families. As we walked toward the church the mood in the street was just gloomy. The city of Bavaria seemed like a ghost town and it actually did not feel like Christmas morning at all. There weren’t any Christmas lights hung up from buildings and there was hardly anyone on the streets. We made it to Mass at 11 am. The minute we walked in we realized that the priest was speaking in a different language. In fact, the entire service was delivered in German. The church community welcomed us and it was surprisingly refreshing. After Mass we went into town to explore the city and to find somewhere to eat. When we arrived in the city, our sprits lifted because we saw an influx of people and so many Christmas lights that brightened the city. It was beautiful. People walking around with their family made me remember how we were not with our biological family members. However, we realized that Family isn’t always blood. Our friendship and camaraderie could be described in short as; Family. We had a cheerful tour of the city and had dinner at the famous Hofbrauhaus house. Dinner was fantastic and we shared stories about family experiences over a few beverages. After a “Merry Christmas” cheers, we played some entertaining card games.
Christmas day or Weihnachtstag in German, ended with a unanimous decision to watch “Shrek” to end the night. We chuckled and laughed as we watched the DreamWorks animated movie. By then, it was apparent that we ere all happy to be in each others presence on a day as widely celebrated as Christmas. That odd feeling that was obvious in the morning disappeared by the night, and that was a day that we will never forget.