Germans, Russians and the Japanese

As an American I brought in the New Year celebrating with Germans, a Russian and a sweet Japanese gal. Who by the way, effortlessly cooked dinner for 13 guest and gaggle full of kids wearing a pink Kimono.

Imagine… just what 50 years ago we were all at war. Our parents would loathe each other! Our grandparents would roll in their graves. Though in light of it all my “beste Freundin” asked me for Hawaii back…ha.
What an evening! Amidst perfectly rare roast beef, American hotdog appetizers and rice noodles, the food and entertainment beamed and political ideologies were carefully kept at bay, due to the fact that Trump won.
And then there were the fireworks!


 New Years in Deutschland or Europe is quite different than America. It is more like a mix between the Fourth of July and the televised version of the Gulf War or maybe even Bosnia. As a mother of two 14 year old twin boys… you can imagine that this is my least favorite holiday. My New Years Eve’s day and night are riddled with visions of fingers being blown off, bottle rockets going awry and children dodging shrap metal.
My imagination is also equally fueled with the news reports, warning that fireworks purchased in Czechoslovakia are illegal and extremely dangerous.
My, I am sure that boosted sales….
The explosions started well before midnight, almost as soon as we got there. As all seven children, starting from the age of 5 dug into the fireworks stash as if it was Christmas. While we the adults drank beer, talked and danced to the boom, boom of European disco music, while shouting sporadically to them, ” just don’t light them in the house”!
As the stroke of midnight neared we were all outside in sub below temperatures on the front lawn. We looked down over the Swäbian countryside and saw a line of fireworks stretching out at least 10 miles going off like a war zone. It was really quite a beautiful site to see. Until you realized that you are standing about 10 feet away from your husband about to light a 3 foot bottle rocket out of a Champagne bottle in the middle of a crowd of excited children. That is… my German husband who has spent easily half our mortgage on fireworks. When I say the Gulf war, or Bosnia I am not kidding. Fireworks in Europe are not the cute little banned US sparklers or 12″ bottle rockets they are stealth missiles! And to say Americans should give up their guns…humpf!

They have major ammunition here, like batteries of M80’s strung together in boxes. A M80 looks to me like a stick of dynamite. My kids even asked me if I had an extra hair tie, as they needed one to band a bunch of fireworks together for an experiment! And where is my husband in all this? Leading the way. He was so busy blowing off fireworks at the stroke of 12 that I did not even get a New Year’s kiss! Where was I, hiding inside the door with Oma, their German grandmother! As she was fretting that the ash from the fireworks is falling on the cars and damaging the paint jobs.
Spoken like a true Swäbian. They love their cars!
Needless to say we escaped another year without major injuries. Just a hand that got blasted, a thumb that got burned and thigh that is swelling. But as my friend and mother Tamami said, “well the kids just have to learn”.
I would like to write more, but for now we have to clean up all the blown firecrackers and rockets and pick up the tiny bits paper that are stuck in the grass or on die Nachbarn lawns before they start to complain.
Have a Happy New Year!, the American Frau


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