Monday, January 05, 2009

Happy 2009!

Happy New Year 2009! This was my third Silvester spent here in Germany and it never seems to get old being able to set off fireworks in the city. Christian and I went to Bonn, where his friend Felix and his girlfriend Claudia had a party. It was a small, intimate party where we did raclette for dinner (I ate something like 10 potatoes). Due to my eating tons, I was good to go in terms of alcohol, but also I didn't want to drink too much since we drove back to Düsseldorf. (Christian didn't drink anything and drove, but I hate being in cars with a ton of alcohol in my system.)

What I mostly wanted to blog about was that I finally partook in "Bleigießen," literally "lead casting." It's not actually lead that we cast, but some other sort of cheap metal. It's tradition on New Year's to melt lead (or rather, this cheap metal), then drop the liquid quickly into water. You take the lump of lead (cheap metal) out of the water, examine the shape and its shadow, and using your imagination, determine what it looks like. There's a little booklet with possibilities in it and according to what you think it is, that determines what your year will be like. Obviously it's probably as accurate as a horoscope, but nonetheless, it was a lot of fun. I had always heard of "Bleigießen" but I had never done it before this year. It was also amusing because nobody could decide if we had to do it before or after midnight. Here are some pictures of the Bleigießen:

This is Felix melting his little metal piece over a candle. Mine for some reason seemed to take forever to melt, though there were some others who took longer. At first, everyone was joking that the American couldn't do it correctly and hence the taking forever. Once other people started having difficulties, they didn't say nearly as much.

Claudia is in the background probably examining someone else's piece of metal. We decided to do the Bleigießen after midnight once we got back from setting off fireworks on the Rhein.

Here's me with the finished metal after I melted it and threw it into the cold water. I personally thought it looked like a drumstick from KFC or perhaps a jellyfish. To be honest, I don't remember what we decided it was. Not that that was super important because it's just for fun.

And then here are some pictures from setting off fireworks on the Rhein:

Agnes, Nils, & Grischa look at the firework we set off. Grischa bought a whole pack of fireworks for 6.99€ at the supermarket. Usually supermarkets start selling them right before Christmas and they're up front next to the cash register. I'm not sure if there's an age restriction, but yeah, you can set off fireworks anywhere in the city, though it seemed like the majority of people were on the riverbank.

None of these fireworks are professional. They're all set off by people. And admittedly, most of them are probably drunk. What I find surprising is that not many things seem to get burned down, nor are there many injuries. Granted, you have to be smart about it, but I think because Germans are used to setting off fireworks in the city every new year's, it's not much of a challenge for them.

Here's one of the few pictures that Christian and I took together. We hadn't bought any of our own fireworks, but it wasn't necessary since Grischa and Felix had a bunch. It was kind of cold going outside, but it's not as bad as the time I went to Times Square and waited hours in the cold. What we did was nice and we spent about 45 minutes to an hour outside, which was bearable, but nonetheless it was a relief to get back inside.

Other than that, not much else is going on over here in Germany. I start training for teaching English at Berlitz on January 19th and hopefully I'll be able to get some hours working as a freelancer. I need money and something to do. But other than finding a job, my new year's resolution this year is to keep in better touch with people and if that requires me calling people, well, so be it. I realized nobody ever calls me, so I have to call everyone else. So is life.


Tracie said...

that sounds like a pretty cool tradition. I'm trying to think of any cool american ones and none come to mind. i'm pretty excited about Chinese New Year though - hey, it's your year, no?

Julie said...

I don't think Chinese New Year is the same since they ban fire cracker in the city. When I was young in Hong Kong that was so much fire crackers that I hated it but now I missed the sound of them. It really makes the atmosphere more festive.