Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Break 2009-2010

Winter break started in Erbil this year with lovely librarian L's guests arriving to spend Christmas and New Year's right here! There was also a party with white elephant gift exchange at C and M's place. Perhaps the best part of the party however, was not the gift exchange, but rather a game in which we were given a list of song titles to decipher: songs such as Approach Everyone Who is Steadfast. Do you know this song? (answer at bottom).

Vienna: This year I was lucky enough to have a stopover in Vienna on the way to Canada. Fr and family were on a similar itinerary so together we headed (just before it started to snow) to the Christmas market in front of Vienna's impressive City Hall. I bought my mother one of Vienna's famous snow globes.
In the evening, I headed downtown for a piece of Sacher Torte at the Sacher Hotel (the lit up building on the right in below photo) and then to the Vienna State Opera (behind me) for a performance of Verdi's La Forza Del Destino. However, I recommend that if you visit Vienna during the winter holiday season, you skip this opera and opt instead for a performance either here or at Volksopera of Strauss' Die Fledermaus.
Saint John:
After a long journey (including a nearly 30 minute run through the Frankfurt Airport and some frantic and slightly acrobatic queue-jumping: Do NOT transfer through this airport if you don't have at least 2 hours), I arrived in the Atlantic harbor city of Saint John, New Brunswick. I was met there by my mother and her little dog. Shitzu's don't deal with the cold very well, but mom's dog was clearly more prepared for winter than me!
This year, Mom had two boarders from the nearby university. We did our best to introduce them to some Christmas traditions... like eggnog and Christmas crackers, putting out milk & cookies Santa and hanging a sock. (Thanks to L & visitors for introducing Mu to the same back in Erbil).

(Answer: Approach Everyone Who is Steadfast = Oh, Come All Ye Faithful).

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