Christmas is all around us

Hollaroh lovely people of the internet! It’s been a while! ^^

(Well, it might seem like I’ve posted more frequently, but that’s just because I intend to write up all the entries I’ve missed and backdate them. After all, they’re lovely memories and I don’t want them to go amiss. For the record, this is the first proper post since June. Everything in between has been entered later)

Anyhow. It’s Christmas! … Well, it’s almost Christmas! This Year I had a bit of a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. Rome is just not a very Christmas-y city. I miss the proper cold and the snow. Also, I’ve had a bunch of group projects and presentations to do at uni and we wrote the last exam yesterday; so I’ve spent most days of December at my desk studying.

But since last Sunday, I’m ready! I got the last presents and I bought a bunch of pasta and Italian sweets to bing home and even though I still had to study, the scented candles and the cheesy Christmas songs kept me going.
I’m actually writing this blogpost in the library of my uni right now. I should get some reading done for my masters thesis, but it’s the last day of class today and I don’t feel much like it. ^^

I’m not gonna lie, this Advent was everything else than slow and peaceful, but it had it’s quiet moments. And while it seems to have passed in an instant, now I’m so looking forward to go home for Christmas, relax, charge my batteries, spend time with my family, see my friends, eat all the traditional food and most of all: cookies! 😀

That’s the current fairy light situation in my room. Needless to say I am more than pleased.

Happy holidays, merry everything and happy always,

XX, Angie

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Christmas at home, like always <3

When I went to live in England with my sister, our mum made it quite clear: “You can go and live wherever you please, but at Christmas you have to be at home.” – and so it has been ever since. Some years just a couple of days, a hurry almost, some other years I spent weeks of festivities and re-charging batteries at home.
And so, just two days after coming back from Sicily, I packed my bags again (full of Panettone, Torrone, Italian sweets and coffee) as it was time to fly home for Christmas. ❤

I love this time of the year! Even tough it wasn’t cold enough in Rome and not anywhere near snowy, one could feel the hustle of the last days before Christmas and even at the airport the mood seemed different to me – or maybe I am just projecting my own expectations onto everyone else.

 

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Christmas at home is almost a sacred ritual for me. I know exactly who we have lunch and dinner with what days and when and where we celebrate. It hasn’t changed in years and I find it very reassuring and calming. It’s almost as if those couple of days follow a meticulous plan (full of traditions and food) which has never really been established, it just happened and now it’s there and everyone follows it. 🙂

The days in between Christmas and New Year’s were full of friends, snow, baking and happy doing nothing. I like it when being home is “nothing special”, as in: the way it always used to be, nothing extraordinary or exceptional.

On the 31st of December Gonzo came to visit and in the early morning I went to pick him up at the Salzburg airport. We spent a lovely “boring” New Year’s Eve with my family, my grandmas competed in cooking traditional dishes for us, we went sledge riding, had walks and photo shoots in the snow and Gonzo insisted on learning how to ski – and he did really well, considering he’s a Spaniard who’s not used to snow! 😉 In short, we had a couple of super cozy wintery holiday-days.

And after those wintery days in Austria we went to London – but that’s another story and shall be told in another blogpost.

XX, Angie

Roman Advent Adventures – Let there be light!

At the beginning of the week we wrote the first exam and after getting back to having a (social) life after weeks of studying, I went for a walk in the centre of Rome and noticed that over the last couple of days the streets have filled up with christmas decorations and lights – but they were not yet switched on!
I found that very peculiar, as the first Sunday of advent as well as the 1st of December have passed already. And what do you do in a foreign land when confronted with confusing local behavior? Right, you ask the locals!  And so I learned that the starting signal for all kinds of Christmas decoration in Italy is officially the 8th of December. It’s a holiday, so people stay home, put up and decorate the trees and get that festive spirit going – and the streets officially get illuminated.

Knowing this, yesterday evening I went out to explore festive Rome. The first stop was a Christmas market near Flaminio. Well, it was a crafts market with a lot of fairy lights and some Sicilian street food stands outside, to be honest. It was absolutely lovely, the whole venue was full of lights and looked very whimsical – but it was by no way a Christmas market: no mulled wine, no sausages, not cold enough. 😛
Next up was Via del Corso – and oh yes! Now we are talking Christmas: the whole street was covered with lights all the way down to Piazza Venezia and all the shops had festive decorations in the windows. I felt so happy walking under the fairy lights munching some castagne (roasted chestnuts) which just taste so christmassy and also kept my fingers warm. The street was full of people and I was very pleased that I didn’t have to do any crazy Christmas shopping!
After seeing the tree at Piazza Venezia and passing by Fontana di Trevi (which is not decorated in any way, but simply very beautiful at night) I went to Piazza Spagna, where a firework tree is gracing the steps: it’s animated lights that give the impression of fireworks in Christmas tree shape. It looks very impressive but I can’t decide wether it’s beautiful or tacky!

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Christmassy Rome: check!

To finish off the evening I returned home and warmed myself up with a hot tea with proper christmassy spices and all!

XX, Angie

Roman Advent Adventures

Even being far from home, I try to maintain Austrian christmas and advent traditions, such as making an Adventkranz (advent wreath) and baking cookies.

For the past couple of years I successfully managed to create a round construct with four candles at all the flats I’ve lived in – and had to explain it’s meaning and purpose more than once.
This year though I decided to wouldn’t make one – mainly for the more practical reason that our flat is rather small and honestly there’s no space to put a “space-occupying candle-stuffed” object other than the kitchen table, which in fact is already overloaded with stuff that doesn’t necessarily belong on a kitchen table. So you get my point, right? Also, I’m gonna spend one weekend of advent in Sicily and on the 22nd I’ll depart to Austria anyway… So I figured I would be better this way.
KerzenII.jpgBut I actally really miss it! :/ I miss the peacefulness that lies in lighting a candle every Sunday until Christmas and I realized that I like having an Adventkranz around, as kind of a visual reminder that it’s advent and that actually you are supposed to calm down your crazy life, which we mostly forget these days to be honest.

Well, as I couldn’t do without any candles at all, I got this nifty advent-calendar-candle as a substitute, and some really amazing christmassy scented candles from Muji – so at least I’ll be lighting candles. And next year there’s gonna be an advent wreath, no matter where I’ll be or the conditions of the flat, I promise!

I hope you have a clam and peaceful advent!

XX, Angie

Italian Christmas Party

Because one Christmas party is never enough!

Yesterday we met up at Andrea and Francesca’s house for a lovely pre-Christmas dinner – and apart from me and James it was all Italians. 🙂

The glorious menu consisted of:

  • carciofi ripieni (made from Neapolitan artichokes sent from Andreas mum)
  • pizza pies
  • amazing tiramisu
  • panettone and Punsch

But of course after hours of eating we weren’t finished at all. What followed was coffee, chocolate, gossip, cookies, games, polaroids and silly selfies.

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It was a lovely night, thanks to all of you! ❤

Baci, Angie

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Christmas couldn’t possibly have come and gone without a Christmas dinner for the flat and as (for some miraculous reason) we all were off yesterday evening, we held a very Spanish dinner party – with a little Austrian twist!

Our kitchen was busy since the early afternoon with everyone preparing their course for the massive dinner we had planned. And while the guys did the cooking we moved tables and chairs to the living room and prepared a festive table.

As you know the Spanish-Austrian ratio in our flat is 5:1, and that was perfectly mirrored in the menu:

  • Canapés and Gazpacho as starters
  • Croquetas and lots of Langustines in garlic and parsley
  • Black rice with aioli and fried Calamari
    and for dessert:
  • Baked apples, gingerbread and cookies and mulled wine 😉

We definitely had enough to feed a roman legion, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. What a Christmas dinner would it be, it there weren’t enough left-overs to live of for the rest of the week?

And even though we almost died in food coma, we had fun revealing the Secret Santa presents (thanks for the lovely tea pot!!), took lots of pictures, played games and cracked loads of Christmas crackers!

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It was such a nice and relaxed, little bit chaotic, very festive and lovely evening!
Thanks so much chicos! 🙂

XX, Angie

Unfinished business…

Once upon a December, in our first winter in the London, in the very beginning, when my sister Kathi and I used to live together in Queens Park, we decided to go ice skating.

We made it to the Natural History Museum ice rink but then decided very spontaneously to call the whole thing off. We went for a walk on the Southbank instead but as soon as we were home again, we regretted our decision – it’s just that ice skating on one of the picturesque rinks seems one of the things to do in London before Christmas.  And for reasons unknown we didn’t make it to go back and tick “ice skating in front of the Natural History Museum” off our list before Kathi left and went back to Austria. So there you go, that’s the story behind the unfinished business Kathi and I have in London.

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But never fear! I used my mighty older-sister-powers and fixed it! My Christmas present came early this year: I invited Kathi to London and we had the most magical Christmas weekend in London – including lots of tea and scones, long walks, talks and bus rides, Christmas departments and shopping for presents, a shoe exhibition, watching Frozen, cuddles, cookies and chocolate… and a skating session on the beautiful Swarovski ice rink! Tick! 😉

Hab dich lieb, kleiner Stern!

XXX, Angie