Moments of Joy

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Spending most of my time outside and traveling around the world, enables me to see the world as it really is. The air-conditioned world most live in appears rather dull and simply too “cushioned”.

A few years ago, I was in Germany at the time, a friend of mine wanted to show me his hometown Kassel. We got there by train and the winter scenery flying by my window kept me entertained the whole way. The little towns, most covered in light snow, evoked a feeling of nostalgia, although I had no particular memories to attach to this sensation. My friend pointed out landmarks such as the river ‘Fulda’ and the many castles around the area. We spent our first day doing regular tourist stuff like walking around the city and visiting a few interesting places such as the Orangerie (2nd Picture) and the Herkules (3rd Picture). My friend was eager to tell me everything he knew about the city, and so I spent most of my time listening and asking questions.

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Hier ist die Orangerie in Kassel zu sehen. Foto: Heiko Meyer

As the evening approached, we made our way to the Christmas market in the heart of the city. The atmosphere was stunning and I lost myself within the ocean of lights. The folk in their booths offered everything from Christmas decoration and winter clothing to candy and bratwurst. Here and there groups of people were engulfed in conversation. Nobody seemed to mind the cold, which could probably be attributed to the hot wine most of us were consuming. Finally, my friend dragged me away from it all and we made our way to a bar.

Hell erleuchtet ist am Montag (27.11.2006) der Weihnachtsmarkt auf dem Königsplatz in Kassel. Blickfänger ist die nach Angaben der Stadt Kassel größte Weihnachtspyramide der Welt. Der Märchenweihnachtsmarkt wurde am Nachmittag offiziell eröffnet. Foto: Uwe Zucchi dpa/lhe +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

We had a blast! I remember paying an outrageous amount of money for the drinks we bought and accidentally putting down a glass so hard that it broke. After a few hours of stories and laughter, we decided it was time to head to bed. Although my friend’s relationship with his family was rather difficult, his dad allowed us to stay in his little garden shed somewhere in the suburbs.

As it is common in Germany, we rode the bus to our destination. The shed appeared to be located on a shared property owned by city folks who enjoyed having a space to grow veggies, plant flowers, and have BBQ’s during the summer. Each little shed had it’s own gardening area and was surrounded by a fence. As I made my way into the bed room, my friend tried to start a fire in the small fireplace in the hallway. It seems like I heard him say something along the line of: “Don’t you dare go to sleep before I get the fire going”, but I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Around 4:00 am I awoke and found myself cocooned in an incredible number of blankets. My friend was sound asleep next to me and it was obvious that he had failed at getting the fire going. Nevertheless, I was toasty warm and quite comfortable. I turned my head to see out of the window and faced one of the most beautiful scenes I had ever seen. The entire area was covered with thick white fog and the snow on the ground illuminated the garden. Trees, bushes, and every last blade of grass were coated with frost and was sparkling like diamonds. I felt the warm sensation of peacefulness fill my soul and, after scooting back into my cocoon, fell back asleep.

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