Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year & 12th Night

It has been awhile (as always since I last posted) so instead of dwelling on this fact, I thought I would just get into the grits it.

As our past year has ended and the new one recently began, I started to pause a bit and think about the past few months. Jim and I still are a bit in shock that we have been married for a little over a year. We finally sent out Christmas cards this year. At first I really wanted to hand write each one, but as Christmas was fast approaching and I had only written around 10, and I still had around 100 more to write, I finally caved in and included the little insert on the year in review. Why had I never thought of this earlier?!? It's quick, easy and I can fit a crazy amount of details in anything ever written by hand. Now, I admit it was my first go at it, so they were really rough around the edges and not so pleasing on the eye. Next years' will be awesome!

Right after New Years we had some visitors come out. When I was in Samoa I lived on the school compound with another volunteer from Japan. In fact, when I finished my service, I visited him and his family in Japan. Well, he came out for a visit with his new wife. We had such a blast taking them around Annapolis. We introduced them to the Maryland Blue Crab in the form of crab cakes. They fell in love with Maryland crab cakes and cream of crab soup. His wife tried some local raw oysters and loved them as well. They enjoyed sitting in a local coffee shop drinking coffee and eating biscotti, and wandering around the town with it's brick roads and history.

One of the things we did when they were visiting was tour the Naval Academy. I had never toured the academy before their visit. If you have never been, it is amazing. There are so many amazing facts about the academy I never knew. Example, all the midshipmen live in the same dorm building which is the second largest dorm building in the world. The largest is in Russia. Our friends really enjoyed the tour as it was something quite unique to the US and Japan does not have military academies like the United States. After the official tour we wandered around the campus and found our way into the Naval Museum. As a history major I must recommend this museum to anyone ever visiting the academy. It displayed the naval history of the US from the beginning of the country until current day. It is a very well layer out museum. My friends enjoyed that museum very much. It was such a blessing having them visit. It even gave us an excuse to finish the bathroom in our basement. (which they referred to as a hotel.)

Tonight is 12th night. Also known as Epiphany. It is supposedly the night that the Wise men reached the baby Jesus. I can't tell you if it's historically accurate or not, and to be truthful, I don't care. My family has been celebrating this since I was born. My grandparents on my dads side celebrated it. Maybe it was a family thing they brought with them from Germany, who knows. Either way, I love it. Traditionally my family gets together, eats stew, and has cake with 2 beans hidden inside of it. Whoever gets the piece of cake with the bean becomes the King or Queen of the family for the year. I never got the bean as a kid. I remember lamenting this fact to my grandma one year and that year I for the cake with the bean! Never mind there was a large hole where a finger most likely had inserted that bean. After the food has been eaten and king and queen determined, everyone cuts a branch from the Christmas tree and throws it into the fire while making a wish for the new year. Well, I have not been around my parents or my dads family in a long time, so my current version of 12th night has been somewhat modified. This year only my husband and I are celebrating. A cake seems somewhat ridiculous considering we know we would get the king and queen. So, no cake. Also, after Christmas my husband made turkey soup. It is amazing soup. Much better than most stews. Therefore, we are having the soup. And lastly, we have a fake tree. It is still up, but I had to go outside and cut twigs from our bush so we could throw them in the fire and make wishes for the new year. It was different, but it was special. And it's ours.

So, here's wishing everyone a very happy 12th night. Or epiphany if you will, and I trust that you will.