Holiday season

Yes, these are freshly baked “pepernoten” that I made for Sinterklaas. Since I was missing out on that now, me and two other Dutch girls decided to celebrate it with our class. Half of them were Dutch so actually knew what it was, but that didn’t matter.

We prepared those pepernoten. We made them from some dough that they use here for Christmas cookies, because there are no “speculaaskruiden” of course, but attempt 2 turned out fine. Someone also made “banketstaaf” and some people had chocolate letters from back home. We left the “surprises” pout but instead everyone bought a small gift and we played a dice game, leading to the traditional conflict over the nice presents (in this case, a box of “lego” was really popular). But everyone ended up with something nice. The next day, I even convinced some girls to watch “Alles is Liefde” (with more pepernoten). At the end of the evening we went out in the snow, that has finally arrived, for a snowball fight, snowman (or in our case snow moose) building and a good sleigh ride, because mountains enough here of course. I must say the holiday feeling is really starting to kick in.

Because they don’t celebrate Sinterklaas here of course, but they do know how to celebrate Christmas. So far I got an advent calendar (my whole class got one, we still don’t know from who) and a small Christmas tree. And I already had some Christmas celebrations. They start early with it, maybe because they don’t have Sinterklaas or because most exams are in December. Either way, I had a Christmas dinner in November. Everyone dressed up fancy, and we got divided into dates, so I spent the evening with a nice Norwegian, who explained me everything about Norwegian Christmas dinners. The food is actually Dutch: boiled potatoes, red cabbage and different kinds of meat. However, they wear this silly Christmas hats that I only know from British Christmas movies, and they have speeches, one from a guy for the girls, and one from a girl for the guys. After dinner, everyone gets up to go dancing, not boring dancing, but actual swing dancing, in pares. Really fifties like, and I’m not a natural but it was lots of fun.  A few weeks later, I went to a Christmas ball, same idea, without dinner but with the fancy suits and dancing. I must say, with all this and the snow covered pine trees, it is really starting to feel like Christmas. I will be spending Christmas in Copenhagen and I heard it is big over all of Scandinavia, so I’m really looking forward to that.