Sliding into the New Year

New Year
Compared to our New Year’s Eve last year in Munich, Switzerland seemed like it slept through the “slide” into 2011.  (German speakers wish you a good slide into the New Year) Munich was like a war-zone, and bottle rockets and various explosive devices like the one pictured above would surely unnerve even the most fearless sober reveler.

Switzerland likes to temper itself, and everything from recycling to celebrating must be done orderly and Swiss-like.  Oh yes there were loud booms, and lights flashing, but all but one celebrant stopped igniting things at 00:30 on the dot.  The last hold-out must have been from Munich.

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A New City, A New Year

Bye, Cologne
Even temporary homes are homes.  We lived only three months in Cologne, but we all feel a little more like Rhinelanders after that time.  Our land-lady even bought us a crystal cathedral that lights up, all giving us a sense that we will be missed.  But at 9:55 on New Year’s Eve all was to change.  Our plans were made: pack, find our place in the Kinderabteilung (Children’s compartment), and head to Munich.

Four hours later we arrived in Munich, and loaded a taxi.  Our new home was waiting, and, now, the glass cathedral has a new place to glow and spin.

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New Year, Some Old Problems

True that

It was clear with the commercials for payday loans, video games, and “the only way to tell her you love her”…jewelry of course.  It was also clear during midnight mass, with the less-than-cheery gentleman sitting and scowling next to us.  The holiday season is also clearly in effect as homeless men and women flood the vacant street corners with sometimes curious, sometimes suspicious signs.

Phoenix is an anomaly because of its climate.  A warm summer prevents homeless residents from panhandling during the day…it’s just too hot, and every year people literally die from the 115 degree highs.  But during the holiday season homelessness is more evident, though the legitimacy of those in need is not always clear.

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