There's nothing like the fear of losing an eye, or perhaps a finger, to help ring in a new year. We spent the evening of December 31st with friends and when the clock struck midnight, we stepped outside to enjoy the all-out, completely unregulated fireworks show that is the German celebration of Sylvester. Since this was our second New Year's Eve here, we were aware of the mass purchase of fireworks made by most every household this time of year, one of the few (if not only) times they are legal. This year we somehow found ourselves a little more "in the thick of it" as opposed to simply observing from a safe distance. One would like to imagine parents having very stern conversations with their children about the potential dangers of these explosive little toys and re-iterating the rules of firework safety. Not happenin'. It's a complete and total free for all - as was evidenced by the one that grazed my right arm as it flew between me and Steve. Kids and parents in every direction were wielding matches and explosives - in every direction. Our thoughts turned to Ralphie with his Red Ryder BB gun and the ever present threat, "You'll shoot your eye out". Thankfully, we survived with all our appendages still firmly attached.
It's hard to believe we've officially welcomed another year. We've called Germany home now for roughly eighteen months - and believe it or not, it has actually begun to feel like home. We never could have imagined all that we have learned and experienced - and we happily turn the page to see what 2009 has in store.