A field trip to Christkindlmarket by a German Class at Lake Forest High School

Today was a bit different.  Got up very early as usual, MK’s alarm goes off and the lightning shot of adrenaline hits my veins.  So miss the initial days of my pretirement when her alarm would go off and I would just continue to snooze for a few more minutes, and on rare occasions, even sleep beyond her departure from the bedroom.

These days, that doesn’t happen so I dress, do my quick exercises, and then my toilette.  Today my plan was to see MK off to school (she was being picked up by a colleague) and then go to the gym, swim, then go to Lake Forest High School where I would join MK and help her out by chaperoning her field trip.

Mary Kay was waiting outside and realized that her ride wasn’t going to appear.  Thoughts of the possible occurrence that she wouldn’t be picked up were few and far between as Andrea is just like me and very unlikely to forget anything.  But even people like Andrea can succumb to being forgetful, and she did!  So I ended up taking Mary Kay and another colleague stranded by Andrea.   Andrea said she would return but was told that that was silly.  Andrea was so embarrassed that I received an e-mail from her apologizing while I was on the trip.  I e-mailed her back to tell of my major embarrassment in pre-cell phone days when I was halfway to school before I remembered my promise to pick up my colleague. Andrea’s colleagues and Mary Kay welcomed this gaffe as we who attempt to be perfect in all situations sometimes need to be reminded that we are flawed as well and frankly, life is too short to get bent out of shape over such silliness.

We were taking some thirty-nine high schoolers (mainly boys because the Koerner theory has pointed out that German classes have the highest percentage of boys, French classes the highest percentage of girls, and Spanish classes are pretty well mixed) down to Daley Plaza to see Christkindlmarket, an authentic German market with booths and sales people shipped from Germany with their Christmas wares.

At noon, after about an hour ride in some pretty heavy traffic, we arrived at Daley Plaza, stood across the street by the Joan Miro statue and received final instructions from the “Frau” as she is called.  Not that that is standard procedure, because it is not, but it is standard for an American teacher of German to be so named.  We had until 1:45 pm to enjoy the surroundings.  We traipsed across the street, MK, the two moms, and I ready to keep tabs on the kids while enjoying the donated Christmas tree and the cool European stands.  Naturally, we were all hungry and the boys lined up first for hot soups, Bratwurst, Weisswurst, potato pancakes, and hot cider. Once sated, everyone set off to check out the goodies.

Käthe Wohlfart’s Christmas decorations were to be found in her unique boutique, we have visited her store in  Rothenburg, Germany and in Riquewihr, France as well.  She is our all time favorite and we were anxious to visit her shop where we made a few purchases.  Amazing painted pewter, glass ornaments, and wooden decorations were being purchased right and left by the throngs of people in the booth.  Are we really in a recession?  There were lots of little boutiques selling honey, beeswax candles, wooden toys, glass ornaments, and then there were a few international boutiques.  We were amazed by the crowd and wondered if the slightly warmer weather (in the 30s) was the cause.

Between 1:30 and 1:45 pm we tried to reassemble by the Christmas tree as proposed by MK and all but two showed up. The rest of us went across the street to wait for the bus back and MK waited patiently.  The two missing girls showed up with us by the Miro statue and thanks to cell phones we were easily able to get in touch with MK across the street to be able to tell her to join us.  One of the girls was convinced we were meeting at 2:30 pm.  Go figure!

A good time was had by all!  At 2:45 pm we were back at Lake Forest High School!