I'd take on the England scrum single-handed before I'd fight a German housewife for the last bratwurst in Aldi. That however is what I found myself doing on the morning of 24th December. The in-laws were on their way and woe betide any respectable daughter in law who doesn't have enough sausage in her larder (not a euphemism) for the festive chow!
Having psyched myself up, thinking about my Northern "don't mess with me" roots, I returned to the fold victorious, if not a little bruised. I was greeted by my mother-in-law already in situ unpacking mountains of bratwurst she had brought with her "just in case".
1-0 to the mother in law.
The rest of the day went swimmingly though and I must reluctantly concede, despite my reservations, I rather enjoyed the German tradition of Christmas Eve being the Big Day. This could have something to do with my continual inner monologue of "you chose to live here, you chose to live here..." but I think it was more down to my daughter.
Finje, who for the first time, enraptured by stories of Santa Claus, spent a good half hour tramping determinedly in the snow searching for signs of He Who Brings Gifts and listening intently for the sound of sleigh bells. The look on her face on returning from her fruitless search to find the wily old fox had nevertheless managed to sneak down our chimney, drink the brandy, eat the bratwurst and take the carrot for Rudolph, was priceless.
We flew to the UK for New Year and Finje's grasp of English was put to the test. We'd been invited to a wedding party. I forewarned Finje that as no one at the party would understand her Teutonic repartee, it would probably be best if she tried to speak "like mama" (within reason).
It was a long night but Finje, despite my prediction of having to tussle with an over excited and exhausted spinning-headed demon-type child, managed to out party both her parents and keep everyone entertained despite not uttering a single word of English all evening. No one had the foggiest what she was blithering about but she nonetheless managed to win over hearts-a-plenty. Not only that but she demonstrated an impressive shamelessness by giggling somewhat patronisingly at some valiant guests' efforts to speak German.
I returned to the home of my childhood that evening, frazzled and partied out but very proud of my offspring who clearly has all the makings of a party animal.
Resolutions for 2010?
Never underestimate your child.