When I woke up this weekend, it took me a while to bravely look out the window. My nerves didn’t want to remember driving home in white out conditions on Friday. I witnessed one person turn the corner a few blocks from my home to slide all the way across the street into my lane. Luckily, I was far enough away but it made turtle crawl until I was in my driveway.
The cities didn’t get as much as some parts of the State but our complaints about weather paled in comparison to what happened down south. I couldn’t believe the footage of entire towns completed destroyed. It’s heartbreaking to see, especially right before Christmas. That kind of news made my other weekend events less important.
However, it’s those kind of moments that make you cherish the time you have left with loved ones. I made it a point to go out for another date of Christmas because spending time together matter more. I was tempted to stay snowed in, and in my pajamas until I saw the footage of the tornadoes. Making more memorable moments suddenly mattered a little more. I wanted to go to our first European Christmas Market simply because we could.
The whole way there we wondered if we were going to make it. My car sounded like a frozen block of ice on wheels. Something frozen under the car almost made us turn back. I don’t know if my determination was brave or dumb. I’ll find out when I have someone look at it.
After finding parking, we meandered around and took our Instagrams around light up Christmas trees and found our way inside St Paul’s, Union Station. Noises of children excited for the holidays echoed off the walls. As we approached the few vendors inside my thought sunk. I asked, “Is this it?”
I wondered what kind of market this was and worried my husband would roll his eyes at such a small event. This didn’t go with the advertising or the ones I saw in other States. The tables we browsed looked delicious but the feeling was underwhelming. We did bump into a chef we knew, and purchased their delicious Moroccan boxed of pastries to support them but as we came to the last table my lips turned down. Where is the market experience?
Well, it was our first time to an Outdoor European Christmas Market, and the key word is Outdoor. I had a “duh” moment and followed the crowds of people going out the side door. As strings of lights, music, and the sound of a beer tent grew louder, so did my excitement. This was exactly what I expected for a first time market.
Rows of wooden shacks were lined with all kinds of local creators, and small businesses. I went with the trend this year and tried to shop small business as much as possible. I slowly walked from stall to stall and crossed everything off my list. I found an ornament to remember the event, stopped to see the dancers perform all kinds of European dances, and did a lot of “Look at that!” They even had fire pits to warm up from the cold as we walked through the crowd.
Most importantly, I was able to get my commemorative mug. After watching people from all over the world flash their collectible mug, I wanted one of my own. My husband and I cheered before we sipped on some warm, spiced wine. I had to laugh when my husband stopped at one stall to look at gigantic ear muffs. His ears must have been cold because he forgot his hat.
I thought of my late night binges on Korean dramas, and honeymooning couples that go to Jeju Island in Korea. They wear matching outfits together. I looked over at him with one of those smiles, “We could both get them.” The young girl behind the stall chimed in and said her dad wears them. I didn’t know if I could convince him, and I was prepared to give him one of those pouty looks but he said yes before I had time. He surprised me.
He put on his furry white muffs, and I put on my furry bright pink muffs and we walked hand-in-hand through the other stalls. I was jumping up and down in my boots because were wearing couple ear muffs! That moment topped the importance of the mugs.
We took our time as we passed the long lines for the food stalls. We looked at each other and shook our heads. Good thing we weren’t hungry. The lines were too long and I’ve turned into an indoor kind of person over the years. A few more photos and I didn’t want our date to end.
As we drove home, I took my husband to an iconic landmark of Minnesota. I took him to the original Mickey’s diner. Maybe I’ve written too many prompts about local diners, but I had to stop because we live here and it’s something he’s never done. Don’t expect Michelin stars. This is a small town diner and there’s only diner food. Most of the people who go there are most likely heading home from the bars. In fact, both the dining car in downtown St. Paul and the original are known for late night customers that need to fill their stomachs with more than alcohol before they go home.
We were the only customers for a while and it was nice and quiet. A good time to talk together and keep our date going.
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