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There is this saying in the USA called Southern Hospitality.  It is a reference to the southern part of the USA and basically means that you are welcomed with open arms into someone’s home, like family.

The boys and I were invited to a New Year’s Eve dinner in Kössern, a small village near Grimma, along with some friends.  We knew little about where we were going or what to expect, but knew that it would be a unique evening.  We arrive to find a beautifully restored Schloss with a warm oven in the great room and the dining room table beautifully set for a large group.

I quickly found my place in the kitchen, happily chopping, cooking, and helping to prepare the food.  The boys found their fun playing darts in the Great Hall and shooting billiards upstairs.  The combination of German and English being spoken is somehow both comforting and exotic at the same time.  The lights are set just right, and the music is at the perfect volume, creating an ambiance that feels cozy somehow.

With a huge fondue feast on the table, we all sat down to cook and converse.  The topics ranged from disco music to business dealings, castle ownership to bicycling in the countryside.  Finding your passion, living your dreams, following your heart.  Amidst lots of laughter and sharing of stories, new friendships were forged.

Once dinner is over the music gets turned up.  The disco ball is turned on and the laser light show on the river begins.  If this is not enough already, the group moves to the Music Hall and several performances are given by some very talented guests.

Before the clock can strike midnight, my children are kaput!  After saying our thank you’s and our goodbyes, we make our way home as midnight strikes.  The sky is alight with fireworks, bigger than the Fourth of July in the USA.  We are briefly stopped at the bridge over the river Mulde in Grimma while partiers let off their fireworks right in front of our eyes.

As we tuck into our beds for the night, we are grateful for our lives, and for the ability to enjoy evenings like this one.  Perhaps there should be a different yet similar saying in Germany – Eastern Hospitality!!