It was a chilly and snowy night in Bonn, Germany. I stepped into the warm house of the Pfeifers. A candle was burning on the dinner table; it smelled of some type of delicate flower, like a daisy or lavender. I took a deep breath through my nose, just to get a whiff of the scent.

There was something else in the room that you could not miss. Little pieces of paper were all over the shelves on the walls. The little decorations were very eye-catching. However, these weren’t any normal pieces of paper. These were origami, yet not anything like the type normally seen. I could easily tell what each one was. When I looked closely, I could see the intricate folds and creases that were made. I stared in amazement.

“Wow,” my parents remarked, almost simultaneously. Wow, I thought to myself. I wasn’t sure what to think.

“Who made these?” my dad asked.

Mrs. Pfeifer replied, “Veronika. She has always enjoyed origami.” Veronika was Mr. and Mrs. Pfeifer’s daughter. She had hazel-green eyes and long, sleek brown hair. Whenever she spoke in English, there was a sweet German accent to it.

“Yes, I like a lot.”

I had always wondered what it would be like to learn English if it was not your first language.

Mr. and Mrs. Pfeifer welcomed us into their home and my parents began a conversation, as normal adults always do, talking about science or business. My dad had a meeting in Germany, so my mom and I were able to come along on the trip. We were also going to just explore around some of the cities, including Köln and Frankfurt.

Veronika invited me up to her room. Little green and red lights were strung across the walls, and so was even more origami!

Veronika then asked “Would you like do paper folding?” and held up a complex origami kit. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself a little. How am I going to do this? I thought to myself.

I replied “Ok.” We sat down on the floor and she gave me a piece of origami paper. Veronika turned to a page with a crane, or a swan. We went through the steps slowly, and if I didn’t get one of the steps, we both chuckled and she helped me about which fold or crease to do. “Fold here to here,” or “Turn over,” she would say from time to time if there was a step that was in German. I knew Veronika didn’t know that much English, but it was a great experience.

Little red and green lights were strewn across the ceiling. Christmas was coming! Veronika, her parents, her two younger brothers Hans and Johannes, my parents, and I were going to the Christmas Markets the next day. In German, it is called “Weihnachtsmarkt,” (pronounced why-nakts-marked). I was super excited because we were going to see an event in Germany that doesn’t happen all year round.

I opened my eyes. It was the day we were going to the Weihnachtsmarkt! The Weihnachtsmarkt is an annual event, similar to the State Fair, and lasting from about mid-November to Christmas Day. Usually set up with small shops and food booths, you could spend the whole day there!

Veronika and I became more than acquaintances in the first couple hours. I carried around a German visitor’s guide handbook, looking through the book and Veronika teaching me some German. Our two families were just strolling along, pointing out neat things throughout the Weihnachtsmarkt. Hans and Johannes were sword fighting with sticks, Veronika and I were huddled together trying to keep warm, and the adults were talking about traveling and science.

Veronika pointed stopped as we walked past a small Ferris wheel. She said something to her mom in German, which I assumed was that we could go on the Ferris wheel. When we got on, I felt like I could see everything from above! Almost everything was green, red, or yellow. The snow atop the buildings glistened from the warm sunlight. I could feel the wind blow in my face every time the Ferris wheel was at its top point.

​    There was a station where a man was roasting chestnuts. When I took a bite, it was warm and soft in my mouth. Everyone took a bite and exchanged excited glances of the delicious taste. We walked around more and just admired the very Christmassy feeling and sight of everything. The packed snow beneath my feet crunched with each step, and I had a feeling of never wanting to leave the Weihnachtsmarkt, and to just live within the snowy happiness forever.