After visiting last week’s abhorrent and, to be candid, a bit frightening, “Christmasmarkt” in Paris, spending the afternoon at the low-key AIS WinterMarkt with its independent vendors and performing arts was an ideal refresher. We caught up with friends, enjoyed simple fare, and even picked up a few unique items.
Like this crock of handmade green curry being sold at the South Africa table. It has light citrus notes, and I can not wait to introduce it to a few lamb knuckles from the Naschmarkt later this week…

 …and these light-hearted Christmas note cards, handmade by my Dutch friend.

A little closer to home, I spent several minutes conversing with the sweet elderly artist of these calendars. Dr. Sauermann is a retired political scientist who lives around the corner from us, and has turned her attention to ink and watercolor drawings of the Nußdorf, Sievering and Grinzing villages here in the 19th. The watercolor on the cover of the calendar I purchased is of the former Beethoven house a bit down our street (the building is now luxury apartments). She has a larger collection in her home studio that I am looking forward to visiting.
The market raffles “country baskets,” filled with goodies and treats of the many home countries of our students. I did not drop a ticket into the USA basket raffle, preferring instead to take my chances on the gorgeous basket of Bulgarian lotions, potions and notions. I WON! You see, last fall when I accompanied Tony to Sofia, a couple of his assistants and fellow female colleagues asked if he could bring back a few Bulgarian rose oil products. Naturally I had to purchase a few for myself (good diplomacy, after all) and discovered the reason Tony’s colleagues asked for the products.  Between this basket and the soaps and elixirs and whatnots from Paris, I am well on my way to becoming a one-woman apothecary.
Running parallel to the Wintermarkt in the theater is an afternoon of short performances by the various performing arts groups at the school: dance, drama, choir, and band and orchestra. The Proud Mom photo below is of Anna Grace as the page turner for the HS orchestra performance. She is the concert mistress for the MS strings (First Violin, First Chair), and the strings conductor invited her to sit with him at the HS performance, truly a glowing acknowledgment of her musical abilities. 
The light snow falling throughout the afternoon added to the festive atmosphere, and now it positively feels like the holiday season has begun!