Monday, March 19, 2007

One small step towards German-ness, one giant leap towards warmth

For times like this when I have little to report about the events that fill my days, I like to delve into the photo archives and into my memories as well. The topic of this entry is the hot water bottle. The purchase of said water bottle was a major event in 2006. And really, when I say 'small step towards German-ness', I really mean 'freakin' huge step'. In the same respect, when I say 'giant leap towards warmth', I mean 'is warmth in its essence and entire being.'

Now I know that hot water bottles aren't just German. I know that we have them in America too (by the way, I like to pronounce 'America' like this: a-merrr-ka) but who have you ever seen using a water bottle? I believe the last time I even heard about a hot water bottle was in a Judy Bloom book about the start of menstruation. If you're cold in A-merrr-ka, then to the best of my knowledge you warm yourself with electricity or fossil fuels. Although my family insisted upon keeping the house at frosty temps to save on heating bills and maybe to be environmentally friendly, we were no strangers to electric mattress pads or electric heating pads in general.

Thus, when I moved to Germany so many years ago, the hot water bottle was truly a phenomenon. A phenomenon which took me about seven years to approach and get to know. Seven years. Think about all the fear of the unknown that develops in seven years. Really, think about it.

Then, one day last spring I was in the grocery store of all places and they had hot water bottles with snuggly animal cases for just 3 Euros and I knew I had to act. However, after purchasing said snuggly hot water bottle, it sat on a high shelf in my closet through spring, summer, and fall. I thought about using it and then at the last moment I always turned away, for doing something for the first time can just be daunting at times.

In December I was visiting my darling host sister, Anna, when I was overcome with illness. Anna, being a good German, gave me a hot water bottle to sooth my aching body. And voila, I was in love!

Throughout the cold winter (ok, it actually wasn't that cold) I diligently filled my little ducky with hot water, crawled into bed, and had some of the most glorious nights of sleep of my entire life.

Thus, when Maria came to visit over Christmas, I knew that she must also have a hot water bottle. Because wouldn't it be cruel to fill up my snuggly hot water bottle each night, crawl into bed, and have the best night of sleep ever, while next to me, a cold little Maria lie awake) (OK, the awake part probably isn't that likely, but I digress.) And to be honest, the thought of just giving her my hot water bottle for the duration of her stay was far too much for my fiendishly warm egocentric self. And so, for her birthday, she got this little lamby.

And that is the story of the hot water bottle, one of the little things that makes me feel more German . . . and warm.


Anonymous said...

Oh those Germans and their practical low-tech devices! Give me an appliance you can plug in or burns gas.
Reddy Kilowatt

Maria said...

Mannnnn do I love that little lamby. I use it everyday, often more than once. I was going to save a series of photographs I took of it for my own rainy-day post, but you beat me to the post-punch.

Thanks for your concern about me lying awake. Like you said - not very likely.

al said...

I feel like I need more details.

Do you boil water? That kind of hot?

How long does it stay warm? I mean, is it lovely as you're going to sleep and then, you wake up in the wee hours, and your bottle is cold, and it makes waking up just that little bit worse because you remember when it was warm?

I'm worried.