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My International Birthday

Turning 24 is not a milestone the way 18, or 21 was, or the upcoming 25 will be. Nonetheless it was a milestone in the sense of being my first real post-education birthday, which is why I’m glad it worked out so well. I had sent out invites to pretty much everyone I know in the country to come out and celebrate and after an online debate over where to eat, booked reservations (with the help of the linguistically talented Claudia) at a Thai restaurant called Tem Thai, near the Toytown destination of the week. Or at least it looked close on the map.

After work, Ross, Roberto and I headed out to the train station, riding into town and getting off at the closest U-Bahn station. It had snowed for a couple of days straight, which made the otherwise quite reasonable kilometer walk to the restaurant more of an adventure than it should have been, but we got there in reasonable time. We even picked up Roel, who had gotten a little turned around along the way. When we went inside, it was to discover that Barbara and Kerre (plus Brooke, Kerre’s friend whom I had also met at Toytown the previous week) were already there. We sat down and started to look over the menu and ordered drinks as the rest of my guests trickled in: Jamie, Fraser, Claudia, Sorcha, and a bit later Colleen and Kristyn.

The food was excellent (it goes without saying the beer was too), and the conversation was even better. Discussing how Friends got the Dutch accent wrong with Barbara,  the merits of snowboarding with Sorcha, and the aftermath of the  previous week’s party with Jamie and Fraser, the meal flew by, although not too fast for me to miss enjoying my chicken and rice (thanks to the handy translators at the table). It was amazing to realize how international the group was, with representatives from the USA, Italy, Holland, Scotland, Ireland, Portugal, and New Zealand all sitting together at a Thai restaurant in Germany. That right there was enough to make this birthday one of the best.

All too soon, the waitress cleared the plates away, the inevitably complicated bill paying was arranged, and it was time to head to our next destination, Peaches, for the Toytown event. Not everyone could make it alas, Colleen and Claudia both called it a night, but the rest of us walked essentially back to the U-bahn to get to the bar, over the protestations of some who wanted to get a taxi, but it was a nice walk. Peaches was an interesting bar. Far too smoky for my taste, it had a large back room as well as the main bar area. What most jumped out at me was the group sitting in a window booth all dressed as devils (some even in full face paint).

Barbara, Sorcha, and I all did a shot with a beer chaser and I settled in for a nice night at the bar. There were some funny experiences, like the “Massage Attack” people giving massages (pay what you want) to people. There’s less rules about solicitors in Europe so you see them about in bars although the massage thing was new to me, the flowers guy was more expected. I got a massage (it was my birthday I thought, so why not) which was nice if strange.Kerre also had a plenty to drink, and didn’t even spill thanks to the smaller holes in the glasses.

Ross, Sorcha and I made plans to see a rugby game (the rugby as Ross called it) on Saturday, which is exciting.

I actually learned the name of the English girl I had met the week before (Katherine), who had a friend visiting, and stood out in my memory mainly for the cameo she wore (you rarely see girls in their 20’s wearing cameos to bars in my experience). She still doesn’t like loose-leaf tea though.

By midnight I was getting pretty tired and I knew I had to work the next day, so Ross, Roberto, Sorcha, and I headed off the train, just missing the one Roberto and I needed, so the two of us had to wait for a while. It wasn’t terrible as we saw a girl in a huge pink afro wig, which entertained us for several minutes. Eventually we got back, and after a shower to get the smoke residue off, I collapsed into bed, happy with a really great birthday and looking forward to a wonderful year.

Categories: Germany, Personal
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  1. May 24, 2010 at 10:59 am

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