Home > Germany, Personal > Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Spring has arrived in force in Munich. The snow is gone, the temperature rises and the Sun is making regular appearances for the first time since I arrived. It’s a wonderful change, and makes me eager for summer. On the downside, I still work indoors so mostly all I can do is look at this beautiful weather from my desk. I look forward to taking advantage of the weather this weekend though, even though the forecast calls for rain. At work I’ve had some more of my work get published (though as part of an institution like ESO, there’s no name credit). I wrote this story about galaxies, and am reasonably pleased with how it turned out.

I’ve kept busy outside of work as well. After Tuesday’s fun, I thought Wednesday would be an evening in, but instead, Barbara came out to Garching and we went to Lokito’s (famed for the worst Mexican food I’ve ever had) for a beer, then got another and enjoyed the cool evening air. I attempted to read the Dutch translation of The Lost Symbol and did an excellent job, no matter what Barbara might have to say about my accent, my pronunciation, or my general ineptitude.

On Thursday, after working all afternoonon packing up press releases to help the student packer (as an intern, I go where I’m told), I was happy to leave a little early, following Ross out a little before five. I went home and relaxed a bit, and when Roberto came back, met his Welsh friend who is staying with us for the weekend. I didn’t get to talk to him much though because I was on my way out for Toytown, Ross’ last one.

Ross had asked his friends to vote for this week’s event to be at Cocktail House, near Munchner Freiheit, because it’s much closer to his place. We obliged and that’s where I went. I arrived a little before nine, and didn’t see anyone I knew, so I bought a beer and sat in a comfy chair to await the arrival of others. The bar was pleasant, with lots of wood, typical background music, and a 50 page drink menu that raised my eyebrow with its complex and extensive list of drinks.

The first I saw I knew was Jamie, who breezed by so quickly he didn’t see me, so I followed him up to the bar and said hello. He didn’t want to get too girly a drink, so he bought a strawberry daiquiri, with a cherry and melon on the rim (notice my subtle use of irony). Our waitress, whom he referred to as his future wife, seemed unsurprised by his choice. Fraser and Sven walked in not long after. Fraser graciously purchased a round of whiskey sours for me and himself (a taste I’ve acquired recently) and teased Adam, who had come by, for the salad of his mojito.

The bar had started to get a little more crowded in typical Toytown fashion. Out of nowhere, a woman squeezed into our circle and asked to join our conversation. She introduced herself as Molly and said she is the head coach for Germany’s national women’s lacrosse team. As Europeans aren’t very familiar with the sport, she and I explained to the others how the game of nets on sticks works. She pointed out some of the members of her team she had brought (ostensibly to learn English) and Jamie asked his usual tactful questions about them. It was interesting for me to hear from an American who’s been in Munich for a year and a half since she’s experienced quite a bit more of life here than I expect to (including a hilarious story of waking up in the English Gardens alone after sleeping there with a bunch of her team).

Ross showed up, almost tearful over having this be his last event. I also saw Lapplander Anni, who introduced me to Sophie, a Canadian Au Pair from Vancouver Island (not far from Seattle). Sophie’s been in Munich for a month, and this was her first Toytown event, as well as her birthday. I offered her a celebratory beverage and she accepted. She asked for a Tequila Sunrise, but wasn’t too fond of the taste unfortunately. We had a nice chat about people abandoning their friends in foreign countries and her dislike of Miley Cyrus music except for Party in the USA (a common attitude as my brother will attest).

Kerre, after a protracted hello to people along the way, came up to us to say hi, offering Ross a goodbye cheesecake, which was a touching gesture. The crowd parted a bit and Sorcha, Karen, Ally, and Katherine came up to where we were all standing. Apparently they had all met for dinner at an Ethiopian restaurant (though it took some explaining by Karen to Fraser about how it was not Egyptian). I was pleased to see Ally there as she often talks about coming to Toytown but had never actually shown up since I’d started coming.

I sort of drifted around from group to group, here discussing Finnish/Swedish islands with Anni, there listening to stories from the previous weekend about how Sorcha and Katherine had gotten on stage to dance the hand jive, while Ross and others took bets on who would fall off (they bet on Sorcha to fall but she surprised them). Roisin came over, wine glass in hand, and I introduced her to Molly and Sophie, with whom I was talking at the moment. We got into a discussion of how to deal with bratty kids like the three Sophie works with. Molly was of the opinion that Sophie should be mean to them, easing up only when they are good, much like a coach in fact.

I was having a lot of fun, but the downside of these Thursday nights is how I have to catch the train back home, so I started to make my goodbyes and head out. Kerre said she was leaving too but of course her goodbyes are nearly as long as her actual stay in a place so I didn’t wait up. I was waiting up for Roisin, but as we were leaving she saw someone she knew and hadn’t talked to so I ended up leaving on my own, getting home around one, and today making my way to work in the bright sunshine.

Tomorrow is Ross’ crazy last Saturday party night, which I am quite looking forward to, although I’m not such a fan of not hanging out with him at work anymore. Next weekend is a four-day vacation for Easter though so that should be a lot of fun, as I plan to travel a bit. And so, to the weekend.

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