Home > Germany, Personal > Telling Tales, Writing Stories

Telling Tales, Writing Stories

My favorite part of going out in Munich is that somehow, no matter how many people I meet, I still somehow make new friends, whether its people new to the city, friends of friends I’ve seen around but never actually been introduced to, or just random strangers whom I happen to find myself in conversation with. It’s very nice, and this week was a particularly good example, with new people at almost every event I went to, not to mention fun events in general.

With Simon quitting the internship, my several supervisors have scrambled to repair the issues he had, to my benefit, with a lessening of the menial chores that were dragging on me to just twenty percent of my work week (instead of the sixty or seventy percent they sometimes reached) and streamlined the system of giving me assignments, so I’m hopeful that the remainder of my internship will be much more pleasant. Now if I could only find a job for afterward, everything would be perfect.

On Tuesday after work and a stopover at home, I made my usual way to Shamrock (not, as I had always mistakenly thought of it, Shamrock’s). I didn’t see anyone I know at first but had just settled down with a Strongbow when Lydia (accompanied by a visiting Australian friend who went by “Colonel”) came in. She regaled me with the sordid recent drama of her life (clearing up several misconceptions on my part) which kept me amused as others I knew started to arrive, like Michael, Kerre, Brooke, Chan, and others. Lydia sang several songs as karaoke night went on, going from getting shushed by some audience members to being invited to take part in the karaoke world championships, a definite upgrade. I met Kathleen, a friend of Brookes who sat next to me while I winced at yet another rendition of Coldplay sung in a strong German accent. Our conversation consisted mainly of mocking those who went on stage so I counted it a good night already, especially when she mentioned that one of the German guys ruining some classic or other (possibly “Free Electric Band”) had a light saber under his bed, giving his performance that extra touch of the ridiculous that makes karaoke night so fun.

Kerre and Brooke alas didn’t stay very long (for once not even drinking a lot) though as always, their conversation and the way they know everyone added to my fun. Besides Kathleen, I met Tawny (first person I’ve met whose non-stage name is Tawny), and almost met someone whom I’d seen around a lot but never spoken to named Amy, but Kerre decided to hold off on the introduction after she realized Amy was rather focused on finding out how long she could hold her breath, using the kissing her boyfriend test, and nearly stumbling over several others in the bar as a result. Once Brooke and Kerre were gone, my own fatigue came back with a vengeance so I followed out not long after to go home and face work as the only science writing intern once again, albeit with more clearly understood responsibilities.

My original plans for Wednesday fell through so I stayed late at work and got a bunch done, going to bed fairly early so I could cram even more work in on Thursday, part of my plan to build up extra hours so I can take a day or two off to travel whenever I want. But of course Thursday after work was Toytown so I wasn’t too fussed over trying to be productive beforehand. This week, the vote had come in for a place called Martini Club, a new one for me. Walking in, I saw a very fancy bar, with interesting colored mood-lighting, couches and stools that looked comfortable without actually feeling very comfortable, and an obsession with prohibition including (no kidding) an endlessly running PowerPoint presentation on the subject especially as related to organized crime. Lydia and her Colonel were there so I sat with them, and was pleasantly surprised to see Sebastian come in and join us as he is German and thus less likely to come to these kind of things. While the bar was interesting (to me at least) and the drinks tasty, they were also outrageously expensive. Almost immediately people began talking about shifting bars but I wasn’t in any hurry, wanting to see others I expected to come. It was nice to catch up with Ida, Annie, Roel, and Barbara when they came, and by then I was more than ready to move on, which we all did, going to Flaschen Bar nearby, a smoky, seedy, dive place, with cheap beer and very surprised bartenders as the several dozen of us crammed in. The smoke got to me pretty quickly though so conveniently it was already close to the last train, allowing me to leave without feeling like I might stay longer.

I was incredibly relieved by the dawning of Friday after such a stressful (if ultimately positive) week at work. Unfortunately for my roommate, his plans for going to Berlin over the weekend were precluded by a sudden rush of work, but for me Friday was not too bad work wise. I went home and after getting ready went to have dinner with Luisa, a university student I’d met a few weeks back at this Thai restaurant Benjarong, which was very tasty. While none of our conversation could be called boring, I was particularly fascinated to learn about German fraternities, some of which still engage in sword fighting and duels, giving each other scars as a sign of membership and perversely combining what I think of as traditional gentlemen’s clubs with some of the rougher street gangs (minus firearms). Such a strange place Europe can be to a simple colonial like me. After dinner we headed over to Killian’s, detouring to Ned Kelly’s after observing the crowds. While we were there we ran into a couple of real-life Aussies, Cris and Annabelle (plus Dennis the German), which was a random, albeit fun encounter. When Luisa got off the U-Bahn, I walked back farther in the train and quite coincidentally saw Laura (the Canadian I had met both at Fraser’s first house party and seen at Toytown) with some of her friends, reminding me that sometimes Munich feels more like a small town than a big city. Walking home afterward I could see fireworks in the sky, a good omen for the weekend I hazily thought as my face met my pillow.

Saturday I enjoyed a wonderful opportunity to sleep in until noon, when my body insisted I get up and deal with sunlight streaming onto my face. After a walk around Garching I communicated with Fraser about plans for the day, specifically when to head to Fruhlingsfest for Kristyn’s birthday celebration (an excellent timing coincidence). I went to his place a little after three, where I shared a beer in the company of Fraser, Sven, Jamie, and Casey, who had chosen to join us for the day. Amid teasing remarks about what the temperature was, and general admiration of Fraser’s lederhosen we made our way out of the apartment and walked over to festival grounds, easy to spot with its enormous roller coasters, Ferris wheels, and general air of rambunctious fun. We met up with Roel at the fairgrounds and walked into the Augustiner tent, one of the two beer tents at the festival.

Similar to Starkbierfest (and like a small scale version of Oktoberfest I am told), picnic tables and benches filled the tent. People crammed nearly every inch of space even so early in the evening, many in lederhosen and dirndls, and almost all hoisting large beer steins as they sang along to the live band on stage. Thankfully I was spared Country Roads, but the strains of Sweet Home Alabama, tunes by Steve Miller, and other American classics interspersed with the more traditional (and modern) German tunes.

Kristyn and her party crew filled three tables in the tent. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough space for us to join any of them, but we luckily found another table not too far away, where the five of us joined up with Davina and her friend Raphaella, whom I had seen at the apartment party the week before but had not previously met. She did the standard “my English isn’t good” line, though as also standard, her English was excellent. Sitting with friends and drinking beer is a nice afternoon by any standard, with activities like Casey tying back Jamie’s hair (much to his disgruntlement), discussing the finer points of cultural exchanges between Germany and America with Davina and Raphaella, and people watching with properly irreverent comments with Fraser on the nature of traditional dress in Bavaria simply adding frosting to the (birthday) cake. The only awkward part of the festival was the bathroom situation. Though not as gross as M-Park, the long trough, crowded with drunk people was less than ideal on many levels, and I seemed to be among the few availing myself of the sink and soap provided.

On a brighter note, while Raphaella explained a bit about German schools to me, adding to what Luisa had mentioned about the sword-fighting fraternities, Barbara arrived with her visiting Swiss friend Rahel. Unsurprisingly, she was a good edition to the group, fitting in quite well (though that may be partly because we are just so used to blondes randomly joining our fun). It was a fun group. We played never have I ever, which I hadn’t done since my first Saturday night out, always an enlightening game with regards to peoples pasts. Similar to Starkbierfest also, we spent much of our time standing on the benches and dancing. Rather than walk around, the table was often used as a way to move between benches and Casey sometimes chose the more spacious area of the table as a place to dance as well. It also helped her escape the attentions of a rather forward German fellow who had trouble taking her hints about not wanting to talk to him, instead placing me next to him and his breath of a thousand breweries. Whether it was the beer or the moving around or just the atmosphere, as time passed people started to lose track of which beer was theirs and many people just started drinking whichever one was closest of the dozen or so half-empty steins on the table, all I can say is at the time it made sense.

The evening went on as such evenings always do, that is, surprisingly fast. I made a brief visit to the other tables, observing their dancing while I chatted with Michael, said hello again to Annabelle and Cris, not to mention the long absentee Gemma, and winced when one girl actually fell off the bench entirely. Back at our table I was pleased to see Katherine and Ally had come over. Ally was feeling much more cheerful than the last Saturday with the news that her boyfriend could finally visit now that the dreaded volcano is dying down some, so we had a toast to that among the many other toasts of the night. Eventually the festival started to wind down a bit. A bunch of people left to go to Jaeger’s but I didn’t want to be out all night after being in the beer tent all afternoon, so when Barbara and Rahel said they were leaving, I took the opportunity to follow along to the U-Bahn (with a stop along the way for Rahel to get the schnitzel she said she was craving). At the station, I ran into Noka who was also leaving the festival, and not five minutes later saw Canadian Laura, at the station, small town Munich striking again.

While I was congratulating myself on making the last train, a horrifying thought struck me. I had left my jacket at Fraser’s and previously had planned to come back that night to pick it up, and later as plans changed, to come in Sunday to get it. Foolishly though, I had left my keys in the pocket and only just now remembered. Embarrassed, I texted Fraser my predicament and hurried onto the train to his place. Like the saint he is, he let me in the building, with his door open so I could grab my jacket while answering the question of what was going on that floated from the bedroom, and make my escape in time to get the actual last train back, once again running randomly into Noka as she traveled with a few friends before finally collapsing into bed, exhausted though it was an early night compared to most Saturdays I’ve had in Germany.

I didn’t really sleep in on Sunday due to the lingering effects of Fruhlingsfest upon my head, but by the time I was up and fully functional the morning was almost over anyway. I had been invited to a barbecue on the Isar River, and with the weather much finer than the last time I made such an excursion, I packed up my sunscreen and hit the road, getting to the river around two. I found the group (distinguished by its flag of some Irish soccer team) where Prashant and Becky had set up a grill and people had already started to lay out blankets and towels on the rock-strewn beach by the river, lying down in bathing suits to get the maximum amount of sunshine from this already sunny day. Tunes blasted from a portable speaker, but were drowned out by the singing of Laura, Helen, Sara, Zainab and others who chose to treat the occasion as more of a sing-along than anything else. Bavarians are polite though, they attracted hardly any more glances than the naked men seen walking along the far bank of the river from time to time. While saying my hellos, a few more people wandered up, including an Irish fellow named Patrick whom I had once met briefly and some friends of his from Ireland and England. There’s nothing like Irish people to make me feel tan. I got to know them a bit while they set up their own cooking, the two Irish girls, Kelly and Aisling, are both interns (rather than the more usual Au Pairs) in human resources and marketing for a company that I had actually done research on while writing for Xconomy, which surprised us both.  And of course, it’s always fun to hear that accent, even when it’s around a mouthful of (really) potato salad on a hot dog in a bun.

A lot of people showed up over the next few hours. I said hello to Charne and Fred (without the marshmallow cookies this time), and laughed as Charned attempted to drink an entire liter can of beer before it got flat. Andreas came, as did Ellodie and Sara. I chatted to Michael while he read on his eReader and generally enjoyed myself and the absolutely gorgeous weather (with occasional sunscreen touch ups). Kerre and Sebastian came after attending the Bayern soccer match and Kerre was her usual amusing self, nearly taking some guys head off with a Frisbee at one point. While discussing tattoos with her and Michael and Lydia, I finally met face-to-face with Amy, whom I had previously seen around and heard many stories about but not actually spoken to. I hadn’t realized she and Michael worked together as computer programmers so we discussed the relative merits of different computer languages, a surreal topic on the sunny rock beach in Munich it seemed to me. Moving on from that topic after spotting the glazed expressions in the eyes around me, Amy told me some profoundly funny (and funnily profound) stories that had us all in stitches, though part of that might have been from shock as anything else. I also met Kayla, another Canadian who shared funny stories of her own. Anni came to the beach after spending time in the English Garden and the hours alas just flew by. With an almost scary suddenness around seven in the evening, the temperature dropped by what must have been over ten degrees and suddenly everyone left was in a hurry to leave. Some people went off to Peaches, others to sundry other locations, but with the anticipation of work the next day I went home.

It was a wonderful weekend and I feel quite optimistic about the coming week as well. If I could just get my travel plans together, I’d be totally content. But enough about me, how are you?

Categories: Germany, Personal
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