Home > Germany, Personal > Taxis and Trains; Birthdays and Soccer

Taxis and Trains; Birthdays and Soccer

It feels like the real countdown has begun today. I am slightly panicky about getting to the post office all the stuff I need to ship before I leave. I am also a little nervous about my going away party this Saturday, especially with recent disappointing news of a few people who aren’t able to come as I had thought. At the same time, being such a short-timer provides somewhat of a sense of freedom from responsibility that I am tempering carefully. I’m still getting my work done, but I feel less pressured about it. The same goes for what I write in the blog. But still through storms of disappointment and waves of nerves I write on.

I spent the week doing my usual events. Tuesday karaoke was fun but frankly compared to other weeks there, not particularly memorable except for seeing Adam, Melon and a few others perform “Too Sexy.” Thursday on the other hand was quite interesting. I met up first with Oana and the latest intern (my replacement essentially) at ESO, a Scottish fellow named Olivier in town and together we headed over to Lowenbraukeller. When we got there I was a little concerned about finding the group but luckily we found Jon, Andy, Hannah, Amy, and several others I didn’t know without much difficulty. Amid rearrangements of chairs and tables I introduced Oana and Olivier around, learned the technique Amy (American) used to paint German flag colors on her fingernails, and acquired a mass of beer. The beer garden was fairly full from people watching the latest World Cup game, but somehow most of the incoming Toytowners were able to find some sort of place to sit. I discussed with Roel possibilities for extended Dutch travel outside of Amsterdam and said hello Fraser, Olly, Patrick, Kerre and others as they arrived. It was quite a lot of fun and I had some pretty amusing chats with various folks both new and old, aided in part by the two masses I consumed. Casey, Aleks, Jennie, Morgan, and Morgan’s new friend Colleen showed up not too long before the beer garden closed. There was the usual debate about what to do, and the usual conclusion that we should all acquit ourselves to Die Bank. I originally was going to go home at this point because it was close to the last chance to catch a train and my fellow ESO workers didn’t want to stay later and make a cab more economical for me, but at the last second I decided that I am not here so long as to make staying up late a bad idea and, with a little help from Kerre, negotiated my way to Die Bank for further fun. I did my usual wanderings, talking to Jana, Amy, Kerre, Fraser and the rest. Jennie wandered off at some point and the rest of us stayed until about two. I left with Fraser and the girls, Fraser went home while Morgan and Colleen went to get some late night kebabs. I plopped myself in a cab and paid the exorbitant fee that got me back to Garching with only mild grumblings as I considered the night well worth the cost. My fatigue the next day at work made it a little harder to be enthusiastic but I’m still happy with the decision, especially as I could then take Friday night as an opportunity to relax at home and restrict making a fool of myself to online conversations.

The next day I awoke in the late morning and went out to lend Oana my Rick Steves guide to Germany as she had requested. I was happy to share Rick’s tips with her of course as I’ve always found them so helpful. When I got back Fraser suggested we meet up for a beer so I headed into town. Amusingly, when I got off the train. I found that Oana had been on the same one the whole time and we had just not noticed each other. I went up to Fraser’s apartment and the two of us headed off to find some outdoor place to sit and order a drink. Unfortunately the downside of having really nice weather for once was that everywhere was really crowded. We spent nearly an hour wandering the streets in search of refreshment until, in a decision born of frustration and growing thirst, we ended up at the brewery nearly across the street from Fraser’s place where he and Ross and Sorcha and I had once had a drink. Sven Jonas joined us not long after we sat down and ordered and the four of us drank a couple of beers each and discussed Hogan’s Heroes and German regional stereotypes and accents among other things. Not a bad way to spend Saturday afternoon. As the evening approached though, we finished up and I headed home to get ready for the night, and Barbara’s 22nd birthday party.

Taking the train yet again to Fraser’s I went up to his place and put together my intended offerings to the party (vodka and bitter lemon). Olly and Patrick also met up with us before heading over. Barbara lives way out in the middle of nowhere, at least as much as that’s possible in Munich, so we were going to have to take a bus rather than a train to get there. The train left from Marienplatz but we saw it pulling away as we were hurrying up to it. Rather than wait 20 minutes, we decided to run after it. It was mainly Olly motivating us as he sprinted after the bus like a dog in pursuit of a mailman in an old sitcom. The rest of us puffed after him as best we could and through some miracle we managed to get on at the next stop, just a few blocks down. Sweaty and panting we sat down, congratulating ourselves when our breath returned. The bus went on its way, including a strange experience with some sort of field trip. There must have been 20 kids, around age ten or so, on the bus with their teachers. Ten at night on a Saturday in Munich, I cannot imagine what the field trip was, but it did make for a pleasant diversion.

Once we got to the right stop we didn’t have much difficulty getting to Barbara’s apartment, where she, along with Casey, Jennie, Charne and her brother, and several Germans whom I instantly hated from the moment I heard their vuvuzela playing. The night was fun, if a lot more mellow than I expected. Activities ranged from hanging out on the balcony (a feature that Fraser expressed much envy for), playing drinking games like “never have I ever” and some number replacement game, and general chatting. There was even a cake and a singing of happy birthday, which was rather touching in its way (though apparently much later on after I was gone the cake got knocked to the ground). Never have I ever is a fun game though as drinking games go it’s rather slow, a feature that Patrick was particularly perplexed about. “In Ireland, game never comes up next to the word drinking,” he informed us all. He still found ways (as did we all) to drink quite a lot. The topics that came up in the game were as usual almost exclusively prurient (Charne’s brother looked first shocked then resigned with every drink she took) and it’s funny what stories people will cop to in this format when they would never say anything in a more normal conversation. Barbara’s ambidextrous technique, Charne’s more general manual dexterity, and Oliver’s repeated inquiries into other appetites made for much merriment, at least where I was sitting. Even outside the game there was plenty of good banter, from tales of Casey’s affairs in Paris to Jennie’s accurate and rather funny rants about certain nearby Teutons.

It was also a rather sad event for me though because it was the last time I will see Barbara for the foreseeable future. She left today for the Netherlands and won’t be back until after I leave, a little depressing especially when coupled with the more recent revelations that Jennie and Fraser will both be out of town (to Berlin and Florida respectively) this coming weekend and my nerves over the weekend’s party become understandable I think. Regardless, by about three in the morning I was running out of steam and with almost ludicrous speed I found myself in a cab with Fraser, Jennie and Casey, pulling away from Barbara’s. There were no trains for several hours and after Thursday I didn’t want to have to pay the high taxi fee again so Fraser was kind enough to let me sleep on his couch, just like the old days of six months ago. He, Jennie, and I waved as Casey went on in the cab and after help pulling out the couch, I quickly fell asleep on my soon to be no more weekend bed. I awoke around five due to strange noise. Still groggy, the best I could determine was that Sven, Jonas and some English-speaking girl I couldn’t identify had just come back. That might have been the end of it but whoever the girl was had apparently drunk quite a lot and she spent a good long while throwing up in the bathroom and making comments about dying and just living there forever, which combined with my own muzzy-headedness to give me fits of the giggles for a while and make sleep hard to reach again for awhile. Eventually things quieted down and I did fall asleep, sleeping in until ten in the morning, much later than I had originally planned. I made a quick farewell to Fraser and Jennie and tentative plans to meet up later, then got the train back.

Once again I wasn’t home long before making my way to Hirschgarten, the largest beer garden in Munich, and the world. I was wondering how we were all going to meet up, but conveniently everyone sort of ran into each other, first Charne and her brother, then Fraser, then Olly and Patrick along with Aisling and Kelly, two of his “Irish entourage” that I hadn’t seen in quite a while. A couple of Charne’s German friends came too. Unfortunately, the place was absolutely packed and there was nowhere to sit and barely anywahere to stand, at least without getting yelled at by people whose view we were blocking. Jamie (and his two visiting brothers) came and we ended up splitting up with Fraser and Jamie meeting up with Aleks, Jennie, Casey and Casey’s work friend to stand in a narrow corridor with a  good view of the screen with the England versus Germany game on it while the rest of us (including Oana later on) found a spot to stand that was a bit clearer, though with a view of the game that was adequate at best. Except for Olly and I, everyone was supporting Germany, which was nice for them as they proceeded to thrash England four to one, an honestly embarrassing showing for England, and one that left Olly wincing with every German cheer. And boy were the Germans excited.

The group came back together after the game and most of us went to get Chinese food downtown. Everywhere we went there were people celebrating the German win, carrying flags, painted in German colors, and I even saw many girls straight up wearing the flag as a dress. Dinner was pretty good and really cheap for the quality. After we ate, Charne, Jennie, Patrick, Olly, and a couple of the Germans walked up Leopoldstrasse where the police had closed off the street to cars and a big street party was getting into full swing. It was pretty cool to see even though I personally am not rooting for Germany, and frankly don’t care much who wins at all. By the time we walked to Munchner Freiheit I was exhausted though and more than ready to take the train home, getting ready for the next to last week at work.

This week will include a lot of packing and figuring out what to ship and what to take with me. The issue is mainly cost as it’s nearly 500 Euros to ship my big bag back to the States I may just carry it with me on my travels. Either way, plenty to look forward to this week. Fifteen days to go…

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Categories: Germany, Personal
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