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Auf Wiedersehn Munich

The last couple days in Munich were a paradox in emotion, both wonderful and sad, it lasted forever and took but a moment, I felt like I saw everybody yet missed so many more, I reminisced and I looked to the future, my heart ached with the thought of leaving and nearly burst with the joy of what I had accomplished. I was wrung out by the time my flight landed Sunday morning in Berlin.

My last day at work was naturally very quiet as I had already finished all of my assignments days earlier. I finished up a few last bits and pieces, made my goodbyes to my bosses and so on, and headed back to my apartment for more packing until it was time to go into town. I had arranged, informally and at the last minute, to do dinner and perhaps a drink with people but had no actual idea who would show up to the event. Jamie had told me about a place named Riva, with supposedly the best pizza in Munich. That sounded good to me so I made reservations and arrived a little before eight. On my way in, while standing in the crowded train, I heard my name called and looked up to see Sorcha standing there, apparently just getting off work and going into town with some colleagues. I told her my plans and she said to call her after dinner so she could meet up with us for a drink. Munich as a small town struck again.

I saw Colleen there just as I was walking up and together we got a table in the back of the restaurant and looked through the menu as Jamie, Jennie, and (much to my very pleased surprise) Luisa arrived. Jamie teased Colleen about the way the waiter flirted with her but she took it in stride, evidence perhaps of her acclimation to life in Munich. Amid discussion of everything from Colleen’s latest beer plans, Luisa’s explanation of German schools, and Jamie provoking Jennie, we got our food and while I don’t know about the best in town, I can say it was very tasty pizza (except Jennie’s which she didn’t like). Casey also arrived while we were eating and it turned into a very nice Friday night dinner.

When the meal was over I wanted to go to Hofbrauhaus to try and meet up with Noka to say goodbye. We went over and got a table but alas for some reason I couldn’t get Noka on the phone and thus couldn’t say goodbye which saddened me, though the site of several people getting tossed out of the beer hall for being too drunk to stand up cheered me up. Olly also came and met us there along with another friend of his visiting for the weekend. I was glad I had convinced Luisa to come out but she didn’t stay too long at the beer hall before heading home and making plans to meet for coffee the next day (plans that alas failed to materialize. The bar was closing so we left (Colleen took this opportunity to leave as well) and tried to figure out somewhere else to go. We tried to go to a bar with outdoor seating but couldn’t find one that was opens o ended up in Killian’s,  joined by Roel and Sorcha. I spent most of the time there reminiscing with Sorcha about all the good times and talking about how fast time had flown by and so on, which was wonderful even if it did bring a lump to my throat. We lasted until closing at Killian’s but once the bar cl9osed decided to call it a night. Once again I took a cab home but I didn’t mind so much this time as it would be my last cab ride in Munich and my last night in Garching and overall, well worth it, especially since this time there weren’t weird questions about my religion.

I woke up the next morning earlier than I had expected and immediately finished packing. No that’s a lie, I procrastinated like none other, calling people hanging out and so on until the temperature in my room reached oven levels, at which point I threw everything together, hoped like hell I hadn’t left anything important behind, and booked it out of there before the heat could do the work of a bottle of valium, a fifth of whiskey and an hour of listening to engineers describe their work (put me into a death-like sleep I mean). Stopping just long enough to pick up a few beers, I head to the English garden where I randomly bumped into Ida and her visiting sister on my way to meet up with Charne. I sat on the grass for a little bit with Charne, Roel and Laura (famed in song, story and my (non-public) blog for her antics and shenanigans but not written about much for a while). I provided the three of them with beer and fairly soon after we went over to join a veritable picnic with Ida and several others most of whom I didn’t know.

Prashant, Becky, Amy, Ali, Zainab, Sara and others joined us as we enjoyed the warm air and sunshine, and it was all very pleasant. Several people wanted to go swimming so we all went over to where the surfers on the Isar were and then a bit downstream a bunch of people jumped in and floated swiftly downstream. On the way there Roel, Amy, and Charne tried tightrope walking to mixed success and but much amusement. Apparently Charne even got carried away by accident. Prashant and Roel jumped right in, but Ali and Amy were very hesitant. I had Ali’s camera and was trying to take a video of them jumping in but had a lot of false starts thanks to their hesitancy. Laura and I were left standing on the bank and after getting lost a little bit, managed to get back to the group. I left briefly to say one last goodbye to Oana who was on her way back to Garching and came up with a  couple of astronomy jokes she could use in her upcoming big presentation. I only wish she had started working at ESO earlier, it would have made that time a lot more fun at work.

Once I came back again, many 0f the people I didn’t know had wandered off and there was a much smaller group sitting in the shady spot under the tree. Somehow the talk went onto topics like Laura’s “boyfriend” who apparently is not only attractive but a lot of fun yet she finds herself totally uninterested in him except as a friend and someone to lead on and cadge a bed from, much to his frustration. She and Ali and Becky and Zainab also launched into a long discussion of certain oral techniques (Zainab won’t do it, Ali insisted she has great technique, Amy discussed how bad technique could be used to avoid doing it in the future, and Laura complained about lack of reciprocity amongst Canadian fellows). Very funny stuff and even more so considering what I felt couldn’t be put in a public viewing area. Jennie arrived as well and several people went with her to go swimming one last time. When they returned the sun was beginning its slow descent and thoughts of elaving began to enter our heads. First though, Roel, Jennie, Charne and I went to go try and get food ending up at a place that had a menu with a  lot of food but was only actually making pizza. Not feeling like waiting, I wnt back to where everyone was packing up and we brought the other three their stuff, including what turned out to be someone else’s bag taken by accident but luckily quickly returned to them.

We all decided to go to Amy’s place to get pizza and watch a movie using a projector provide by Prashant. It was a fun train ride there (minus having all my bags with me) showing pictures of the day to people and listening to Laura and others sing songs they didn’t really know all the words to. After we dropped stuff off at Amy’s and got pizza around the corner we came back to find Kayla had come to watch the movie as well. Eventually the group picked Knocked up as the viewing choice, an excellent movie even if I think a lot of the humor (not the jokes just the general humor of bits) wouldn’t really make sense to a non-American (and in a few very specific cases, a non-Jewish American). I was having fun but I had promised others to meet up with them, so with much hugging and a slight pang of leaving, I said goodbye to all of them for the last time, shared one final spine-cracking hug with Amy, and went over to Sendlinger Tor.

At the station I met up with Eva and Mauritz. Mauritz was kind enough to let me leave my bags at his place (a relief since my shoulders were already aching) and then the three of us went off to Café Cord, a bar not too far away. It seemed a rather hip and trendy cocktail bar, the tables outside were even lit from underneath. We didn’t know how many people would be arriving so when Jamie and Patrick showed up we moved inside to a table and ordered drinks. I was hot so I went with a Planter’s Punch, a drink I very rarely imbibe but it felt right. Looking out the window I realized that Gemma, Katherine and others I didn’t know were sitting right outside, when the girls came in to use the bathroom I invited them to join us but they opted to stay outside because it was cooler. Jonas showed up as did Olly and his friend and I was quite pleased with how things were turning out. I mentioned to Olly that Katherine was outside though, and he and his friend disappeared to go say hi for rather a long time. It was alright though because no sooner had he gone than Sorcha (accompanied by Sebastian and another German) showed up, putting a genuine smile on my face. Apparently after meeting at my party the week before they had become buddies partially based on Sorcha’s ever-present wish to practice her German. It was also fun to introduce her to Patrick another (nearly) fluent German speaker from the Emerald Isle. Though I had hoped that others like Colleen and Morgan might have come, I was still pleased with this group for my last night, even as I fought against feeling sad that it really was my final hours in Munich. Sorcha told me how she  had met up with Sebastian at the nearby Cord Bar which was a bar/club with a similar name and they had already paid the cover charge so they were going back. Somehow they convinced me, Jamie, Olly and his friend and Katherine and her friends to go too. After my final (very difficult) goodbyes with Eva and Mauritz, we all headed over. I tried to get Patrick to come along too but he demurred claiming fatigue. The club almost didn’t let us all in (I think it was the whole too many guys issue) but eventually they relented and up a narrow staircase we went into a very loud bar/dancing area with a lot of interesting semi-hipster vibe. It was fun but by two I was yawning and by half-past I had to go. I wanted at least a little sleep before my flight at eight if possible. Jamie and Katherine were leaving too but somehow Jamie and I lost her and waited outside for a long time (watching the bouncers beat up someone while the police looked on while we waited) before seeing her and learning she had actually been waiting for us, a typical moment really. I said my actual final farewells and went back to the apartment with my bags, where I lay my head down for a couple of hours and then arose bleary-eyed to go to the airport and Munich, but that is another story.

The blog will shift now to my travels and per force mention much less the people, places and events that I have written about for the last six months. I’m so glad I wrote this blog, not so much for others but for myself as a record of what I did and who was around me if nothing else. I want to thank those who kept encouraging me to write more, especially early on like Kristyn with “what did you write about me now?” and Fraser’s “where’s my Monday entertainment?” which always kept me on my toes. Keep reading as I explore Berlin, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Britain and Ireland.

The only goodbye I can close with is the toast at the top of the page, read and enjoy and…see you soon.

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Categories: Germany, Personal
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