Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Der Geburtstag von Gaby

[ Aunt Gaby's birthday ]

The weekend full of parties and fun events continued on to Monday evening which was the Birthday of my host Aunt Gaby - The sister of Angelika, and the aunt that surprised me with the German outfit for the Oktoberfest party! I had spent the first part of the day utilizing the only spare time that I had the entire weekend before Tuesday morning to get my luggage ready to be sent - with everything happening so fast, it was definitely a bit stressful and I had a lot of stuff on my mind.

Luckily I had Monday evening to unwind when the family all drove over to a nearby city to visit Gaby's open house birthday party that she says she does every year. It is actually a very cute idea, since in the late afternoon she had the living room set up with a great spread of coffee, tea and many different cakes, and a bunch of friends sitting around to gossip and laugh with.

As the evening progressed and the sun set, some friends left, others trickled in, a huge champagne bottle was popped, and the open house continued. Gaby had some candles lit which was accompanied by a great dinner - fancy food that she made including delicious beef stewed in a wine sauce and pumpkin soup, yet, in a casual serve yourself when you please style from the kitchen.

The conversations with her family and friends all around her - some arriving still even in the evening - had Gaby glowing the entire evening. Everyone's chatting became very rapid and with complex German [ Which scared me a little bit to be more independent in the 'real' world starting Wednesday with my life in Germany...], but as the night became very late, and everyone enjoyed wine with various cheese selections that Gaby prepared, it was just enjoyable to sit and absorb the happy environment. Sometimes I wish I could express this to the people around me, since I worry that it may look like I am a deer in the headlights clueless about the German spoken around me, but really, I am just taking-it-all-in, and soaking up this great family enviroment here in Germany.

I hope that Gaby had a great birthday, and I promised her that I would be returning later this year to visit the Weber's again. Monday ended very late into Tuesday only giving me a few hours to sleep before my last day of classes at the CDC truly marking the end of language school and my first phase of my year in Germany.

Ein Schlafzimmer im Untergeschoss

[ A bedroom in the basement ]

The sun is shining in now into my bedroom and the doors are wide open on both sides. The tables and crates of glasses are all being carried from the outside in, and at the same time I am tearing apart my room packing up for the next big move. It is one of those ‘empty’ feeling days. The big party is over, now on Monday it is just the remains of dirty dishes and remnants of a great Sunday party, and my bedroom feels quite empty with my shelves now bare, and the fall breeze coming through with the sliding doors dragged open.

I really wasn’t anticipating any of these feelings – as I had mentioned before, I hadn’t really even paid much mind to the first 2 month phase in Germany at all back in the states. I had read it off as an introductory period and the ‘real’ part of the year would begin in October with my University studies. How wrong I was. The past two months here with the Weber family have been absolutely incredible and the adventures, great stories, and great new family members and friendships that I have from the past two months were all refreshingly unexpected.

After all, I had failed to grasp the fact that the 2 month language school phase was just as long as my experiences in Japan and Finland where I created unforgettable moments in both places with great friends and families. In fact, my blog here in Germany has already surpassed the length of “My summer in Finland”, and that summer has a feeling of grand nostalgia whenever I look back at some photos.

My luggage is dense – how did I pack so much… ? – and I feel scatter-brained with everything in seemingly organized… yet unorganized piles – Shoot! My bus card is in my Jeans pocket somewhere in that suitcase!... - Essentially this packing is just as disorderly as my packing was for Japan and Finland – the move feels just the same as if I were going back to the states even if it is just a few hours up to northern Germany. On top of this, I must send my luggage to my next host city by a shipping service on Tuesday, a day before I actually leave, so it must be ready even more in advance. That means I have to organize some clothes to depart with - Do I have enough underwear if they lose my luggage?

[Departure ticket]

Yesterday at the Oktoberfest party, Angelika, blushed in the cheeks, and extremely festive in her emerald green Dirndl was giving me hugs and kisses all day. She would laugh with her friends how they wish they could steel me and keep me at their house – sometimes adopt , sometimes to keep me as their American slave - but really, I don’t think anyone really thought that this week was going to come this fast. Honestly the time has flown by. In Japan and Finland, with the mindframe of carpe-diem during my short summer, I relished in every moment I could. I am not saying that I am not seizing the moment here in Germany, but when your mind is on the big picture – an entire year – you lose focus of that fact that time is flying right by.

The past weekend has been filled with lots of hugs from everyone, and planning for the rest of the year. I have no idea what is in store for me with my university or my Praktikum internship later on, but the one thing that is a definite solid fact is that I always have a family that cares for me here in Saarbr├╝cken that I could knock on the door at any time and be immediately right back in the mix, including a bedroom in the basement.