Sunday, January 17, 2010

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück

[ Wishes of luck for your birthday! ]

The past few days have been a bit of a challenge to get back into the mode of studying, homework, going to classes and being mentally prepared to sit through a lecture in German. The blog posts have been coming slowly, but there has been plenty going on - great experiences returning home to Göttingen and hearing how the holidays were for many friends, capturing some of the differences that I have noticed as the University environment has become a bit more stressful with tests and final projects around the corner, as well as other surprises that I still find everyday unsuspecting because "Germany just doesn't feel THAT foreign anymore", until something catches me off guard.

Amongst the regimented days where I have gotten back into the flow of school life, it now feels like weeks have passed since the holidays and my birthday. The other day I got a text message for some regular plans to go out with friends for the Friday evening - meet up before at the student dorms and then later to a club or other get together.

I arrived and met a few of my friends, some I hadn't seen yet since the new year and greeted them accordingly [ It has been a joke in Germany, since everyone says "Frohes Neues Jahr" upon the first meeting of the new year - the question from the Germans is, when do we stop? It is almost 3 weeks into January now...] From there we waited since four of our friends [note that they all come from Spain ]were running late... first, not pünktlich German, next, not American fashionably late... after a while, it wasn't even "Typically Spanish". 45 minutes was just late... so we were laughing about the fact that our friends were consistent with their stereotypes in that aspect so we decided to walk to the floor kitchen and wait there -

Walk through the door

Zum Geburtstag viel Glück! Zum Geburtstag viel Glück! ...
[to the tune of Happy Birthday ]

There was a whole table of appetizers, sparklers going off, and fresh tortellini and sauce [brought by Alessio from Italy!] heating up on the stove. I was honestly really surprised. Remember 'Uberraschung Chris'? The set up was for Brandan and myself since we shared January birthdays, and my friends completed the evening with a gift from everyone, a personalized music mix playing in the background, candles, more singing in German, and cake. It was really great!

I have heard from some people that in Germany, it is very common to host your own party, or buy your own cake, and I was actually planning to do something later in the month when everyone was back in town and had a free weekend evening, but my friends beat me too it, and the surprise was excellent.

It was the perfect kick off to the weekend and a fun evening out. Germany has become very cold recently, but having friends to look forward to seeing makes the walks bundled in gloves and scarves through the city completely worth it. The rest of the weekend was filled with other visits here and there, with some studying in between. I don't have too much time now, since this week I will be traveling to Cologne for the InWEnt mid-year seminar. I am looking forward to seeing another new city and we will see how the internet access is at the hostel - if it doesn't work too well, the posts will be written and be posted next weekend!

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