Oktoberfest & Munich/München

Hello again my lovelies!

Today is one of those great days where you feel so content.  After a prodigiously bad summer Hamburg has come through with a gloriously beautiful autumn.  Today was sunny and at least 25 degrees (celcius, duh), and the good weather is supposed to continue during the long weekend.  Monday is a holiday - something like the "Celebration of German Unity" - so we finally are having a long weekend.  To further sweeten the deal this afternoon is super quiet at work, so I figured rather than kill time on facebook I'd kill time catching up on my blogging: lucky you!

As you'll likely be aware, last weekend I went to Munich (known within Germany as "München") to experience Oktoberfest in true Bavarian style.  Things kicked off bright and early Saturday morning when I headed off to the train station to begin my six hour long ride.  The train was clean, fairly new, and comfortable.  My only real complaint regards how it is labeled.  The trouble is that each compartment is covered in numbers, and to the uninitiated it can be next to impossible to figure out what number refers to what (class versus compartment versus wagon versus seat).  On the line I was traveling with the train's designers had decided that the most important number to display was the "class" number, which appeared not only on the side of each compartment but also on the doors, where it could be very easily confused with the actual wagon number.  These were the hardest to figure out, partly because it would seem that there were two wagons per number and this number was not prominently displayed.  So, there were two "3" wagons, two "2" wagons, etcetera.  After significant bumbling around with my suitcase looking for the right seat I finally found it and got settled it.  I was extremely pleased to find an electrical outlet by each seat, so for much of the trip I entertained myself with movies.  The countryside in Germany is exceptionally beautiful, and luckily it was also a sunny day so this were looking especially picturesque.  The towns are all very similar: nestled in valleys or on hillsides, each is dominated by a large centrally-located church and surrounded by little white houses with red tile roofs.  From the train you could admire all the winding country roads, the meandering rivers and the sprawling farmland bordered by neat tree-lined lanes.

Most of the ride was quiet, though I noticed a neighbouring rider catch my eye several times.  Shortly after the seat beside me was vacated (we stopped many times over the course of the trip) he approached and asked whether a water bottle under the seat was mine.  I told him no, and then he started asking about my accent and where I was from.  I answered politely, and I suppose that was enough for him because he promptly collected his bag and sat down beside me, which I found highly amusing.  I don't recall his name, but I do remember he was almost seven feet tall (I'm serious! I asked and he said he was 6'9").

When we arrived in Munich I met up with my hosts and we parted ways.  I was staying with an old school friend of my aunt's who I had met in Hamburg earlier that week.  Her husband and son came to gather my luggage and then the son and I headed off to meet his friends at Oktoberfest.

I'll confess things got off to an unsteady start.  My host's son was quite young (17) and I wasn't sure how mature he or his friends would be.  When we got to the fest we didn't have reservations at a table and so that meant a lot of waiting in lines.  Not everyone was comfortable speaking English, and I figured it would be a little too patronizing to ask everyone how they were enjoying highschool and what kind of extracurriculars they engaged in.  Furthermore, I was shocked by the rampant and overt drug use that seemed to be occuring everywhere.  Call me a naive country girl but I wasn't expecting that.  I was, however, determined to enjoy myself so I decided to turn a blind eye to everything I didn't like and just enjoy it for what it was.

And it's a good thing I did!  Once we overcame initial language shyness my host and his friends turned out to be a friendly enough group who were easy to get along with.  While waiting for ticket business to get sorted we realized that I had become something of a stranger-magnet.  Maybe it was because I was still in casual clothes (everyone else was wearing a drindl or leiderhosen), or maybe it was my natural Canadian friendliness, but I made lots of friends.  First, it was a couple of mid-thirties Italian guys who were taking care of their too-drunk friend nearby.  One of them just sort of strolled over and started chatting me up (too bad he wasn't my type).  We chatted for a few minutes before I found an excuse to leave.  Shortly afterward I was approached by an American wearing some kind of sports jersey.  He happened to speak fluent German, and was so drunk he kept forgetting that I don't.  So, he would start a sentence in English and halfway through switch to German, at which point I would have to say "Ich spreche nicht Deutsches! Ich bin Kanadierin!"  Which is pretty much the only German I can speak.

Anyway, eventually he stumbled off and after what seemed like hours we made it on to the patio of the Fischer tent.  As we entered I was hailed by a group I can only assume were Eastern European (you come to recognize regions after long enough in Europe), and one member pointed to his friend going "Eh? Eh? Ja!"  His friend was gangly and supremely goofy looking so I just smiled, shook my head and moved on.  Once inside things were a lot of fun.  The benches were crammed with people and everyone was friendly and talkative, which is an environment in which I thrive.  The servers moved around with up to 4 or 5 litres of beer in each hand, just as you might imagine.  After a short time I wound up making friends with the gentleman seated behind me, who owned a gym in Munich.  Our table was also joined by a group of Poles, though I didn't get a chance to speak to them much. 

Just as a matter of interest I may as well tell you that the beer served at Oktoberfest is ONLY served by the litre.  Additionally, it has a higher alcohol content then you will find anywhere else, and so is especially deadly.  For this reason the tents close at 11:30 each night, though even before we had gotten in we saw at least three First Aid crews rushing off to deal with what could only be alcohol poisoning cases.

So, when 11:30 rolled around we stumbled our way home for a much-needed rest.

The next morning I was up surprisingly early and changed into the borrowed drindl I would wear that day.  It was a little loose but would get the job done.  Drindls are supposed to be worn very tightly, and the place you tie your apron bow communicates a message.  If you tie it at your left hip then it means you are single; if you tie it at your right hip then it means you are married; if you tie it at the back then (apparently) it means you are widowed, though apparently no one does this.  There is a huge variety of styles when it comes to drindls and liederhosen, which I found very exciting and fascinating.  the white undershirts can have long, short, or capped sleeves, often with lace or ribbon, sometimes puffed and gathered and sometimes tapered.  I was surprised to learn that the undershirts only extend to the bottom of your bust, which I gather is to avoid bunching beneath the very tight drindls and also to avoid excessive heat.  The collar selection is very broad, with the more traditional styles featuring an almost Elizabethan-style ruffle with a low-cut neck, and more modern styles that can button all the way to the neck but that are worn open.  Those are just two examples, and there are many many more.  The overskirts also come in many styles.  Some dip below to hit underneath the bust while others rise higher to hide most of the undershirt.  I wished I could've gotten more pictures because there were really so many beautiful dresses.  The liederhosen were just as elaborate.  The trousers were made of a soft embroidered suede, that could be worn with or without the suspenders.  The undershirts were just as varried as those worn with the drindls, and sometimes then men wore beautiful wool jackets as well.  These had such an interesting cut to them I would have murdered to get my hands on one, but unfortunately the opportunity never arose.  Quite a few of the men wore stockings or wooly socks as well, and I even saw two men sporting clogs as well.

Shortly before noon my host-family and I headed off once more to Oktoberfest, where this time we had tickets to the Ochs tent (ox tent).  When I say tent, however, you must imagine huuuuuge halls with white canvas ceilings, swathed with blue and white (the Bavarian colours) strips of silk like something out of a Medieval tournament.  Anyway, we settled ourselves at our table and then got to the serious business of eating and drinking.  If you've never tasted German food I feel the need to warn you it is overwhelmingly salty.  Whether in the North or the South they salt EVERYTHING, and enthusiastically so.  The servers were a truly impressive sight as they would carry table-sized trays with a dozen different meals stacked on them - often with large entrees such as an entire chicken!  There was a big bandstand in the middle of the tent, and the band would play all kinds of music regularly punctuated by drinking songs.  The absolute favourite went something like this:

Ein Prosit, ein Prosit,
der Gemütlichkeit
Ein Prosit, ein Prosit
der Gemütlichkeit

Then everyone would go "eins, swei, drei, suva!" and take a drink.  I'm not sure about the spelling of that last word, as the Germans pronounce "w" as "v", "v" as "f", "s" as "z", and other such nonsense.  It sounded like "zufa" so who the hell knows how it's spelled.  Also, in case you're curious the German word for "cheers" is "prost".

Anyway, the families stuck around for a few hours, but around five in the afternoon the parents and children headed off and once again I was entertained by the 17 year olds.  While on Saturday night we had meet up with some of my host's acquaintances on Sunday night two of his better friends came by, both of whom were friendly and easy to get along with.  We moved from our table on the balcony down to the thick of the action near the bandstand.  Here we joined a random Polish family and continued the serious business of drinking.

It was SO. MUCH. FUN.  Oktoberfest is everything you imagine it to be.  It is over a thousand people crammed into one tent all set on having fun.  Everyone is in a great mood, everyone sings and dances and it doesn't matter where you're from or whether you speak a different language.  As the afternoon wears on people climb up on top of the benches and the singing continues.  Strangers become friends and you simply soak up the festive atmosphere.

The Poles we were seated with were a pretty hilarious bunch.  The father was in a grand mood because he had just won a thousand euro on a football (soccer) bet, and he was there with his brother (?) and his daughters.  None of them spoke much English but through a mish-mash of French, German, and English we somehow were able to communicate.  Behind us sat a group of Italians, one of whom was impertinent enough to try and lift my skirt while I was standing on the bench.  As it so happened it was was the Munich folk call "Italian weekend".  "Italian weekend" is a particular weekend of Oktoberfest which the Italians have a kind of unspoken agreement that it is the weekend they will all attend.  As it was explained to me, "they have to do everything together."  True to their reputations they are a grabby bunch, which is made worse by crowds.  When you're walking around to have to be mindful to guard your chest or else they will take absolutely any opportunity to grope you.

Anyway, we stayed in the tent until closing, at which point we agreed it was time to enjoy the fair.  What I hadn't realized before coming to Munich was that Oktoberest isn't just the beer tents: it's also a big fun fair, with merry-go-rounds, ferris wheels, rollercoasters, etcetera.  During the day families and children the rides, but in the evening people leave the tents and enjoy the rides.  Contrary to what I expected, which was that going on a ride while drunk was a recipe for vomiting, in actual fact drinking just makes you bold enough to try the rides you would never attempt sober.  The end was result was that I had a huge amount of fun.

The next day I was up again early as I was dying to find a drindl of my own before leaving and I wanted to see just a bit of Munich before leaving.  I went down to Marienplatz, which is the central square of the Altstadt, and was able to complete my drindl mission quite quickly.  I wound up getting a very traditional one.  It hits just below the knee and comes up under the bust.  The dress is navy blue and white, with plaid on the skirt and a floral pattern on the bodice with a subtle plaid ruffle.  The bodice laces up corset-style in the front, and the apron is green and white in the same floral pattern as the bodice.  The white undershirt is a traditional style with puffed sleeves coming just above the elbow and a low ruffled neckline.  I am totally in love.

After finding my drindl I explored the exterior of the Neues Rathaus (I understand Munich has two Rathaus), a giant piece of Gothic architecture.  I got to see its giant dancing clock chime the hours, and then moved on to see the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), the final resting place of King Ludwig II.  Both of these (the church especially) were completely awe-inspiring and I wish I had planned a longer stay in the south - there was so much to see!  I should also add that all weekend the weather was beautiful - 26 degrees and not a cloud in sight.  Munich is so different from the North, both in culture and in appearance.  During Oktoberfest the city swells from its usual 1.2 million to close to 7 million inhabitants, which may have been a little deceptive culturally speaking.  However, southern Germans have a very particular look about them.  Many of them have deep brown tans and a sandy blondish hair that is a far cry from the fair-skinned residents of the North.  It wasn't easy coming back, I'll say that!  But come back I did, after an unforgettable weekend.

This week at work has been fairly quiet, with most of my attention being alotted to my travels rather than any particular project.  With only a few weeks left in my stay here my schedule is filling up fast.  This weekend I intend to absorb the last major sights of Hamburg (and hopefully get some rest).  Next weekend I'll be off visiting family in Lyon (to the South-East of central France), which will be followed by a very brief stay in Paris.  I'm hoping to visit the Musée du Louvre, and could hardly be more excited.  The weekend after that I will likely be headed off to visit Berlin, and the weekend following will be my trip to Dublin.  The next Monday (Halloween) will mark my return to Canada, though I may be making a detour to Toronto to investigate a career opportunity.

Speaking of work, today is my last day with the crew in Design.  On Tuesday I will be making my last (maybe) department change and moving to spend two weeks with the Online team.  I am a little nervous as I don't have much experience in this field, but it's an important part of this business and I'm glad I'll be getting to sample what goes on: the more I know the better.

I'll do my best to update (probably during the week after my weekend advertures) but it's going to be insanely busy so I'll make no promises.

With any luck the next time I write it'll be to say that I've met a prince in Paris and am engaged.  A girl can always dream.


Fast track to Type 2

... Diabetes, that is!

Hey kids, long time no posts - I know.  The reason I'm finally getting around to it now is because today's diet consisted mostly of coffee, diet coke, and chocolate, so I am super hyper.  Hence the diabetes remark.  Anyway, since it's been so long since I updated I'm going to have to attack this by topic rather than chronologically.  I guess if you don't give a shit about my career then it'll make it that much easier to skip the boring part and get to the gossip, but otherwise you're just going to have to put up with some minor jumps in the narrative.

Work:  Okay, so nearly a month ago I moved from the Advertising department to the Design department called Ligalux.  As it turns out Ligalux is waaaaaay more like what I've done before, so my transition has been really smooth.  We mostly deal with logos, brochures, and, well, design.  I wish I could explain better what "design" is, but you kind of have to do it to know it.  A further improvement is that while in Creative we worked predominantly with Photoshop but in Ligalux we are more reliant upon InDesign and Illustrator, which are old friends of mine.  Yessssssss.  Work continues to be impressively fun as most of my days are spent enjoying my favourite music while doing some glorified doodles.  Doing layouts is less familiar to me, but creating logos is a really enjoyable challenge so they balance out nicely.  This week I've been working on creating gift cards, and I have an idea I'm pretty excited about - let's hope it gets picked up by the client!

As for the people they're all pretty nice, but I haven't gotten to know them as well as I got to know the Advertising guys.  I think part of it is because I actually know what I'm doing now and so I rarely have to ask for help.  Also, while we get together for lunch fairly often we don't do it every day so I have had fewer opportunities to get to know them.  On top of that Ligalux has a wider age range and the employees are more into doing their own thing, and finally I'll be with Ligalux for several weeks less than I spent in Advertising.  Ohhhh well.  I've stayed in touch well with the Advertising crew though, who as per usual are a pretty hilarious bunch.

Having said that, let's move on to my social life....

Adventures:  Alright, so I suppose it's time to think waaaayyyyy back.  Last time I updated was after Düsseldorf, so we'll start with the following weekend.

For many years now I've nurtured a love of Classical music and opera.  I'm familiar with Puccini (who doesn't love La Boheme?), but it actually wasn't until I saw 2009's Quantum of Solace that I looked into Tosca.  Though the music played for only a short scene I was instantly hooked, and swore that if I ever got to Europe I would see Tosca live in Germany.  I am happy to say that after checking out the Hamburg Opera's Autumn lineup Tosca was set to start September 4, so I bought a ticket and waited impatiently for the day to roll around.

Things got off to a bit of an imperfect start.  I wasn't thrilled to be going solo, so waiting for the performance to start and during the intermission I was a little bored, lonely, and depressed.  Also, the theatre itself is a relic of the '80s, possibly my least favourite era of architecture.  The libretto (a translation of what performers are singing that appears at the top of the curtain during the show) was in German, so I couldn't understand it.  Luckily the program included a short English plot-summary so I wasn't completely lost.  Finally, apparently not even Europeans know how to dress properly for the opera.  To add some context, this was a Sunday show and the first showing of Tosca this season.  And yet, there were still waaaaaaaaaaaaay too many people in casual clothes and even jeans.  If you are into opera enough to be attending Tosca on a Sunday then you should know better than to show up wearing that.  And no, I don't care how elitist that sounds, it's just proper etiquette!

However, all these things ceased to matter as soon as the show started.  Opera in any setting is moving, but opera performed live is totally overwhelming.  You get swallowed up my music, and I found again and again I would get goosebumps and chills during my favourite sequences (notably "Tre sbirri... Una carrozza", "Vissi D'arte", and the piece before/after the murder [I don't recall the title of that part just now]).  It feels as though all of a sudden you have muscles in your ears you never noticed and they're all flexed at once.  That description sounds uncomfortable but I assure you it's completely exhilarating.  I didn't cry, but it took a decent amount of effort not to, which I consider a good measure of how good the performance was.

The following weekend wound up being a busier one.  On Friday night some of the ladies from work (the secretary and one of the girls from Accounts) invited me out to Terrace Hill again for a Rockstar themed club night.  After work I wound up having drinks and playing darts with the Advertising guys.  It seems my darts skills have improved drastically since arriving - after two months here I finally won my first game!  We had a really good time but eventually I had to home so I could get ready for the night.  Unfortunately the rest of the evening wasn't as totally awesome as the start.  It wound up being one of those nights where you spend all your time waiting in lineups: waiting to get into the club; waiting to check your coat; waiting to get a drink; waiting to get your coat again.  The crowd at the club were a little on the obnoxious side, and unfortunately none of my group seemed very into the scene.  I spent most of my time on the outdoor terrace enjoying the view of Hamburg and the fresh air.  I won't lie, it was a little depressing though, and I was missing home a lot and mostly brooding about the language for the millionth time.  For all the complaining I do you'd think I'd get around to doing something about it but German is NOT an easy language.

Anyway, the next day was pretty fun.  I went boots hunting for the eighth (?) week in a row.  I only brought ballet flats, sandals, and high heels to Europe because boots are bulky to pack and I thought I'd find something I liked here easily enough.  Not so.  I'm pretty picky, and everything here was all wrong: the toe was the wrong shape; they didn't hit at the right place on the leg; the sole was awkwardly cut; the fit in the calf was wrong; they had weird buckles or accessories.  The list goes on... At the start of September I had found ONE pair that I liked, the perfect pair.... but they also happened to be wildly expensive.  I decided to keep looking, but after checking high-end, low-end, and mid-range stores I still found nothing I remotely liked except for the one amazing pair.  Anyway, I concluded that after having searched all of Hamburg and a good part of Düsseldorf I wasn't going to find anything so I caved and got the pricey ones.  Sigh.  Anyway, in case you're wondering they're exceptionally simple: black, just below the knee, with a loose fit to the calf and no tapering at the ankle (ew).  They have an almond toe and no adornments whatsoever.  You'd think that these would be easy to find anywhere but apparently not.  But enough about shoes.

After a supremely self-indulgent day (much of which I spent hanging out at the canal next to the Alsterarkaden, a very beautiful area) I was just stopping for coffee when something caught my eye.  There's an open area in a place called the Gänsemarkt where vendors often set up on weekends or brands hold promotions.  Just as I was sitting down I noticed a group of 15 or so people all dressed in white shirts and black trousers.  One woman was dressed as Marilyn Monroe in a white dress with blond curls and red lipstick, and two gentlemen were wearing no shirts but little white collars, bow-ties and fedoras.  I was very curious so I went over and asked what they were selling.  As it turned out it was white-dress-woman's bachelorette party and they were all out celebrating.  They were a very friendly bunch (unusual in Germany) and so I wound up getting pictures with the two guys and a couple of the whole group.  In retrospect I wish I had chatted them up more - opportunities for meeting people here are so few and these guys were very receptive (haha) and friendly to boot.  But I didn't want to bother them and had plans to get to anyway, so off I went.  That evening I had plans to meet up with my Advertising crew in an area near where I live called the Shanze.

At the appointed hour I headed out, but everyone seemed to be on their own timeline as it took a while for us to all get together.  The evening was a little more on the mellow side, which I didn't mind.  We were at the same bar we went to waaaaay back when I first arrived, the one we like to call Sofa Bar but has some other name.  Anyway, it was a crowded night so we wound up sitting with two strangers, one of whom was exceptionally handsome and who made eye contact right away.  He was typically German looking, with good bone structure, blonde hair, blue eyes and an athletic build.  I was just plotting how I was going to strike up a conversation with this conveniently close hottie when our group swelled, and to my great dismay the two who we had joined wound up leaving.  Just my luck.  I spent the rest of the evening having forced conversation with a friend of my coworker, brooding about how I would much rather be chatting up a different guy and could have been had I not been such a coward.  I left earlyish (around 1am) and spent the rest of the weekend beating myself up for missing two great opportunities to meet people.

Which brings us to this weekend.  A friend of mine from University is spending a semester in Mannheim, and to my surprise he got himself together and visited this weekend.  When he arrived on Friday we spent the evening catching up and then getting to bed early in preparation for a loaded day on Saturday.

On Saturday we started things off by taking a free walking tour (Sandeman's New Europe tour, in case you're wondering).  One thing I found totally bizarre was that one gentleman on the tour (a German) wore no shoes.  At all.  For the whole time.  I began to think of him as the "shoeless wonder", as he would walk down the cobbled streets (broken glass everywhere) without batting an eyelash.  I wondered if he was allowed in stores like that - "no shoes, no shirt, no service".... right?  Anyway, I never did find out what his deal was, but it wasn't high on my agenda.

We went around to at least four or five different churches, each of which was interesting in its own way.  One was set at the highest point in all of Hamburg (a tiny hill to my Western Canadian eyes), another held what was once the world's largest organ.  Johann Sebastian Bach had wanted to work there, but they had rejected his request as this was prior to his major successes.  Later Napoleon used the same church as a munitions storehouse when he occupied Hamburg.  We then moved on to see several of Germany's famous "contour houses" (it might be "kontur haus", I'm not sure).  These are basically just interestingly designed old buildings.  We saw Chilehaus, Afrikahaus, and we saw the building where Zyklon B gas was manufactured during the second World War.  We went to St. Nikolai church, of which only burnt bricks and a single tall tower remain.  We went right up to the top, which had a great view of the city.  It felt like at any moment Nosferatu could walk out behind a pillar, which was pretty fun.  After a coffee break the group headed on over to Hafen City, which is down by the docks of the Elbe.  It's Hamburg's major industrial/storehouse area and quite the sight.  We saw the new building for the Hamburg Philharmonic, which will have cost close to half a billion dollars by the time it's complete.  We also visited the Dutch portion of Hamburg - the oldest part of the city - and also where the great fire of the 19th century started, which destroyed much of the city.  We walked along cobblestones that had been there for nearly a thousand years, which was pretty damn cool.

Once the tour was over my friend and I went to the Hamburg Dungeon, which is a really elaborate haunted house type thing.  Basically you move through something very similar to a haunted house, but you'll be stopped in various rooms by people in costume who will tell you the darker parts of the city's history.  Unfortunately it was all in German, so I didn't understand any of it but it was still really cool.  Toward the end you go on a boat ride and then to a ride where you're raised up and then dropped without warning - you'll be familiar with these rides from any amusement park.

By the time we left the Dungeon it was closing in on evening, so we trekked back to my apartment to eat, rest, and get ready for a night on the town.  The same group that organized the walking tour also does a pub crawl in the Reeperbahn, Europe's largest red light district.  After such a long day I wasn't sure I was all that ready for a night out as well, but I didn't want to pass up a good opportunity so off we went.

We met up with the group at a 99 Cent bar, where - you guessed it - everything was 99 cents.  The others on the tour were two Australian guys, two Brazilian guys, an American man, a Bulgarian guy, two German girls, and I don't recall who else.  My friend and I immediately got along with the Australians, and throughout the night there were many toasts to "The Commonwealth!"  It wound up being a spectacularly fun time.  One of the earlier stops was to a bar with live music playing the likes of ACDC and typical American rock, so we got our dance on and had a glorious time.  I asked the Aussis about amusing local sayings, and my stand-out favourite is "we're not here to fuck spiders".  It basically means let's do what we've got to do.  On the whole it was pretty perfect, though my guest managed to (unknowingly) proposition a prostitute and then get on the wrong side of her pimp, which is the type of thing that would only happen to him.

In a disappointing conclusion both the Aussis were leaving Hamburg the next day to continue on a Contiki tour.  I begin to suspect that Europe is conspiring to ensure I have no lasting friendships... ever.  Anyway, we spent all of Sunday recovering, and yesterday it was back to work as usual.

Travels: Yesterday evening an old friend of my aunt's was in Hamburg, so we arranged to meet up for dinner.  Luckily we got along well, so this weekend I'll be visiting her family in Munich and attending Oktoberfest, drindl and all.  I'll be departing Saturday and returning Monday, and I'll be using the train for the first time since getting to Europe.

I've also just made plans to visit my extended family in Lyon (France) during the second weekend of October, which I'm very excited for, especially since I can actually speak functional French.

Perhaps what I'm most excited for though is Ireland.  I've finally thrown caution to the wind and will book flights tomorrow to go during my last weekend in Europe.  I've had a mysterious but nonetheless powerful attraction to Ireland since I was about 16, so I am beyond excited to fulfill a dream I've had for the last six years.  Hopefully I'll be seeing one of the Irish guys I met in Düsseldorf, providing he's not too busy with school.  But regardless I think it'll be pretty amazing.  Then, before I know it, it'll be back to Canada.

My initial plan had been to return straight to BC, but I'm now contemplating a stop off in Toronto.  There's a job opportunity I'm very interested in (more on that later), and I'm also dying to see my family, who I haven't visited in nearly five years.  Tooooo long.

Romance: Ugh.  I feel like that pretty much sums it up.

Things had briefly looked up with my Düsseldorf fling.  We connected via facebook (of course), and not long after my visit he and his girlfriend split up, which was wayyyyy more than I had expected out of that.  Unfortunately since then things have hit a serious lull, and I'm fairly certain the end of things has come and gone.  He returns to school soon, and I have no idea whether he'll be visiting Hamburg.  Even if he does my schedule is now so packed I doubt we'll be in the same place at the same time.  I guess it wasn't "meant to be", but that hardly makes me feel any better.

Apparently my life's narrative has turned into a broken record though.  I don't know how well you read between the lines but you may have inferred that I was leaving some details out of this past weekend's pub crawl.  I got along especially well with one of the Australian guys, who of course had the cute accent (I'm a terrible sucker for accents), the blonde hair, the tan, and - what do you know? - a girlfriend.  Not that that stopped a dance floor make-out session from taking place.  Seriously though, WHAT THE FUCK?! Why does EVERY guy I meet have a girlfriend?  And why hasn't that stopped me recently???  Before I got to Europe I had never cheated on a boyfriend and I had never been involved with a guy who had a girlfriend.  But all of a sudden I get here and manage to have this happen twice in what? three weeks time?  I mean on the one hand I'd like to think that I'm not the one in the relationship and therefore it's not my responsibility to ensure these guys are faithful (also, in both instances it was only kissing), but then again once upon a time I had a lot more compassion for these guys' girlfriends.  For some reason that has recently totally evaporated and been replaced with a complete lack of remorse.  'Bye moral compass, it was nice knowing you.

Once again I find myself irritated that I've met someone interesting and fun who I have great chemistry with but zero future.  I suppose it's ridiculous to expect any kind of future seeing as I'm leaving the continent in just over a month, but human beings are so irrational.

Alright, I've been writing for close to three hours now, and I think this update is officially long enough.  Bravo if you made it to the end all in one go.



Okay, it's late and I have a packed day tomorrow, but I couldn't resist throwing this up.  I recently watched The Lincoln Lawyer, which was an alright film with a very well-chosen soundtrack.  Included on the list was this track, Nightcall, by Kavinsky featuring Lovefoxxx.  I haven't heard of either before, but you can believe I'll be doing some investigating promptly.  This just so happens to be the perfect track to make my Friday flash by and to pump me up for Friday night.  Too good.

Also, how rad is this album cover?

Secondly, the New Division has been on my radar for a while, but I just recently came across Saturday Night, an intoxicatingly mixed beat that will get you dancing no matter what.  With that, I'll leave you to the music and simply say have a great weekend!