I figured since I wrote such a long coffee talk last time that I’d give you all a few weeks to take it in. Seems like maybe instead it put you to sleep. No matter, it is cathartic to me.
I am writing you this lovely Monday in Germany from the comfort of my new giant red velvet couch. It is over 8 ft long and big and squishy. It wasn’t suppose to arrive until the third week in Nov, because it is made in Italy and they were on holiday for August which meant there was a backlog, but somehow, here it is. I am so happy. It is wonderful. When I go back to school, if Patrick and I are living in different cities, I get the couch and the bed.
Anyhow, the reason for my absence is that I was in Paris the last two weekends. Two weekends ago I decided at 2 pm on Friday that I was going to Paris. This is a relatively simple decision to make since I know there is a night train at 11:47 from Stuttgart and I can just hop on the internet to find a hotel room. So after a very long week at work, with many difficult issues in testing, off I went. Didn’t have a reservation for a Couchette since you can’t get seat reservations that same day (be warned!) but ended up finding an empty one. Another gentleman, whom I would later find out was named Uli, shared the cabin with me. There are 6 bunks but no one else showed up. We got all the way to Strasbourg before anyone even came to see about our tickets! Anyhow, Uli and I had a fascinating conversation about life and being a foreigner. He has lived in France for 12 years but was born and raised in Stuttgart (thus the very German name Uli). We talked about how people treat you differently, how you can get away with things locals can’t, discriminations and dating. Not that I do, nor will, but I think it would be really hard to date someone that doesn’t share your native language. How do you really express yourself? I mean, it seems, as an American, where we all speak English, sort of, that we all understand the language in the same way. This isn’t completely true but mostly. More so than how a German and an American speak English. Anyhow, Uli has a French girlfriend and has for a very long time. Of course after 12 years of being immersed in a culture you probably take a lot of it on, but at the beginning at least, wouldn’t it be nearly impossible to express yourself and be understood properly? Seems like all early relationships would be doomed to fail simply because you couldn’t really understand each other. We talked about nationalism and pondered why people beat each other up over Football (soccer to the American readers). It was really cool. Then on Sunday morning when I was switching stuff into my new cool handbag I happened to look at my train ticket. The train conductor gave me Uli’s ticket and him mine. His was one way from Karlsruhe. Bad. Luckily I had his card. I waited until a reasonable hour and gave him a ring. We met at his office, traded tickets and had a cup of coffee around the corner. It was really cool to met someone very open and thoughtful such as himself. Turns out he knows Eugenio at Puento Fizzo across the street. Next time he is in town we will have dinner there!
Then on Sunday night I met Derek. He is the night clerk at the hotel where I stayed. My night train left at 22:58 so I didn’t have much to do. We talked about meeting famous people (not interesting) and nightmare vacations (the airlines lost his luggage AND his place had been robbed of everything!). He is just one of those people that gets along with everyone and has a story to tell. He speaks 6 languages but can’t sing. He always wanted to sing, but like he said, you appreciate the gifts you get. Currently his is single because he had his heart broken back in the UK. He is a wonderful guy though. So if you are single and in Paris, go to the Albert Premier (Best Western Albert 1st) on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night and you will be sure to catch him.
So I went to Paris weekend before last alone because I just needed to get away. It is both a joy and a bear that Patrick and I work in the same department at the same company. We help each other with work stuff and can relate to each other frustrations, but sometimes it just is too much. Solitude is nice, now and again. I use to be afraid to be alone, but now, it is great, when I choose it. Anyhow, I had planned to get into my head by getting out of my daily grind and try to find myself. Mostly I shopped, met cool people and accidentally slept 14 hours (meant to take a nap, woke up the next day). It was all exactly what I needed though. Of course within moments of arriving at the office, the joy was gone but imagine how I would have been had I not gone?
This last Thursday was either Reunification Day or The Day the Wall Fell Day (I can’t quite get a straight answer) so we took Friday off and got the heck out of Germany! We tried to go to Amsterdam but our ‘friend’ Stefan was too busy with the Morrissey concert in Paris earlier in the week to have us, so we hit Paris. And Paris hit back. The weather was great, the hotel was right next to the Eiffel tower (though the beds were really uncomfortable, that is the thing about Rick Steves hotels, the man must have an iron back) and Paris is just nice. But we made the mistake of having Bacon Cheese Burgers on Friday for lunch. Patrick got sick almost instantly. Mine snuck up slower and I am still ill. They were really good burgers though. So we took an early train home (an adventure in itself without a reservation) and now I am semi-permanently attached to my giant red velvet couch, GRVC for short! (only semi because I have laundry to do).
Oh, the one really interesting thing that we did in Paris was buy a dresser’s mannequin. I have always wanted one, so that I could hang my clothing on it and see what certain things look like together. I named her Suzette, as that sounded French. Got lots of strange looks carrying it around. People thought I was in fashion, I think I’m just odd. It is really cool though. You may only see new outfits on her now instead of me though. So much easier and she doesn’t look fat or stiff (heehee) in pictures, like I feel I do sometimes.
Nothing much else. Nothing real inspiring has hit me lately since I have been focusing on testing so much. This is the problem with being a workaholic, no time for inspiration, at least not for me. I’ll try to be more inspiring next week.