Au Pairing, Germany
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My Apologies! I Know I’ve Been AWOL Lately

 I was too exhausted to even try to order food in German and just sat at a table and tried to stay awake long enough for my food to arrive. Best doener of my life. I probably ended up spilling ¼ of it and made a terrible mess, rather fitting for the hot mess I had become.

I know, I know, I know!  I’ve been totally AWOL in the last little while.  For about a week and a half I sincerely did not have much to write about or was just lacking inspiration.  Plus, the weather was grey and depressing, sigh. And then things got

Can You Spot Rent-a-Friend? 5:00am

a little busy and then well…this weekend “happened.”  Quotations are denoting the magnitude of my ‘night’ in HanGover. Good lord.

I’ve run into quite the posse of fantastic people in Hanover.  Networking through facebook, ex-patriot social sites, friends of friends, we have created quite the conglomerate of international young adults. Most of us girls are au pairs, with the exception being Lorna, now an ex-au-pair but dating a great German guy and has since decided to take up residency in Hanover. And so it is through him and his friends (affectionately referenced to as Malte & Co.) that half of our group is composed of locals.

So I headed into Hanover on Saturday evening and met first with Phoebe, the Australian au pair. The weather was smoking hot (well to this Canadian at least, everyone else is from Texas, South Africa and Melbourne so it’s not so warm to them) so we caught up at a Biergarten and then had eats at a local watering hole in her neighborhood.  Knowing that this was most likely the last opportunity to fill up before what was about to be a long night I enthusiastically chose a pretzel and potato salad with a skewer of barbecued pork.  Half of the fun of ordering food in German is that the menus are full of special dishes and such, so you’re never really sure of what you’re getting. “What did you order?”

“Oh, aldkjfalfj.”

“Is that chicken or pork?”

“Couldn’t tell you.”

From there we hopped onto a tram, headed back downtown and had a coffee while waiting for Lorna. (Nine times out of ten if you run into an ex-patriot, they were visiting, fell in love and ended up living in Germany, or whatever country. I’ve often heard similar stories from others and I’ve informed Phoebe that she’s definitely going to end up here forever if she goes looking for a German boyfriend. I kid, kinda.)  Coffee was a critical component given the night ahead. Lorna picked us up, introduced us to Ana, from Texas, who is now replacing her as the au pair now that Lorna’s contract has expired. We zipped to the flat that she shares with Malte and commenced the pre-drink. Throughout the next couple of hours we lounged on the balcony, chatting, making introductions with the new arrivals and such. By the way, if you’re a Canadian, partying at home (i.e. Canada) you’ve no doubt at some point gone into the fridge and discovered that the 10 beer you brought, has somehow evaporated into 4, and you’re only on #3.  You look around suspiciously for the perpetrator drinking your booze. How embarrassing is it to accuse someone of taking your drinks though?  The Germans have circumvented this phenomenon and to be quite frank, German etiquette trumps.  It is BYOB in the sense that you’re to bring some bevies to the party, but once you’ve submitted them to the fridge, they’re free game. You simply can not be shy about fetching another drink…or else you are likely to go thirsty. Poor Ana sat for quite a while with an empty glass (it was technically only her 2nd day in Germany) before I had to convince her that,  “Nooo, no,no. Really, it’s different here. You’re not stealing, it’s totally cultural.”  Lemon beer, white wine spritzers, ‘Buffalo Grass’ wodka and Proseco. 1:00am, TAXI!  So we all filed downstairs in to the street and hopped in 3 taxis. By this time there were about 12+ of us. Fantastic! We took a couple ‘roadies’ for the way, as you can drink anywhere (read: taxi, streets, between bars) here. I had dumped some white wine in a water bottle for the ride, which seemed natural to me being Canadian and all. Flo says to me, “Why the hell did you put it in a water bottle?” 

“So I could take it with me.” 

“Why didn’t you just bring it in the bottle?”

“Oh…right. Hah! God, you must think I’m strange!”

“Ya, a little bit!”

I’d affix some links into this next paragraph to provide visuals, but to be honest, I don’t remember many of the names of the places we went… The first lounge we crashed was a rooftop bar. It was so dope! It was huge and so chic. There were walk ways outlining the different seating areas, sectional couches, tents, bars, palm trees, torches, sand -it was all sand. So cool!  We had a couple drinks here and then migrated.  We had to send poor Anna back to the flat as she was pretty sleepy from arriving. We bounced to a little underground place called Wochenende and danced for quite a while. Someone ordered an entire bottle of Proseco which floated among us. Germany rocks –there’s no way that would fly at home! Not a chance. So as the night elapsed our group got smaller. We wandered to another club, and then shortly to another. We were in the small courtyard of a bar when the night broke into dawn.  I had noticed a very tanned man who had to be in his early 40’s. He reminded me of a washed-up Daniel Craig who could have quite easily been from Eastern Europe (read: I’m not saying he was attractive. Nothing against the Balkins.) He loitered around our group and I think eventually started talking to Flo. Later that day we were sitting on the balcony and I turn to Phoebe, “Who was that old guy at the last barW? Did anyone know him?” Her: “OMG, yes! I remember just looking at him and being like, “Who the [expletive] are you??” But he was buying beers for all of us hey?” Me: “Whhhat?!” Ph: “God, so strange, it’s like rent-a-friend you know?” Bahaha.

God, beers were flowing all night, Lorna said at one time she had three…I  remember putting half finished beers on tables because the boys were handing us new , cold ones.  So after the sun started to reveal the terrible night-monsters we were and dancing and singing because too self-conscious, it was definitely time to eat something. Sooo, we left the bar and promptly stumbled upon a doener (gyro) place. I was too exhausted to even try to order food in German and just sat at a table and tried to stay awake long enough for my food to arrive. Best doener of my life. I probably ended up spilling ¼ of it and made a terrible mess, rather fitting for the hot mess I had become.  We sat outside in the bright sunlight, eating, people watching and laughing at Malte, who had fallen asleep sitting at the table. Lorna (in her South African accent): “Oh Good Lord, this is so embarrassing! Wake up Malte. Oh god, how hectic. This is going to be quite the mission!”

And then the most delightful moment happened. I had been sitting across from Flo, inhaling my doener and looked up to see Phoebe conversing with a German lad.  Flo also sees this and starts to give the poor guy a hard time in English. “Hey, you! What are you doing? You leave her alone hey? She’s not interested. Walk along. You’re hitting on her? Ya? You’re hitting on her.” This guy just looks at Flo and is mortified. “I did not hit her! I did NOT hit her!” Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh funny! And all the while, Phoebe is giving Flo the ‘well-thanks-for-nothing-Flo-this-guy-is-kinda-cute-you-know-shut-up-anytime-soon-thanks’ look.  Apparently the guy just went up to her and asked how much her doener was.  Awesome. So funny.  So we woke Malte up, taxied back to the flat and were thrilled to find that Anna had found the correct apartment and even woke up to ring us in.

Six hours of sleep later we peeled ourselves off the couch (and floor), drank a load of water and coffee, and of course, some McDonalds.  Then we went to a lovely little lake and lay in the sun in a hung-over bliss. Surprisingly I didn’t feel too awful. Just bagged to hell. To say the least, I got a really good sleep last night.

I had such an amazing night. So many great memories, hilarious moments, cool clubs, flowing drinks, horrible pictures as documentation, bruises and a ton of good people! The longer I’m here, the better and better this place becomes! 🙂

I’m off to Paris on Friday. Very much looking forward to it, even though I feel I’m still licking my wounds. There are so many other plans in the works, so little time and money it seems! But this is indeed a very good thing!


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