Now understandably there is room for some presupposition that based on the title of my blog the content likely is to include some deep, philosophical journey where I turn some obstacle into a blessing and embrace life with a renewed vigor and reverence no matter what the outcome. Well it’s not. Not exactly anyway. This ‘C’est la vie’ is more of the “Say you will say you won’t, say you’ll do what I don’t, say you’re true, say to me…” kind of C’est la vie. The kind sung by four identical (with the exception of the blonde) Irish girls in the early noughties. This is a recap of my visit to a little town called Münster* in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
Why Münster Tammy? What is this place? Well Münster is in fact Livs current abode (for any new players -Liv is one of my best friends, for everyone else you’ll remember Liv and I parted ways in a heap of brown skin and teary hugs at Athens Airport after the summer).
Now Olivia (central player in the blog) just so happens to celebrate her birthday in January, in fact she planned on celebrating her birthday the very same weekend I would make my journey to the land of bread and cheese. After a few strategically placed, ‘really sorry I can’t make it’ emails, I’d managed to successfully convince her I was regretfully not going to be able to make the journey. Queue my love for a good ‘turning up announced on ones doorstep in a foreign country’, I booked my ticket. Stealth like, 007 style.
So on Friday afternoon a couple of weeks ago I left work early and headed to the airport for my 1 hour 45 minute flight to Dusseldorf and 90 minute train to Münster. Anki, Liv’s roommate (the Moneypenny of the story) and I colluded and arranged for me to meet Liv at her Friday night drinks at the local. Typical Aquarian that she is, not much gets passed Liv usually, but this time she was caught completely unaware. Unassumingly Anki tapped Liv on the shoulder and said ‘I think you might know this girl’…Liv slowly turned in her seat to spot me and in the process render herself speechless. Genuine surprise on this girl looks like Gormo and his mate Spazzy playing Spot the Retard. She stood up, she sat down, she cried a little, she looked around, she garbled a few words, stood up again, sat down again. At which point I had to intervene and ask her to hug me so that her work friends (and the rest of the bar spying the interaction cautiously) wouldn’t think I was some creepo playing Single White Female. Eventually, words came flooding back as did high pitched yelps (mostly me) of recognition. We enjoyed our first glass of wine together in 4 months and it felt fucking amazing.
With Liv’s birthday party at her cool apartment with all her new German and non-German pals planned for the Saturday evening, it left the day to explore the town a little bit. Münster has an ‘old town’, beautifully cobbled with a church decorating every corner. It was bigger than I had anticipated, but just as ‘German’. We ambled to a coffee shop opposite the local weekend markets and caught up on life. Liv taught me a little German and we generally just reveled in each other’s company. The markets are a feast of fresh flowers, tulips particularly abundant that weekend, and cheese and fresh bakery goods. Whilst I scoffed down a hot waffle with cinnamon sugar we bought delicatessen treats.
A little more ambling, a small attempt at shopping (I say attempt, because I am no longer able to fit into clothes – I just wear muumu’s) and we decided at 3pm it was indeed time to stop in for a drink (a real one). Much to a local mans utter disgust we perched on a bar stool at ‘The Colorful Bird’ with 2 glasses of red wine.
Saturday evening came around in a blur of final party preparations, a liberating dance session to Taio’s Dynamite in our pajama’s and a glass of prosecco to kick start the celebrations. All before 6.30pm. Amongst such sober revelry Olivia and I clinked glasses to 2011. ‘The Year of Not Saying No’. More easily verbalised as ‘The Year of Saying Yes’ . A year where we despite reservations or the pull of habitual behavior, we will be challenged to continue to grow and open our (albeit chunky) arms to every experience or opportunity sought by, or thrust open us. Because without harping, life is short, it is precious, and regrets are for losers.
So, the party started. People arrived in a rush of activity and we were off. And so B*witched make their much anticipated (obviously) entrance. After creating a carefully selected playlist of ‘mood music’ with Angus and Julia, John Mayer and Paolo Nutini, 90 minutes in I was dragged into the kitchen and asked to ‘put on some pop music’. Now a self confessed, PROUD, lover and supporter of Pop music, this is the first time I have ever been asked to play it. In hushed tones, I confirmed with Liv my suggested course of action. ‘They actually want me to play pop music?’ secretly terrified I was being mocked. ‘Do it’ she yelled. ‘Germans love 90’s pop!!’. And OMG they do. In an absolute frenzy of Britney, Xtina, Justin, Backstreet Boys, Destiny’s child, 5ive and B*Witched we threw caution and coolness into the frosty breeze. Dancing like maniacs in a kitchen filled with German men dancing and singing wildly to every number. That’s right. Dudes. Hot dudes. Dancing to 5ive. Because they wanted to. EPIC.
In an attempt to get lashed as is customary on ones birthday, the party headed to the local student club. A couple of sambucca’s and tequila’s later Liv and I meandered through a crowd of youths unable to hide our near sobriety. And so, a kebab later we wandered on home dissecting the evening that was.
Sunday was filled with some apartment cleaning, the customary debrief over giant tea cups and then the best ‘I’m not hung-over’ hangover meal of my life. At another cute little pub with a blue door, aptly named Das Blaue Haus I indulged in a schnitzel covered in mushrooms with sides of sauerkraut and crispy potatoes. Don’t let me go on.
Alas, as they do. These things must end. And so my weekend came to a close. A train trip, a flight,2 buses and 7 hours later I opened my door in sunny Dublin. What this somewhat extendo journey did however reveal to me was just how comfortable I was in Münster. I felt like I could live there, in fact I felt like I did live there. And so I got to thinking…how many places is it that I would/could/do call home? I mean there’s Cape Town, Sydney, Santorini, Basingstoke, Rome, Vancouver, Dublin and now Münster? Well here’s my completely unoriginal take on it. My homeS are where my heart is. That is, in each of these places I feel like a part of me exists there, a part of me once existed there or could exist there. And because the people that I love are located in no one particular place, I am not limited to creating my ‘home’ in any one particular place. My heart comes with me no matter what city I am in and so the things and people that I love come with me also.
And such is life…
More photo’s here!
* Just for the foreigners around the place (Hi Dad!) ironically, Ireland has historically been divided into four provinces Leinster, Connaught, Ulster and Munster. This was not the Munster where I spent the weekend.