Monday, September 20
And Once More Carrying OnI suppose that I should really be revising for a grammar test that I have tomorrow morning, but I really can't be arsed, to tell you the truth. I'm in the mood for a bit of writing, so write I shall do.
I left off last time on the evening of Saturday 4th September, feeling quite depressed and lonely, as well as having had my confidence in my German shattered by a brutal and harsh grammar test (deja vu tomorrow?). Sunday and every day since then has been a lot, lot better.
I (and every other person at the test, come to think of it) had been given a small leaflet advertising a Welcome Brunch for Erasmus students, as organised by the Erasmus society at Heidelberg. Erasmus is the Europe-wide organisation that provides the opportunity for European students to study at other universities across the length and breadth of Europe. Some universities or students then take it upon themselves to provide such organisations as the Heidelberg Erasmus Society for incoming foreign students.
It is through this society and their organisational skills that I found the group of friends which I now consider myself to be a part of. For that I thank them over and over again. Oh, and for breakfast on that Sunday too.
I had turned up not knowing a single person, a little nervous, and more than a little hungry. All 3 were remedied within minutes. I grabbed a plate of the standard German breakfast fare (bread rolls, cheese and ham), and looked for a place to sit. I figured that picking a table where the conversation was at least dripping, if not exactly flowing freely, was the right idea, so I sat at a random table.
The conversation was in German, and I sat there for a minute or two, absorbing what was being said, before joining in. It turned out that I was on a table of English, Irish and American people, as well as a few from elsewhere in and around Europe. We chatted for a while in German, but pretty quickly slipped into English.
And so it has remained, to tell you the truth. As much as we all want and need to speak German, it's a hell of a lot easier to talk in English, especially when time is of the essence. We always speak much better German when we're pissed, which goes some way to explaining my many hangovers in the past 2 weeks.
2 or 3 of the people I met at that table that morning have become very good friends with me, and 1 is probably my closest friend here so far. I'm not a believer in fate at all, but I do love the concept of chance. But for my decision to sit at Table X, rather than Tables A-Z, my whole life here in Heidelberg could have been very different. I could have fallen in with different people, done different things and had different experiences.
Saying that though, I wouldn't want to change anything that's happened so far, not at all. I've had great times, which I will come to in due course here.
After the brunch, a few of us headed to an Internet cafe to make a couple of phone calls and write a few emails. There were only a few of us, so we got to chat a little more whilst waiting outside the shop for the last to finish. Always learning a little more about each other, always exchanging stories and anecdotes, revealing that interior which we all withdrew into in our first few days.
After that there followed a tour around the Altstadt (Old Town), led by a German guide who spoke very quickly. I struggled, but I gathered that Heidelberg is, funnily enough, quite old. Strange how they then named this section of it Old Town. Weird...
The tour finished in a big sqaure at the East end of town, at about 4 in the afternoon, so there was only one thing to do: we needed alcohol, and plenty of it.
The problem was, as it still often is, finding a table that could accomodate 10 of us. We eventually threw together a couple of tables outside of a pub, and descended on them. A couple of beers went down, and more and more people arrived from the Erasmus Brunch earlier that day. We all introduced ourselves, had some more beers, and let the conversation flow.
After that, it was time for more drinking. Some people flagged and went off to do other things, but by that time I'd had 4 or 5 and was quite prepared to get on it properly. Thankfully, I wasn't the only one.
Details are a little hazy, but I remember being incredibly excited by the concept of a 1 Litre glass of beer at a pub called Loevenbrau, before heading on to an Irish pub (hey, so there were a couple of Irish girls in the group at that point) that was brilliantly open until 1am, even on a Sunday.
Well, I say brilliantly. What I actually mean is that it was catastrophic regarding the subsequent memory holes from Sunday night and the hangover for the first day's classes on the Monday. Start as you mean to go on, and all that.
There's a couple more stories to tell about that night, as well as a shitload more from the next 2 weeks, but they will have to wait, as I'm attempting to have an early (erm, 1am, dammit) night in preparation for my big grammar test tomorrow.
Do I even know Konjunktiv II? It's the "Unreal Tense", if that helps with anything. It sure as hell doesn't help me! Wish me luck.