Posts Tagged party

Ich bin ein Münchener!

After our 36-hour whirlwind tour of Dubai, we landed in Germany to spend the weekend with my two German cousins and their significant others.  The younger of those cousins, Herr Newlywed, inspired us to visit Mauritius.  He and Frau Newlywed got married there the summer before our 30/40 World Tour.  Mr. HalfFull was so intrigued by the photos that he added it to our trip itinerary.

Herr Newlywed was gracious enough to pick us up from the Munich airport while Frau Newlywed was at a Robbie Williams concert.  I’d actually never heard of Robbie Williams, but apparently he’s quite the heart throb.  So it was especially awesome for Herr Newlywed to chauffeur us while wondering about his new bride and her teenage crush.

In my younger days, I went on vacation with Herr Newlywed.  My first memory of spending time together one-on-one was when his parents took the two of us skiing in Italy.  At the time, I was 13 and Herr Newlywed was 16-years-old.  We were having a great time skiing together until he made me hike up to the highest point of the mountain in ski boots.  He had been skiing his entire life in the Alps, and was an expert skier.  I was not.  When he decided to take the most difficult ungroomed path in unmarked terrain, I opted to find a less challenging route.  I felt sure that he would wait for me at the bottom.

But as we all know, you can’t trust a 16-year-old boy.  He ended up abandoning me for a 16-year-old German girl.  I never found him that ski day.  I was just a little abandoned 13-year-old girl — scared and alone in a foreign country.  I didn’t speak any Italian at the time, and had to make my way back to the hotel on the buses alone.  When I found him again at the hotel,  he had the gall to ask me to go to the ski locker room with him to find that girl’s skis, so he could write down her name to look her up back in Munich.  Ah, young love…

It’s not like I’ve harbored hard feelings all these years.  Okay, it’s exactly like that.  Each time I see him, I take the opportunity to remind him how he abandoned me in Italy.  You know, in a good-natured way.

Alcohol Bottles in 2002

Herr Newlywed and Ms. HalfEmpty out on the town with multiple Bacardi Rigo bottles in 2002. Don't we look young???

My next memory of hanging out one-on-one with Herr Newlywed was when I was in college on a scholarship to dance in Sweden, Finland, and Russia.  During that time, I took a quick break from dancing to visit Herr Newlywed’s parents, my aunt and uncle, in Germany.  One night, Herr Newlywed picked me up to take me out on the town.  At the time, he claimed to be a teetotaler and nonsmoker to his parents.  (This was odd because I’m pretty sure his parents would not have minded.)  I discovered a different reality during our outing.  But to preserve the image he had created, all photographic evidence was staged to look like I was the only one drinking.

Alcohol Bottles in 2002

Herr Newlywed and Ms. HalfEmpty recreate the photo of 2002 in 2011

We recreated that same photograph almost 10 years later on Herr Newlywed’s balcony, with beer instead of Rigo, as we waited for Frau Newlywed to return from the concert.  Even though all the bottles are once again in front of me, please don’t get the wrong idea.  I am not a lush.  There were 3 of us drinking on that balcony.

After Frau Newlywed arrived home raving about Robbie Williams, we all headed to an outdoor bar where a friend was spinning the tunes.  Herr Newlywed’s brother, the Prince of Munich, joined us as well.  The Prince of Munich is one of the most gregarious guys you’ll ever meet.  He knows everyone!

Munich Outdoor Bar

Herr Newlywed with his DJ friend watching the crowd, including the Prince of Munich at the head of the table

Currywurst @ Gartencafe

The Prince of Munich and Ms. HalfEmpty with currywurst at Gartencafe. You can still see my henna tattoo from Dubai, but not the "poop finger."

I’m not a huge fan of German food, but I tried currywurst at Gartencafe.  It wasn’t the wurst, but I can’t say I’d order it again.  It mostly tasted like ketchup to me.  After a short time at Gartencafe, we headed to a dance club.

Bucket of Alcohol

It wouldn't be a Friday night without a bucket filled with Red Bull, vodka, and champagne!

There, my cousins ordered a bucket of alcohol.  More drinking ensued and the Newlyweds hit the dance floor.  By this time I was exhausted.

Remember how we did some cultural immersion training to keep up with the party crowd?  Apparently, we didn’t practice enough.

The next morning, my cousins arrived with their Porsches to pick us up for a drive to the lake.  Mr. HalfFull got the chance of a lifetime when the Prince of Munich offered to let him drive on the autobahn.

Porsche on Autobahn

View of Mr. HalfFull driving the Prince of Munich's Porsche from Herr Newlywed's Porsche

Mr. HalfFull with Porsche

Mr. HalfFull poses with the Porsche he drove on the autobahn. He seems quite pleased with himself.

Apparently, it’s not a free-for-all on the autobahn as we originally thought.  There are actually sections with speed limits.  I learned this while sitting in the passenger seat of Herr Newlywed’s car after he said, “Mr. HalfFull is going to lose his license.”  Um…what?  Shouldn’t someone tell him there is a speed limit here???

Biergarten

Tutzinger Biergarten at Lake Starnberg

Eventually, the Prince of Munich must have clued him in on the rules of the road.  But Mr. HalfFull did get up to 250 kph.

Tutzinger Biergarten

Mr. HalfFull found a helpful German mann to point us to the beer garden

When we reached the Lake Starnberg, we enjoyed one of my favorite consumables — coffee!  It was actually a beer garden.  But since it was still early, and we had already sustained a big night with more to come, coffee was in order.

That evening we were invited to dine on fondue at the home of the Newlyweds.  It was a beautiful spread and so much food!  I only lost a few pieces in the fondue pot.

After dinner, we headed out to a VIP party.  The Prince of Munich had warned us that it would be a dressy affair.  But our duffels didn’t really contain many options.

VIP Party

Ms. HalfEmpty chats with the Newlyweds, the Prince of Munich, and his Princess over drinks

Even though Mr. HalfFull has never met my German uncle, they now have a special connection.  We were staying at my aunt and uncle’s house while they were celebrating my aunt’s birthday in Italy.  I’m sure they would not have minded if we borrowed their stuff, so we took a look in the closet.  As it turns out, my uncle and Mr. HalfFull wear the same size shoes!  So Mr. HalfFull borrowed some black leather shoes and a black button down shirt for the party.  I made do with what I had, but felt underdressed.

Dancer on Stilts

No, that's not a super tall woman. I actually think she was on stilts while grooving to the tunes in her long gown.

The party was quite a spectacle with candelabras, party dresses, and women on stilts.  Of course, it was a night of more champagne and more vodka.  Although this time, we mixed the vodka with ginger beer instead of Red Bull — much better for Mr. HalfFull’s blood pressure.  I called it a night early, but my cousins and their ladies partied hard (as was evidenced the next morning).

Urban Garden in Munich

Urban Garden in Munich

The next day, we tried to walk to the subway.  We got quite close, but our directions were slightly off and we never actually made it there.  However, we did stumble upon some lovely gardens.  Since land is so expensive in Munich, most people don’t have yards.  But they still want to cultivate plants and flowers, so they rent nearby plots.  Each plot had a shed or small house and beautiful landscaping where people could spend the day and escape the concrete jungle.

Prince of Munich Grilling

The Prince of Munich grills sausages on his balcony

For our final dinner in Germany, the Prince of Munich invited us to the penthouse apartment he shares with his Princess.  I’m not usually a fan of sausages (I know you can’t say that in Germany!), but the ones grilled for me by the Prince of Munich were delicious.

Sausages

Delicious spread prepared by the Prince of Munich

We had a lovely evening with the Prince of Munich, his Princess, the Newlyweds, and another couple.  Afterward, Mr. HalfFull and I decided to take a stroll through the city on our way back to the suburbs.  We found some beautiful photo locations and enjoyed being tourists.

Even though both of my cousins are older than me, that weekend taught me that I am old beyond my years.  I think I may need to continue my study of the party culture.

  • What secrets did you keep from your parents in your younger days?
  • Were you ever abandoned in a foreign country?
  • Do you like to party?
  • How fast have you driven?
  • Do you feel self-conscious when your attire is more or less dressy than the crowd?
  • Do you feel old beyond your years?
English Garden

Ms. HalfEmpty in the English Garden

Touring Munich

Ms. HalfEmpty on the walk home from the Prince of Munich's home; surprising that he doesn't live in the castle!

Lederhosen

My cousin has a work party every Oktoberfest where everyone wears lederhosen. Since we were out of season for that party, at least we found these guys outside the Hofbräuhaus on our walk home.

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Cultural Immersion Training!

Mr. HalfFull is back in grad school getting his second Master’s degree.  Since he is a student again, we are eligible for great student pricing on flights from STA Travel.  Perusing the brochures, it’s obvious their packages are geared toward the younger party crowd.  Not wanting to be caught unprepared, we decided cultural immersion training was in order.

Old School Movie Poster

I don't recall seeing this cultural documentary at Sundance

As luck would have it, one of my little brother’s best friends from high school is an officer in a fraternity at Mr. HalfFull’s university.  This young man has persistently invited my 40-year-old husband to pledge all year.  Obviously he’s seen Old School too many times, and wanted a Blue of his own.  Serendipitously, we were invited to the fraternity’s last party of the school year, at a time when we needed cultural immersion.  Things were falling into place!

Whilst dressing for this workout-themed soirée, I saw Mr. HalfFull donning his beloved Super Chargers headband, and began to have serious reservations.  But like usual, I allowed Mr. HalfFull’s enthusiasm and convoluted logic regarding the cultural value of this event to overcome me (much like our wedding, but that’s a story for another day).  Somehow, I don’t recall this part of the heroine’s journey.

Shockingly, after 20 years on the party circuit, this was Mr. HalfFull’s first official frat party ever.  Somehow he’d never set foot in a fraternity house and was overly excited to finally experience these foreign people with their strange customs and rituals.

At my alma mater, all the fraternities were grouped together along the same street on campus.  But this frat house was in a suburban single family neighborhood.  Those poor neighbors!

We walked up the cul-de-sac and couldn’t help but notice the house directly across the street from the fraternity.  We found ourselves staring into the eyes of the Virgin Mary (well, a statue of her) in the front yard illuminated by multi-color spotlights.  Naturally, this statue was pointed directly at the frat house.  Mr. HalfFull was excited to experience so much culture before even setting foot in the fraternity!

Six Person Beer Bong

Some sort of ancient fraternal team building exercise

Upon arrival, my brother’s friend introduced us to royalty — the fraternity president — who had a receiving line in kitchen en route to the thumping basement.  Our first cultural activity in the house was a six person beer bong.  I quickly realized Mr. HalfFull would not be the only one experiencing a first that night!  I found myself flanked by three tall African-American gentlemen, at least one of whom Mr. HalfFull thought he recognized from March Madness.  The chugging experience was not particularly to my liking; perhaps further investigation will be necessary in New Zealand or Australia.

Like any good frat house, this one had a game room complete with unfinished basement walls, a shelf full of empty beer and liquor bottles, and two long tables for flip cup and beer pong.  Upon entering this sacred chamber, Mr. HalfFull remarked, “I like what you’ve done with the place.”  I laughed, but the kids seemed confused.  To further class up the establishment, the brothers installed a stripper pole on the dance floor.  Guess which one of us nearly tore his bicep spinning around it with reckless abandon?

The sticky, humid, beer-soaked dance floor displayed a wild assortment of movement patterns.  Alcohol seemed to increase kinesthetic gyrations while decreasing balance, which may account for the women leaning heavily upon their dance partners.  I think the proper dance term is grinding; we witnessed this practice with guy/girl, girl/girl, and even a fair lady sandwiched between two gentlemen (perhaps she had less balance than the others — how noble of them to protect a damsel in distress!).  Mr. HalfFull just kept muttering, “That’s someone’s daughter!”

At one point, Mr. HalfFull left to refresh our libations, while I chatted with my little brother.  Emotionally scarred by his reserved sister intruding on his stomping grounds, he disappeared; so I went in search of Mr. HalfFull.  As I walked across the laser-lit dance floor, a brother asked me to dance.  I’m most familiar with the social dance etiquette of swing dancing where you rarely refuse a first dance with any guy.  You might not find him appealing, but it’s a friendly culture, and a dance is not so difficult to endure for a few minutes.  Plus, he could even turn out to be a good dancer.

Thus, I don’t really have much practice declining offers to dance.  But after witnessing the proximate dance technique around me, I knew I couldn’t say yes!  So I defensively pointed to my wedding ring and blurted, “I’m married.”  The look on this kid’s face was priceless.  Scared and confused, his eyes were screaming, “Who let the old people in?”  I was thinking, “Where’s my boy Blue?”

Up until this point, Mr. HalfFull was in favor of leaving our wedding rings at home this summer to reduce risk of loss.  However, this cultural immersion seems to have changed his mind about the utility of rings.  Lesson learned:  wedding rings are frat boy kryptonite!

Mr. HalfFull believes that nothing good can come from men dancing over the age of 25, with the exception of your wedding night.  But in the heat of all this cultural excitement, I found him grooving to Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream.  Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I joined him and practiced our newly acquired dance techniques.  Together, we belted, “You and I / We’ll be young forever.”  I guess anyone can feel young at a frat party!

IHOP at Night

International House of Pancakes is hallowed ground

Looking back, I learned that attitude can make all the difference when approaching novel situations.  Perhaps I need to keep this in mind as we travel the world.  But I’m still Ms. HalfEmpty, because someone has to contain Mr. HalfFull!  (After all, Blue dies in a pool of K-Y.)

To top off our night with the full cultural experience, Mr. HalfFull and I headed to IHOP.  It is international, after all.  We needed to debrief, and perhaps Harvest Grain ‘N Nut pancakes would further prepare us for the culinary adventures that lie ahead.  (Anthony Bourdain would not approve.)  We noticed that the hostess segregated patrons into three sections of the house.  For some strange reason, we were seated in what appeared to be the trouble maker section with all the boisterous kids.  Perhaps it was the headband.

Are we now prepared to party during our 30/40 World Tour?  I don’t know, but at least we got some practice under our belts.  Thankfully, the universe thinks I’m ready, and sent me next-day confirmation via fortune cookie:

Fortune Cookie

Half full fortune for Ms. HalfEmpty

The night life is for you.

  • How old is too old to attend a frat party?
  • Have you ever partaken in a beer bong ritual?
  • Would you travel around the world with your wedding ring?
  • Can anything good come from men dancing over age 25?
  • Which part of IHOP is international?
  • Do you believe in fortune cookies?

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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