I wrote this post at 2:30 AM on my last night in Berlin, but I knew I couldn’t chronologically post it until I wrote my other ones. Here’s my last post written in Germany. I’m sure I’ll throw a reflection piece on this blog eventually, but here’s the story of my fabulous last night abroad:
“I want you to ask yourself something right now,” Trisha said to me tonight while we were finishing our delicious Lebanese dinner. Her eyes reflected the candlelight as she leaned in closer to ask her question. “I want you to ask yourself when you’re next going to be in Berlin. Because if the answer to that question is ‘next month’ or even ‘next year,’ then fine. Go enjoy your good night’s sleep tonight. But if the answer to that question is ‘I don’t know’ or ‘maybe never,’ then I highly suggest you think twice before wasting this night in your hotel room.”
She had me. I’m never one to miss an opportunity – even if I’m running on almost no sleep, none of my stuff is packed, and I have to be up at 4:30 AM to catch a plane. I tried say, “I’ve gotta go back to my room and get a bunch done for tomorrow…I was in Wittenberg all day, and I’m really tired…” but Trisha’s pep talk pulled me out of it. No reason to waste my last night in Europe on silly things such as packing or sleeping.
Jan (one of our leaders) had invited us to a ballroom dancing place downtown. I’m not really a ballroom dancer, and I had no idea what to expect out of this type of activity. Visions of Pride and Prejudice flashed through my head. What does one even wear to a ballroom dancing event? I asked Jan. She said my current, very casual outfit was fine. That’s what they said about my karaoke outfit last night too, though, so I’ve learned not to trust our leaders when it comes to wardrobe advice. Since I didn’t pack any ball gowns, I had to wear the most fashionable thing currently in my possession. Remember the shoes from a couple days ago? The ones I left behind at the store? Well, good news – I went back and bought them this afternoon. It was in accordance with my new life policy called “When in Europe, buy the shoes.” They made their epic dancing debut tonight in Berlin.
The dancing place was about a fifteen minute walk from our hotel. When we arrived, I instantly knew that this was not a ballroom dancing sort of establishment. Jan insists that it was back in the day, but that’s neither here nor there. The truth is, this place was way cool (not that ballroom dancing isn’t. I’m sure it is…you know, for Jane Austen or whatever). This place had walls covered in silver tinsel, a stage with a band setting up while a DJ played music, disco lights all over the place, and a dance floor full of people dancing. This was the cool part – people were actually dancing. Not weird, clubbish, all-up-on-you grind fest, but dancing for real. They were all having a great time. My new shoes and I were ready to join the party. Some of the teachers went back to the biergarten behind the hall in order to get some drinks, but I by and large can’t afford alcohol so I’ve just learned to have a lot of fun while sober. Call it a financial coping mechanism. Anyway, I hit the dance floor immediately. Slowly some of the other teachers started to join. I don’t think I sat down for more than three minutes in the hours that we were there – I was having such a blast. The DJ played a weird assortment of music, but I loved it all. There was Queen, Backstreet Boys, Rhianna, randomly “I Shot the Sheriff,” and then I knew for sure that my new friends know me well when a Britney song came on and they all turned to me and said, “WEBB! THIS IS YOUR JAM!!” Yes, every Britney song is my jam. Hold the judgement.
At one point I was dancing in a group with my friends, and a guy came up and grabbed my hand to dance. He was wearing a suit and a hat like Burt from Mary Poppins. Seriously. I think he was British or maybe just German sounding British. Anyway, he started swing dancing with me, which – fun fact – I’m not terrible at due to my hot second in the swing dance club at MSU and the wicked swing moves my dad taught me as a kid (thanks Dad – he used all of your moves). I initially had a thought of, “How would Rex feel about me swing dancing with some random guy in Germany?” but then I immediately and positively knew that if I asked Rex about this, his answer would be, “Fabulous. Swing dance with that guy so that you won’t try to get me to do it.” Ha ha. So this Martin chap and I had a great time swing dancing, my American friends were wildly impressed, and at the end of the song Martin gave me his hat and pulled me close to try to dance the next one. That’s the part where I put the hat back on his head and said thanks, but I had to go catch up with my friends. I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea. But seriously – swing dancing in Berlin?? Pretty awesome memory. Pretty epic night. I think my new shoes are magic.
All too soon the evening was over and we had to start walking back. On our way back, we passed a bar with these weird swinging, floaty egg chairs (I’m going to save you the brain strain of trying to read a description of these. Just look at the pictures).
Obviously we couldn’t pass that up. We stopped at had a drink (my first of the night, but I wasn’t going to miss a floaty egg chair opportunity). We talked about this trip and how awesome it’s been and how it’s so weird to think that we’re going to home tomorrow. Shaw (the other Christine, which is why the two of us go by last names) mentioned that this trip feels like a bubble that is completely outside of reality. It’s a metaphor I’ve heard before, but it rings true. It’s going to feel weird to go back to real life again, especially since this time I’m going home for good instead of only six days. I’ve been globetrotting for the past month, but it’s time to go home. To quote Jason Mraz from last night’s karaoke extravaganza: “Lucky to have been where I have been. Lucky to be coming home again.” Aufweiderzein, Germany. See you tomorrow, America.