Another thing i will be able to take from this trip is that communicating through Facebook is not necessarily the best way to do things. Especially when you don’t have a smart phone. After many miss communications about dates and times and such I finally made it to Braunschweig about 45 minutes after I had told my friend, Alisha, that I was going to be there. I got off the train not knowing if she would be there. To my surprise she was right there waiting for me with a big smile and it was like we hadn’t had a 5 year gap since we saw each other last.
We made great use of our mile or two walk across town with all my baggage to her apt. We talked about life, jobs, and family, in the past, present, and the future tenses. Then when we got to her apartment we talked about politics and other matters that may save the world.
I met Alisha back in 2008 through the AMBEX program. Her family was part of the church where we held classes and I got to hang out quite a bit with her and her younger sister over the course of the semester. We had a blast going on all kinds of adventures and spending a lot of time with them really helped me become more of a spontaneous person. The two of them also helped me grow a thicker skin over the course of the semester, as they would constantly be nagging or harassing me and my Americanness. It had long term effects and you can see it in the twitch that I have now. Just kidding. Over the years we’ve stayed in touch and have been there for each other as much as one can being thousands of miles away. I was so excited to be sitting in the same room as her again and even though so many things had changed from 5 years ago, we never skipped a beat.
We tag teamed cooking a killer lasagna dinner and had it ready when Marc, Alisha’s boyfriend, and his coworker, Ivanna, came back from work. Of course when cooking, snacking is also a positive thing to do, so Alisha and I killed a couple cans of Olives while we worked. When they arrived home there was a feast just waiting for them! We had a great dinner and wonderful conversation during and after the meal.
After maybe an hour or so we decided to go and visit a local brewery. We walked through parks and beautiful city streets to get to this little brewery near the middle of Brauschweig called Schadts. We sat outside and talked the hours away about my future and the uncertainty of it all and different perspectives of how to go about figuring it out. All three of the people sitting at the table with me were working on their PHD in Biology or a Biology related field. They had their plans made and their courses were pretty much set and there I was a nomad with very little direction. It was a great evening and very insightful for a rover like myself to get the perspective of those who have started to settle. I found out from our resident Croatian, Ivanna, that Croatia has 1,244 islands and that I should go visit there the next time I’m on the continent. We decided that we would plan a trip there… someday.
The day ended nicely as we walked back home and prepared for the next day.
After a lovely evening we decided to plan a lovely outing the following day as well. We had a lunch packed and were going to bike to the lake and sit on the sand, I could play some music and everyone could enjoy the sun. Well we got most of our plan in, but then the rain came and I almost lost my guitar. Alisha and I did enjoy the stiff wind that was accompanied by clouds and took our sun away. We did, in the end, eat our food and I was able to play a little bit of guitar, but we rushed back to the apartment as the rain started falling.
We spent the rest of the day watching the World track and field championships and getting prepped for our dinner at the Wursthaus, a real German cuisine expo. Marc and Ivanna joined us again after they got out of work and we enjoyed a lovely German dinner.
Some things I learned while having dinner.
1. You can eat meat that is already chopped up faster than if you have cut and eat concurrently.
2. There are more than 5 things that you have do when you go to Croatia.
3. Working in a lab really, really takes a lot of work and it really really wears you down.
4. What I’m doing is not normal and no matter how uncertain my future and how that wears on me this experience is a huge blessing and I should treat it as such.
5. Lab workers LOVE mice. They are faithful companions until the end. Could be a couple weeks or a couple hours, but they are faithful and that doesn’t go unnoticed.
After dinner it started to rain and I really wanted to play some music for my new friends, but it was to wet. We thought about maybe doing it in a park near Ivanna’s apartment, but when we got there it was still to wet. In that moment Ivanna saved the concert idea from ruin. She invited us up to her apartment and after saying i was only going to play a couple songs I ended up playing about 8 songs before we had to shut down because everyone had work in the morning. It was such a good time and I thank Ivanna so much for her willingness to have us come up. I hope the music was enjoyable.
I walked home with Marc and Alisha and packed up my stuff. In the morning ill be taking a taxi to the hauptbanhof and heading to France. Thanks to Alisha and Marc for housing me and showing me around Braunschweig. Thanks to Ivanna for taking time out of her busy schedule to come and hang out while I was in town. Such a great thing, how old friends have a way of leading you to new friends. Ciao Braunschweig!