This past week I was fortunate to meet up with three friends from home, all in separate instances. I’ll first comment on the experiences as a whole – it was undeniably nice to finally come into contact with some level of familiarity. The dinners and meetups had this odd recharging effect. As fun as it’s been to be the only native english speaker in my language classes or hostel, the day-to-day can be quite exhausting. In talking to these three individuals – a friend from ND, someone from my hometown who now lives here permanently, and my high school german teacher – I didn’t have to psychologically drain myself to keep my brain in german mode all day.
The first meeting was with close friend from ND who’d home base is in Berlin for the summer. He made a trip down to Munich with some other classmates and we were fortunate enough to be able to meet up, get lunch, and walk around a bit. We talked prospectively about the way in which being abroad will affect our view of our lives in the US, the nuances of German culture, and his economics courses. Our conversation about post WW2 german economic development was particularly interesting and thought provoking to me; I thought in that instance about pursuing the subject as a research foray, with an emphasis on the philosophical and political side of the coin rather than the economic.
My second meeting was for dinner at a Biergarten with someone from my hometown. For an economically stagnated town of 14000, finding out from my mother that he resided in Munich was an absolute treat. And the dinner did not disappoint. He is an extremely bright guy – I think personally connecting with novice (I use that term strongly) intellectuals is easier for me. We talked about the transition from American to German life, differences in cultures, and so on. Our most interesting discussion was on the idea of leisure in Europe versus America and how the continents’ respective leisure habits can say things about the people that live there and what it’s like to live there. This blew up into a full scale unpacking of the European condition – seemingly more wise and aged than the United States – full of appreciation for life that arises from massive levels of death and destruction. Our conversation really inspired me to possibly live overseas for awhile; it firmed up the idea of the necessity of globalism in leading a rich, wise life.
Finally, I had the absolute treat of meeting up with my former high school german teacher and a group of her students for dinner. The above hometown friend also attended. I could tell my teacher was elated, teeming with pride over two former students whose life course she affected so greatly. It was an unbelievably laid back dinner, which was aided by her insistence that I try both the Weiß and Weiß Dunkel beers. We finally talked on a peer-to-peer level, which was enlightening. It gave me an even deeper respect for her than I had before; I was finally able to see the world through her eyes. It made me grateful to have such a positive presence in my formative years.