Day 23, 07.17.2009
A solemn car ride to Frankfurt Int’l Airport
I wrote this journal entry at 4:40pm–a mere 7 hours and 20 minutes before my last day in Germany ends. It was indescribable how devastating the reality was that I was heading home. I woke up and went to school, like I had done for the past month. I met up with Abby, Kelvin, Jon, and Cory by the Schwarze Box, and all of us went up to the music room to rehearse for our performances. Not really having learned much from my choir days, I just sang a few practice songs to get warmed up. Sounded horrible.
Cory, Jon, and I decided to translate “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story into German, since that had been our group’s theme song (of sorts). I felt like I was coughing up legos or something, with all the long, German words to cram into the same rhythm. Cory and I kept messing up the same parts over and over. But probably an hour or so in, we actually sounded pretty decent. Jon was on piano, Cory sang alto and I soprano. Jon wanted the three of us to harmonize, which was hard to adjust to in such short notice. If there was anything I learned about myself from choir, was that I had no reason being in choir. Haha! No understanding of music theory/unable to follow harmonies.
Tschüß Nürnberg Hauptbahnhof! Goodbye, Nuremberg train station!
We went snooping around the music room and found a bass, violas, and a bunch of other cool instruments. Abby and Kelvin left to go swimming with the others sometime around noon. The acoustics in the room are amazing; granted, it is a music room, but we sounded so perfect in there. I really doubt the Schwarze Box, where we would be having our Abschiedsfest [“der Abschied” = a farewell, “das Fest” = celebration, “Abschiedsfest” = goodbye party], would have the same sound. We rehearsed for 4 hours, nonstop.
Amateur mistake. My throat was sore, strained, and scratchy. This did not bode well. Jon played a couple of Coldplay pieces, which was pretty on point, and A Whole New World, to which all three of us failed miserably to sing. None of us knew all the words. It went something like, “I can show you the wooooooorld~ nananana lalalala splendid!”.
Sometime in the middle of rehearsal the fire alarm went off. Everyone had to evacuate. It took about 20-30 minutes before we allowed to go back to the school. The music room was locked. So the three of us just sat on this huge pile of gym mats sitting outside the music room. We got bored, so we decided to go out and get some stuff from the supermarket. Cory got some goldfish (crackers) and Jon stole some gummy bears that were lying around on a chair at the school. They looked stale, but hey, free gummy bears [der Gummibären].
After returning to our gym mats, Jon got bored and started taking Cory’s goldfish and acting out scripts with them. Then, this woman with a ginormous growth on her body walked past. It was undeniably fascinating–all of us tried to avert our gaze from her to avoid awkward eye contact. Once she left Cory and Jon started cracking jokes about it. Really terrible jokes…(but also kind of funny). Hey, don’t judge us: you know you’d be staring too. Seriously, that growth was like the size of another, tiny human being. Cory called it a “twin”.
I think I climbed maybe 40 flights of stairs that day.
Ohmygod do I miss my host mother’s cooking. Best couscous salad ever.
I went home around 1:30pm and apparently Clara was looking for me. I had no idea they got off early today! She was home sometime around 12:00. I felt so bad about letting them worry. I had lugged several pounds of boba and milk tea from LA to Germany, specifically for the Abschiedsfest. Before we had left the US, our assignment was to bring something that represented “us”. This was mine. What I didn’t know was that you really didn’t have to bring anything to the Abschiedsfest because we were already expected to present. Well then–I guess I’ll just chug 7 pounds’ worth of boba and milk tea all by myself…no shame.
No way I was dragging all those goods through the airport again; I made about half of what I had and my host family promised to bring them when they went. I had no idea one small package of boba could make so much. It was almost enough to fill a 120 quart pot!
Clara and I had to leave early to the Schwarze Box to help set up. We had to carry out these giant folding tables and chairs from the basement of the school. Great arm work out. There wasn’t any tape at first, so we really had to improvise when we were trying to get the table covers to not fly off the table (it was windy). When the rest of the people in my group came, they were all neatly dressed in dress shirts and ties and sundresses with heels. I felt so under-dressed because all I had was a white shirt with a bit of collar, and jeans. Mir’s egal [“it’s all the same to me”]. I don’t own any dresses. Then Jon came in what looked like golf clothes and Cory just dressed as she usually did. Whew.
The presentations started. Dan, Lorenzo, and Leo went first with a powerpoint called “The Best from the US”. There was a map of the US with stereotypes for each state; e.g., California was “Gays and Indian Casinos”; Wisconsin was “Cheese”; and Nevada was “Casinos, Booze, and Hookers”. It was awesome. Everyone was insulted equally–from the recently-deceased Michael Jackson (too soon) to Sarah Palin.
We were the second group to go. And it all went downhill from here. Cory came late and the rest of us were so busy helping to set up that we had no time to warm up or practice one last time. And my throat was still sore from morning rehearsals. But we were like “hell, let’s just get it over with”…so we did. It was horrifying how awful we sounded, but also damn freakin’ hilarious.
Our opening was to have Jon start out with a totally random piece, to which we would go along with until we’d “realize” that it was the wrong song, and then we’d go “JON?! WAS MACHST DU DENN?!” [what are you doing?]. Then he’d snap his fingers and shake his head and go “Ach Sheisse!” [ah, shoot!]. So over-the-top cheesy, but it worked like a charm. People were already laughing. Little did they know what they were in for…
We started singing “I Feel Pretty” and I gotta tell you, I was so off-key that I may as well just have let an elk bugle in my place. My voice had given out. Cory and I missed several notes, were out of sync, and our voices cracked. Like pre-pubescent boys, except we are not. Hell, I had no Idea why we bothered rehearsing at all. The “LALALALALALALALALALA”‘s and the “WER, WELCHE WO?” [which, what, where, who?] bits left all of us gasping for air because Jon angrily screamed them like we were a death metal band on Broadway, and it was pretty hysterical.
The next platinum-record cover band right here.
Finally, Cory and I sang the last note of “I Feel Pretty” and we were expecting Jon to transition into the last few measures of “Defying Gravity”–as we had planned–but he didn’t. He just kept playing and Cory and I just stood there, nearly breathless from holding this super high note for what felt like a century. We tried to give him signals by waving our hands frantically; instead, he thought we wanted him to sing along too so he screeched like some owl-banshee-nails-on-chalk-board-thing. And that concluded our performance. The room collapsed into a paroxysm of laughter and everyone’s enjoyment was palpable. We got the loudest applause. :P
Greylin, Meghan, Ellie and Joyce were next and they sang this German song called “Kuessen ist verboten” [kissing is forbidden] and they had small dance moves to go with it. It was really cute. Mariet and Meghan then played pieces on their flutes. They were both really good! Mariet later did a performance all by herself; she sang “For Good” to a powerpoint that she had made for her host family. It was really very sweet and nostalgic, despite the fact that all of this was happening in the “present” still.
After everyone had finished performing, we all went to get dinner! It was basically a pot luck full of amazing homemade food. Cory, Jon, and I, however, decided to grab a place to sit first so we went to the ping pong table. When we came back, almost everything was gone already. Astounding. I got some Kartoffelsalat, which I forever dream about, and some salad. For dessert I got some tiramisu, but there was a little bit too much alcohol in it for me, so I dumped it on Jon. He really enjoyed it and his eyes lit up when I told him there was alcohol in it. We’ve got a budding alcoholic here.
Our fearless and fabulous leaders with their Geschenke [presents]
All of us got together after most people were finished eating, and presented H. Birkelbach with this poster that we had bought: an enlarged photo of all of us on a jungle gym in Berlin. It was pretty cool. Then Lorenzo walked out with a towel over his waist…and dropped it. Underneath was this hideous pair of lime green pants that we had all signed earlier in the day. It was for H. Reynolds. Long story short, in the first week we were in Germany, we all passed this store called “Mister Lady” and H. Reynolds saw the pants and said “Now that just screams I like men!” So we all decided to get him the pants because he knew he’d hate it/secretly love it. And he did. :)
Everyone packed up and cleaned everything; our host families went home. The rest of us, however, wanted to go to das DISKOTHEK. An absolute must in Germany. Jon, Cory, and Joyce forgot to bring their IDs with them, so Fabien’s (Cory’s host sister) mother had to “chaperone” them to get them into the disko. She did it on the condition that none of them could drink alcohol. Unsurprisingly, no one followed the rules, as was a silent rule in itself within our group. Fabien tried to stop them, but not really. Greylin was sneaking Jon her bottles that she couldn’t finish.
The disko itself was out of this world amazing. The theme of the month was classic rock. There was a huge electric guitar just hanging on the back wall. The music selection was fun–didn’t stick to just classic rock–and there was a good variety of genres. I sweated so much! The disko was empty at first, but by 10:30 it was packed with people, inside and out. We all shuffled out into the cool air for drinks by the bar. All 9 of us huddled together on a single sofa and just chatted. It was a great way to end the night. They played YMCA and Cory and I, like all cool kids do, did the dance.
Clara and I got home at 2am. Holy pardon-my-callousness-not-really-shit was I tired. The best kind of tired: nothing’s better than good company, good conversation, and epic proportions of fun.
The amazing people of this month-long chronicle.
Bis später, Germany! Ich will dich vermissen, aber zweifellos, wird ich zurückkommen! So long, Germany! I will miss you, but without a doubt, I’ll be back! Thanks for the memories. <3