And that, as they say…

31st August 2011

With a deep thrust, I have crossed your wet border. The air is rich with the smells of tea, crumpets and national disinterest, the sun is out, spending its yearly allowance of British sunshine in one day, and still I am muttering a humbled “entschuldigen” when I bump into people. It feels weird to be back in a highstreet where people manage to walk with actual spatial-awareness, and even weirder to think that this is not a holiday, but rather I am back for good. The year has not been easy, there were times, especially during the winter months, where the cold and the isolation kicked in, but all in a year’s work of growing up. By the end, I was capping off what had been one of the greatest years of my life. A summer to remember. And a year to keep.

When it comes to going abroad, as both the Nike adverts and the slut down the street will tell you; Just Do It. To say that going abroad isn’t for you, is to say that the world isn’t for you. I have met so many incredible people, those I cannot thank enough, and those I cannot wait to see again. It’s an education, an experience and a broadened horizon in one three-for-one package. You even get your complimentary bow. I did not manage to say goodbye to everyone I wished I had, but as ever, it’s not what you part with that counts, but rather what you did beforehand. And we did it all.

You may have noticed that the last few blogs have each begun with a particularly rank innuendo; this would be because this blog is coming into its endo. Yes, now I am back in British soil, it’s time to hang up this pretence at intelligent thought and get on with being a suitable human being. Like that’ll ever happen. Perhaps, if I get a new objective, the dust shall be shaken off and words will once again whirl away. As the old song says, ich hab’ mein Herz in Heidelberg veloren. So with smiles, giggles, far too much energy and not nearly enough money, it’s time to find it again so that when I return, there’s twice the strength. Thank you, all 6,000 regular readers, I have no idea what broken part of your mind made you read these rambles, but good on you for humoring this rambling rangler. I have a new phone, a very shiny Samsung Galaxy SIII, which I’m sure will kick the bucket in the next half hour, but for now it shall be used to contact those around me for our scheduled catch ups.

So with this in mind, I bid you all a good night and a very good time surfing the internet.

Monkey Cuddles.

17th August 2012

Forever Danny

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I have to say, when I dip my meat into someone’s chocolate pot, I don’t expect it to be quite so boiling hot. Regardless, last night was an evening of fondue dippings, monkey calls, “amare’o” liqueur, dances in the Feste Haus and Castle Garden Departures in the rain.

So here I am. Atop the highest windowsill of the highest room in one of the highest houses in Heidelberg, feeling on top of the world. This year has proven so many things, but today is that a goodbye is one of the greatest treasures we have, because leaving people you will miss is a golden gift above living around those you’ll forget. I had planned to write a novel this year, and I promise, much like my oncoming six pack, this will definitely happen without delay… But have instead traded the written words for breakthrough memories. This year, I have failed to do many of the things I thought I would, and yet have done so much more than I ever thought I could. The car is ready and the route is set, for once I think I might actually have a schedule to this day. Nice to make a change once in a while.

Throughout this year, whenever I’ve left or gone somewhere, I’ve ended the blog post with something German, because I am that cool. A casual Tschüs here, an Auf Wiedersehen there, but today I want to say it in my own terms.

Goodbye Heidelberg, and yeah, thanks.

Paparazzi

My flash is pretty fly but my hips just don’t lie

By the time I had learnt not to poop my pants, I was considered many things; house-trained, a member of society and a University Student. But with every new experience comes further understanding. As numbers have dwindled and more people leave for their home countries, I’ve found myself in a different domestication. Since a young age, I’ve been told that sitting still was never a concept I could quite grasp, and this became especially true when I entered Surrey. Throwing down the slightly more introverted side that had taken over, the Uni lifestyle hit home with striking accuracy. This became more true with Erasmus, where refusing to sit alone in an empty dorm room, a unanimous effort for all became to experience as much of the city, country and continent as possible.

It was about alcohol, the energy, the bouncing-off-walls and leaping across the stalls, finding new friends and bigger distractions. But I won’t lie, a lot of this was a distraction. It must be concluded that I am an exceedingly boring person, as I can’t bare spending more than one evening with myself alone. But with the broadening of experiences and horizons, so has appreciating a piece of life I thought was long since gone. Diving fork-first into collectively cooked casual meals, letting the television tantalize and indulging in pure enjoyment of a day-to-day existence. I’d always thought continuous stimuli was the key, a project here, a production there and a line of boys behind me. I haven’t lost the previous spontaneous social spectrum, but I’ve gained something much more. Life is a game of tetris and so long as you can fit everything together, that theme tune will forever be in your head and it’ll be glorious.

Another glorious thing I have gained of late is the going-away present of a brand new camera. An old wannabe filmmaker and photograph obsessive (much like every regular facebook user my age), I have found this new present to be a fantastic way to cap off the final week. Given my recent success with technology, this specific device has been chosen for it’s “TOUGH” title, surviving high drops and workable underwater, it is essentially Laurence-proof. Chances are if I drop this beautiful brick, it’s less likely to break and more chance of the earth being thrown out of of orbit.

Hack at the Head

No matter how many crack-pot psychiatrists I get sent to, I will forever be scared of getting my haircut. Maybe it’s not wanting to have the only vaguely functioning part of my body in the hands of a stranger, maybe I watched far too many produtions of Sweeney Todd as a child, or perhaps having to stare at my own reflection for any extended period of time causes fits of uncontrollable depression and rage. But today, I proved wong those psychiatrists who condemned me to madness as they ran screaming from the room and got my hair sliced away this morning into a state slightly more befitting of a boy with my facial shape. And I did it all in German.

Normally, when getting my hair cut, I prefer not to talk. Adding to the terrifying experience, perhaps I’m concerned that they’ll become too engrossed in whatever fascinating anecdotes one of us will be giving and I may end up with half an ear missing. Or worse, a bad haircut. Despite any stylist’s valiant efforts, I stick to the mensroom rule and stare blankly forward, giving only brief recognitions of conversational attempts with a nod or grumbled bwark. So I did find it slightly disconcerting when my hairdresser began to talk to the elderly lady standing behind him, his back turned from my head but scissors hacking away all the same. I can only assume he could see what he was doing in the reflection on the bald head of the lady’s husband.

Seriously, that was bowling ball standard shiny.

Hometown Glory

Please allow me a pre-emptive apology should this blog post result in the violent murders of several Germanic workmen. Sitting in this sweltering room that’s already more moist and sweaty than the Pope’s underpants in a children’s playground, I am to be blessed with the continuous banging of a long object pummelling into a hard surface. Nope, my flatmate isn’t having sex. Instead, the carpark which is going under an exceedingly unnecessary 5-month-long renovation, has employed a 50ft Jackhammer drill to vent national frustration into the pavement at one second intervals. No matter what they’ll say in court… these murders will be worth it.

So yes, despite saving a couple of glasses from being shaken off the shelves, today has been disorientated at best. Waking up in a friend’s house after a fairly limp-wristed night out, consisting of many street corner loiterings, deciding where to go next; a question the philosophical prowess of which was clearly beyond us. At least we didn’t end up going back to the Monkey. Even if we did begin our night there. Woken by Aaron coming into the room exclaiming “Oh Christ” upon seeing me still in bed, we made ourselves pretty and went out for the most retardedly slow bubble tea experience. Methinks the poor girl believes a couple of mental patients had escaped from a local asylum. After which we engaged in a couple of games that border on being illegally intrusive to those around us. I’m not sure that winning this… erm, Brush Up game, is something I should be proud of. Grabbing (whip-free) coffee with my dominatrix co-star Annemieke, I have now returned to my room, hoping to blog away, despite the valiant efforts of the workmen outside. Hairy twats.

In June 2010, my friend Luke left to go on work placement. Having been a close buddy for months, and a second year whose house I could escape to when halls became too much, I was not prepared for his departure. Far too many alcohol-induced evenings occurred, and one too often a drunken conversation of “emotional depth” too. All this for a boy going to placement in London, 1 hour away. The following year it came time to go to Germany. 72 hours, 100 drinks, and 3 separate parties later, I still didn’t quite feel ready to leave. This year, for all of its cruelty, the Erasmus experience of departures offers you the opportunity to toughen the skin. There isn’t one big bang and you’re all gone, people trickle out through the fingertips of the day. Leaping from one coffee-hop departure to the next allows you a chance of individual reflection that fast paced society rarely offers, proving a life in transience can be the greatest remedy for enjoyment; you’re never left with the same stodgy cycle, it’s something new each time. It’s enjoying the movie even if you stay after the credits.

Writing on a foreign laptop that doesn’t recognise English has worrying effects on my linguistic confidence when every word has a red underline. Red… like the blood of these noisy workmen. Time to load my snipe gun, mustn’t let my oncoming migraine prevent what must be done. Toodlepip.

Walking, walking

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Being the criminal mastermind that I’m sure you’ve all heard about, I’m currently writing this blog on the sofa of a house I have just snuck into. Of course, one’s understanding of “snuck” has to be very subjective when what you’ve done is picked up the spare key from its hiding place and entered the house yourself through the front door. Yeah, Lex Luthor’s got nothing on me.

To kick-start the end of Erasmus celebration, after having spent an absolutely brilliant day in a series of small juxta-Heidleberg towns, where I scaled tiny ruins with all the agility of a slug on stilts, it was agreed amongst Dave, Rob, Patricia and John that it was about time I got well and truly sozzled, having gained a reputation for being the sober one (Yeah, I know right?) We maintained our commitment to excellence and they all wonderfully chipped in with buying shots and… Yes, I definitely ended up somewhere on the wrong side of gravity. By about 8pm. Waddling home, I found my way into my bed, in which I woke up at 3.30am. Not one to miss a party, and having left my possessions at Dave’s, I dragged my hungover, wallet-less, phone-free self into town where I reunited with the few remainders, and enjoyed a slightly wobbly, though deliberately sober party until somewhere in the vicinity of 6am.

And thus, whilst they’ve been working and providing a service to the community, I returned to the house to collect aforementioned possessions. I can’t quite remember if I’d been given direct permission to do this, but having now had a phone call, methinks this was the unspoken plan. I hope. Thankfully their guard dog is adorabubble.

And nope, you didn’t read that wrong. As the reminder I’d put into my iPad back in April delighted in screeching at me on Friday morning, Heidelberg’s semester is now over. Having my last class on Thursday, you’d think I’d have felt something, but to be honest, by the end of the second semester, these classes felt more like 2 hour commitments in order to get to hang out in Heidelberg. Of the seminares this semester, I only found Mark Twain of any interest. I think the futility of the non-degree influencing education had settled in and it didn’t take long to realise you were studying something you didn’t care for. Thankfully the experience nevertheless has been most eye-opening indeed, even if some teachers just want you to learn how they personally interpret a text, rather than encouraging open-minded analysis. Not that this country has a history of brainwashing or anything.

With that mean comment, I think I should pick myself up and get ready for the sweltering hike back down into town.

Mein fluffig ist schlaffig

The first night of many

Proving that infants can enjoy infancy as much as adults can enjoy adultery, and that consistency is the final refuge of the unimaginitive, this week I may have sort of… well, thrown education to the winds. Such is the rebel am I. Dighton has arrived and with him comes hyperactivity, alcohol, and some a whole lotta afro. Enjoying frenzic festivities that boring people would only refer to as immature, we’ve hiked mountains, travelled across country and gotten characteristically lost whilst on a peddle boat somewhere between Konstanz and Switzerland.

As ever, spending time with a friend from home whilst in your new territory (I own Heidelberg now, by the way) throws an oddly expository nature to your home town. Suddenly I am demonstrating, selling and advertising this quaint, beautiful little city. I may have also taken him to Mannheim, just to show how good Heidelberg is by comparison. The arrival of Chris has coincided with the departure of some more, so big hug the lovely Jesse who lovingly left us her semester ticket so that we may keep it secret, keep it safe. Hopefully you are back in America and alive.

Sometimes precautions can seem the product of ridiculous paranoia, but every now and again there comes that achilles heel of a sentence that proves why protective glass over the nuclear button is indeed necessary. A slipped finger which caused me to say goodbye to more than I wanted. So remember, think before you speak, google before you post, and perhaps it is possible to make a comeback, even if you havent been anywhere. For now, however, it is to Konigstuhl, which hopefully wont be mistaken for a toilet.

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