Saturday, April 30, 2005

Tanz in den Mai

May Day in Germany is a big deal. It is officially Labor Day, but unofficially it’s an excuse to get really drunk the night before (April 30th) and then get up late the next day, and do more drinking. A few years ago, I used to spend May Day walking for miles with friends, and drinking the whole way, often pulling a wagon full of beer behind us.

But since living in the city the only tradition I participate in is Tanz in den Mai, which literally means “Dance into May”: you have to go out and party April 30th, and drink lots of May Punch (a spiked fruit punch) and dance into the wee hours of May 1st.

Last year I was going to go out with a few friends for Tanz in den Mai. My then-boyfriend wasn’t going to be able to come until the next day, but I was going to go out with a few German friends and an Air Force friend stationed at Spangdahlem was going to come up with four friends. I had also been emailing and chatting with an American soldier for a couple of weeks, and I thought he might enjoy having a taste of this German celebration.

He had recently come back from a year in Iraq. When we first started emailing, I was almost disappointed. I had wanted another pen pal the desert, my own personal war correspondent (this was before milbloggers were really big). But, nevertheless we would chat occasionally, and he sent me quite a few pictures of his stay in the desert, and told me what he could. But he really didn’t have much to say. And he was a slow-typer.

Although we had a few things in common, a love of cycling and traveling, there was zero chemistry between us. Which was good, considering I had a boyfriend. So I had no reservations in asking him if he would like to celebrate May 1st with us too. I explained to him that my boyfriend would be arriving the next day so I couldn’t entertain him for long, but he was welcome to join us Friday night.

I went to go meet him at the train station. His train was late, but it didn’t bother me, as I had bought a book. I stood in front of the station occasionally looking up to see if someone resembling the photo I had seen was walking out. About 20 minutes later a young man walked out, with a black backpack and had a bouquet of flowers in his hands. And then he just stood there. I was bemused, thinking this was going to be cute to watch this man be reunited with his girlfriend (I am a sucker for those meeting scenes, like at the beginning and end of “Love Actually” of people seeing each other after having been apart for a while). And he just stood there, and I just stood there…and I started to think: “poor guy, his girlfriend is late, and he is standing there with this beautiful bouquet of flowers.” And then the penny dropped. But I still wasn’t that sure. And finally he decided he had been waiting too long, and he took out his cell phone and made a call. And I thought: “well, if the phone rings…” And my phone rang.

He said, “I am standing in front of the station.” And I asked: “Are you holding a bouquet of flowers?” “Yep.” “Well, then, I can see you.” He started looking around, and then saw me walking over to him. We hung up, and then I shook hands with the guy who was to become the love of my life, my vanilla ice-cream chocolate pudding pie, my banana that never split (5 gold stars for anyone who knows what I am quoting).

It was slightly awkward. He gave me the flowers, and I thought, “um, what part of “I have a boyfriend” didn’t he understand?" I gave him a tour of the cathedral. We had a few beers in a café. We bumped into a friend of mine, who was going to come over for dinner, and then we headed back to my place. He seemed very quiet and reserved and I thought, at least I wouldn’t get bored since we would be in a huge group that night.

Long story short: a month later I went to go visit him, and we have been together ever since. He is still quiet and reserved. He is still a slow typer. He still doesn’t talk that much about his job. But he is anything but boring. We have cycled together, gone skiing, traveled in eight different countries, and done many other things. By the way, total misrepresentation on his part: I never got any flowers again until Valentine’s Day this year...;-)

This morning I talked with him, and said: “hey, we met a year ago today.” And he replied: “What? We bet a year ago today? Huh?” “No, we MET.” “Oh, really? A year ago? Wow. Time flies.” Yep, time flies.

Happy May Day everyone!


Blogger Chris said...

I gotta give it to ya. You can write. Usually sappy stories about love and drama never keep my attention. This one held it all the way to the end.

It's funny how things work out. I wish you two the best, and a safe return for him.

9:05 PM  
Blogger katiedid said...

What a charming story! I am a big old sentimental sap for "how we started dating" stories.

4:24 AM  
Blogger FlyGuyTiliDie said...

What a cute story. Do you mind if I share this with the other guys in the unit (Big Windy)?

1:46 PM  

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