Monday, December 01, 2008

When it rains . . . throw a shower

Yesterday I hosted a Bridal Shower for the New Yorker. My friend and ex-business partner is getting married in just 3 short weeks. Although I do not talk about her much here (mainly out of respect for her privacy), she has been an important part of my life the past few years. In fact as unlikely as her story is, it is absolutely true.

Like many an ex-pat, the New Yorker came to Germany for love. After having enough of the rat race in NYC she decided to take a tour of Europe in 2000. During that trip she met a man. A German man. Itching for something new, she took him up on his offer to hang out in Germany for awhile. 3 months quickly turned into 4 years and she went from being an accountant to an English teacher.

We met 4 years ago at that "other" language school. I was supposed to observe her teach and she was to my supervisor in C-burg. When we met we instantly bonded. We were both American! And women! And the same age! And in Germany for the same reason! Trust me, at that time I did not meet many women in a similar place in life as me.

Unfortunately, the New Yorker's life hit a bumpy patch. Work was frustrating and unfulfilling and the relationship that had brought her to Germany was coming to an end. She did not know what to do next. I spent many hours listening, wishing that I could help.

I was also looking for something. Giving up academia left a hole in my life and as much as I like teaching English, I needed something more. Through our mutual frustrations, our language school was born. And it was great. Despite the work, it was a joy to go to the office and watch something grow.

And then I got pregnant. The New Yorker took the news a bit harder than I expected, but now I understand why. She had moved to C-burg for our little company, and she was very alone. For the first time she lived on her own. Work was great, but she did not have much of a private life. Let's also say that C-burg does not offer many opportunities for the young, American professional. During that time she even contemplated moving back to the U.S.

Enter the Doctor. As part of our "public relations" boost, we held a monthly English stammtisch at the local Irish Pub. That's right, there in an Irish Pub in C-burg. The Doctor had seen the advertisement and in June 2007 dragged a friend of his with him. He was born in Africa (to German parents) and speaks fluent English. Turns out that he was also frustrated with the limited social scene.

The New Yorker was hesitant. The Doctor was persistant. After a while I was consouling her on writing the best emails. By January 2008 they were living together, and now they are getting married.

For awhile she was the best bride. As with many professional women in their 30s, the New Yorker had given up hope of a husband and a family. I don't think she believed that it was all truely happening. However, her better judgement finally kicked in and she got everything planned. They are getting married in Florida, but we will not be able to attend. After spending 24 hours getting to the U.S., packing the Dude into a car and driving 9 hours just does not seem like a good idea.

The Bridal Shower was my way of sparking her bridal energy and participating. I feel terrible that I cannot go. The New Yorker was my boss and then my partner and now she is my boss again. When we ended the partnership, things were bad between us for awhile. But like good friends do, we found our way back to each other.

The shower was hysterical. The German women in attendance ate up all of the Americana, including the classic bridal shower game, "Toilet Paper Wedding Dress." I was pretty impressed by what they came up with. There were tears and smiles and it was a complete success, just as I am sure her wedding will be.

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