Thursday, May 10, 2007

17 April: Loud & Lively IWC Dinner

I took the U-Bahn to the IWC dinner tonight in Stuttgart-West – an Italian place called Giro Sole. I got off the U2 at the end of the line, Hölderlingplatz, then consulted my hastily-drawn map. While I was standing there trying to figure out which way to go, I was joined by Claudia (Argentinian woman from makeup day) and then Judy (British woman from the German dinner), who had both been on the same train with me. We all laughed at ourselves as we were standing there holding our maps and looking bewildered! Even with three female minds working together, we went the wrong way at first, but we soon found the restaurant, where a very loud and lively group of women was already gathered. It was a big group, including many familiar and some new faces. I sat with Judy, Claudia, a Belgian woman named Veerle, and a French woman named Maelynn, whom I’d met at the sushi lunch. I feasted on a delicious pizza with arugula, tomatoes, ham, and parmesan and a large glass of Pinot Grigio for 12 Euro. We talked a lot about the process of adjusting to a foreign country and then moving home again. Judy (who is getting married to a German in May; they are having their reception at Burg Hornberg!) and Veerle (who has lived all over the place but finally settled down in Germany with her German husband) commented that they both had difficulty maintaining friendships in their home countries because they found that people back home have a hard time relating to their experiences. We also talked a bit about our travels and Claudia positively raved about France. I think Maelynn was a little taken aback by her enthusiasm. Claudia, in her lovely, heavily-accented English, just couldn’t stop praising a wonderful lunch she had had in southern France – especially the “be-uuuu-tiful white porcelain!”

fter dinner I chatted with my friend Beth, who was sitting at the next table, and helped her finish off her second glass of wine (she doesn’t drink that often and had bitten off more than she could chew). Towards the end of the evening, Brenda’s husband showed up with two friends. Brenda turned to us and said, in that way only Brenda can, “Oh look, ladies, the strippers are here!”

We stayed until 10:00, when Beth’s husband picked her up, and then Judy and I walked together to the U-Bahn station. On the way home Judy told me that her husband works for the city's transportation department so she recently got to try her hand at driving a U-Bahn. She took a class and said she was really nervous the first time she "took the controls", as you have to learn all the signals and such. Of course she drove an empty train (I saw a "training" train once - I didn't notice that it was labeled Fahrschule, or "driving school" until the lady on the platform next to me pointed it out as I tried to open the door, which wouldn't open!) but she said she got the hang of it rather quickly and found it to be pretty fun!

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