One of the "get-to-know-each-other" group activities the school planned was a running dinner. I had never heard of one before, although I guess it's a bit like a progressive dinner. Except in this case it took place all over Hamburg, which resulted in as much running as it did dinner...
My buddy and I met at 4pm to go shopping for the course we were to prepare. At my suggestion we made chili, with my mom's recipe, doubled, and then
converted to metric approximated. Amazingly, it came out pretty good given all that, the fact that German ingredients are not quite the same as the American ones I'm used to, and the miniscule amount of time we actually had to cook it. (And the fact that the part of my brain that does math seems to have withered. I was heard saying to my buddy, "3/4 of a pound of chopped meat, doubled, is, what? 3 kilos?") I'm also amazed I didn't slice off a finger with all the chopping I did, especially because when I did the onions and couldn't see through all my tears. But we got everything together and thrown into a pot, which we then let simmer while we raced out of the house and to another part of Hamburg (via foot and subway) for the appetizer course. Another foreign student and his German buddy had prepared a finely-made bruchetta, so we joined them and another pair for that.
Since we got there late, we pretty much ate and ran (literally and figuratively) back to my buddy's place to get ready for the two other pairs who were coming to our dinner course. The chili by then had nicely simmered and, with a 1.39 euro wine from Chile we'd picked out, we served the 5 guests who turned up eventually. It all seemed to go over well.
Then we headed over to another apartment for dessert, which seems to have been some sort of pudding and milkshakes spiked with Bailey's Irish Cream, and met still more foreign students and their German buddies.
Wrapping up around 11, the Hamburg night was still young and everyone headed over to a bar off the Reeperbahn. The Reeperbahn is Hamburg's red light district – it's full of adult establishments – but it's also a place with a lot of more mainstream nightlife. On Friday night it was still buzzing at 4am. Even *I* was still buzzing at 4am, although I kind of wondered what I was thinking – this is not my thing, staying out late drinking and partying. But the summer's almost over (classes start Monday!) and I'm in this new place, so what the hell...
(However, it should be noted that beer seems to be the cure for the common cold. Upon landing in Germany I became plagued by my usual sinus catastrophe, but three beers (and one glass of wine, and a spiked milkshake) later it seems to be gone.)