Monday, May 22, 2006

instant rapport - just add sangria

Well, what can I say that everyone else hasn't already said? I had a lovely, lovely weekend seeing old friends again and meeting new ones.

Wikipedia tells us: Rapport is one of the most important features or characteristics of unconscious human interaction. It is commonality of perspective, being in "sync", being on the same wavelength as the person you are talking to.

I think the rapport between us all was phenomenal. I mean, you don't want to sit around in your pajamas with no make-up on with just anybody, right? It was like we all already knew each other and could talk about anything and everything. And believe me, we did. In fact I could have gone on talking for days.

My train arrived a mere 10 minutes late and Sparky was there to meet me. Only Sparky was at the front of the train station where he was supposed to be, and I, due to having zero sense of direction, landed out back. A quick phone call remedied that situation and I was whisked off to Jen and Sparky's wonderful home.

That place is awesome. Beautifully designed and decorated and on a gorgeous piece of property. They obviously made the right choice in moving there.

Lisa had arrived before me and was already talking up a storm with Jen and I just joined right in. I was so glad to finally meet her after reading her great writing day after day. She's just as wise and warm and unpretentious in person and it was incredibly easy to spend time with her.

I think Claire totally blew us away. All that life and youthful energy even after hours and hours on the train! Lisa compared Claire to sunshine, and she was right. When Claire walks into a room, a little ray of sunshine follows her. A certain German is a very lucky guy.

Jen, our beautiful hostess with mostest, is just pulling your leg when she claims she can't cook. She prepared four delicious meals, with drinks and snacks in between without batting any eyelid. That girl makes a wicked sangria, I tell you. I rarely drink, but I had to try some and I was impressed. I believe Jen is also available for private and group relationship counseling and psychotherapy sessions. She sure got my head straightened out. I feel like a new woman. In addition, she is also the source of many interesting and intriguing words and concepts that I swear I had never heard of before. I won't go into detail but if you visit Darmstadt, both your mind and your vocabulary will be expanded tenfold.

I only got to see J for about an hour before I had to head on home. He came bearing gifts and kept us well entertained. I look forward to meeting up with him again in a few weeks and taking the grand tour of Hannover because I know how much he likes to see those sights. There may be nachos involved.

And last but not least - Sparky, our Master of Ceremonies. What a great guy. I think all the girls will agree that he is now our Virtual Boyfriend, 'cause he's just about as close to perfect as you're going to get in the virtual boyfriend department. He took such good care of us and catered to our every whim. No, not what you think, but he makes a great cup of coffee and everything was very, very shiny at all times. Sparky, you did good, real good, and we all appreciate your kindness.

You know, every time I meet an expat blogger, I find a little bit of myself that I thought I had lost. As Jen said when we were talking on the weekend, meeting up like this gives you the chance to be yourself again in a world where you're constantly being pushed and pulled to fit in and be someone else. Meeting and talking in depth with other people in your situation gives you a renewed sense of hope and makes you able to go on, even if the going gets tough sometimes.

You guys are fabulous. Thank you.


At May 23, 2006 6:53 a.m., Blogger Expat Traveler said...

Christina, the visit sounds incredible and of course makes me wish I was in the near vacinty. And then Hannover next... sheesh...

I think one of the hardest things for me is finding friends who aren't flakey. It pisses me off that people here are like that. And of course many people just don't understand your situation is so true to that!

I'm so happy you guys had a great time!

At May 23, 2006 8:02 a.m., Blogger Lisa said...

" you the chance to be yourself again in a world where you're constantly being pushed and pulled to fit in and be someone else..."

That's perfect. You've captured exactly what made the whole thing so enjoyable. Re: the make-up - yes! When I peeked through the curtain and you guys were standing there chatting away, my first thought wasn't "eek!" but "why not?", and in seconds I was just as comfortable as if I'd been in my own home.

I know from years of attempting to be as small a target as possible around people who couldn't possibly begin to understand me, that's some kind of magic you don't find every day.

I don't have the words to adequately express what a lovely time this was and how lucky I feel to have met such wonderful people, but "fabulous" is a great start.

At May 23, 2006 9:30 a.m., Blogger Cynthia Rae said...

Nothing like getting away, meeting new girlfriends and speaking english! Sounds like you had a wonderful time!


At May 23, 2006 11:37 a.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

As I've said before, it sounds like this was "just what the doctor ordered" for all of you. You've all been bouyed up and energized. I love it for you. Little by little our virtual reality is expanding to be real!

At May 23, 2006 12:49 p.m., Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Wow, you girls had a fantastic time! It's so great to make new friends and connect so easily. I'm happy to hear that the weekend magic (like Lisa called it) worked for all of you!

At May 23, 2006 3:41 p.m., Blogger mar said...

Wonderful to read about this. Particularly since I am meeting a fellow blogger tomorrow who happens to be shortly in town! we haven't ever met but talked on the phone this morning :) have a lovely day!

At May 23, 2006 3:44 p.m., Anonymous Nori said...

When I read your today’s blog, I felt happiness. And I am GLAD that I am ONE of the people who can write it in your blog.
I didn’t know a word of “rapport”. But I read your blog, and learnt it was “very good meaning”.
And, IF I have my blog sometime, I want to experience ”both your mind and your vocabulary will be expanded tenfold” that you felt.

I saw the picture of the cake that you and Ms.Jen had made for Ms.Lisa on Mr.J’s blog.
It looks yummmmy and ladybug of chocolate was so lovely. :)


At May 23, 2006 7:48 p.m., Blogger Elemmaciltur said...

That sounds so much like fun....I feel as though I'm living in the wrong part of the country. *meh*

At May 23, 2006 11:00 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Expat - Yep, Vancouver is just FULL of flakey people. :-) :-) I know what you mean though. I don't think it's easy anywhere you go.

Lisa - Well, Jen said it first but I totally agreed with her. I'm so glad we could let it all hang out and feel comfortable with each other. You are a total sweethear, you know that?

cynthia - It was something very special. Seems like you have that with some of your girlfriends too when you get together.

ginnie - Oh yes, I love it when virtual reality and real life collide to produce something like this. :-)

Canadian Swiss - It was a blast. Maybe we'll all get to meet YOU sometime before you move.

Mar - I'm betting your meet-up turned out wonderfully. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to meet you? :-)

Nori - You always write the sweetest comments. I'm really looking forward to you starting a blog - we would all be over there in a minute to read it.

Elemm - You HAVE to come to the next blogger meet up. Are you still going to be here in Oct/Nov?

At May 24, 2006 12:25 a.m., Blogger Dixie said...

I was thinking about y'all the whole weekend. I couldn't be happier that y'all had such a good time together!

At May 24, 2006 3:00 a.m., Blogger Cathy said...

It is so nice that you are able to meet with your blog friends and suddenly they are not just blog friends any more. I wish some of mine were closer...

At May 24, 2006 9:00 a.m., Blogger EuroTrippen said...

sounds like a great time! I'm just sorry I missed it...

At May 24, 2006 9:20 a.m., Blogger Samantha said...

Wow, that sounds like a great weekend and exactly what you needed. I agree, you got it exactly right when you said we're always being pushed and pulled and molded to fit in, and it's tiring. I had a similar weekend this past weekend, where I met up with 3 other Americans, it was just so easy. I laughed more than I've laughed in a LONG time.

Sometimes in a foreign country, you're friends with other expats just because you're in the same situation or speak the same language, etc so it's a treat when you find people you would've been fast friends with back home. I hope you can all get together again soon!

At May 24, 2006 10:15 a.m., Blogger J said...

Yum! Nachos!

At May 24, 2006 11:08 a.m., Blogger Alison said...

Sounds like a great time! It is so true that as many friends as you have, only the other expats truly understand what this life is like.

At May 24, 2006 2:56 p.m., Blogger christina said...

Dixie - We thought about you too! Next time you HAVE to be there.

Cathy - They're even better in real life!

Eurotrippen - Well hopefully there won't be any more little mishaps and you'll be able to be there next time.

Samantha - That's so true- just because someone speaks your language doesn't mean that she/he really speaks your language. It was really nice to speak English to someone other than my kids though. :-)

J - I have a two for one coupon!!!

Alison - Well, yes, sometimes you just need someone to whine to who won't tell you how fabulous your life is just because you live in Europe. Europe has dirty dishes and laundry too. :-)

At May 24, 2006 6:09 p.m., Blogger lily b said...

Sounds like a fantastic weekend. I wish all my favorite bloggers weren't so far away. :(

At May 24, 2006 11:59 p.m., Blogger Lisa said...

:) Thank you ma'am.

At May 25, 2006 12:06 p.m., Blogger Claire said...

(Claire blushing) Aren't you sweet! I am definitly looking forward to more meetings. We will blow the roof off northwest Germany. In a very calm, refined way of coarse.


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