My month off is drawing to a close and oh what a ride it has been!

In early December I arrived back in Munich from Mexico full of big plans and very much looking forward to a break filled with friends, family, a new boyfriend and fun. The first week I spent as much time as possible with my Munich friends and working on my much neglected apartment. I celebrated another birthday and as far as those things go when you reach a certain age it was a nice one. I celebrated the night before with some of my friends to toast in the day and the next evening with my boyfriend over a nice dinner and bottle of wine.

The second week saw the arrival of my sister and her boyfriend. I had tears in my eyes when they arrived at the airport. Three years since they had been here and I was so excited to see them in town and show them around during the Christmas season. The weather took a turn for the cold, then colder but we also had a full week of beautiful snow. We went hiking, sledding, skiing in Austria, tested out glühwein and feuerzangenbowle, visited the famous Hofbrauhaus and less famous bars, ate Bavarian food, shopped for yarn, ornaments and my very first Christmas tree and generally a good time was had by all. All too fast it was over and we were flying out on the 19th back to the US.

I spent one week in Connecticut with my family and also trying to keep up with the Facebook phenomenon - seeing old friends who I have become reacquainted with due to Facebook. Perhaps I will write up a bit of those experiences at a later date.

I cooked Christmas Eve (bleu-cheese crusted filet mignon, apple and gorgonzola salad and scalloped potatoes) and Christmas day (appetizers, turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry sauces, green beans, caramel apple pie) dinners. Poor Dad volunteered to do all the food shopping with me not realizing how slow and painful I am with that stuff. Mom and I did our traditional spa/girl-bonding day. I visited all my grandparents and my aunt. I even found some time to photograph and play with all the cats my friends and family own. By all accounts a good visit, although it is always a bit sad to leave again.

I arrived back in Munich this past Sunday very much looking forward to the New Year build up and party. For a few months now my friend C. from Norway had planned to come spend a few days in Munich. Two other friends, married to each other, were also planning on visiting for a couple of days although a personal situation and some travel problems kept them from joining. As hectic as everything had been with visits and travel, I hadn't seen or heard too much from the new boyfriend and was looking forward to some time with him too. We had planned to join all the friends up and spend New Year's together at one of the big brauhaus's in town and I anticipated a very fun time for the gang.

However, on returning I got that kind of 'something is off' feeling from Mr. New BF. He was acting very aloof and despite not having seen much of each the last couple of weeks, he didn't seem to be too anxious to see me when I returned. I chalked it up to the fact that he had his own visitors in town and was running them around sightseeing, snowboarding and the usual drill. My friend C. arrived and we got busy with our own plans. She had never been to Munich although we have been friends for a few years now. Despite the cold rainy weather, I wanted to at least show her some of the beauty and charm of Munich.

I have to say that New Year's is my least favorite holiday as a general rule. It makes people a bit too crazy in my opinion. Everyone tries to take stock of their lives, assess the year past, make goals for the future year and the Life Happiness Barometer is out. There is a lot of anxiety around the plans for the actual night with the exception of the few who just choose not to deal with it at all. And I have seen way too many NYE plans falling short or over the top, in the end leading to disappointment, arguments, and much money spent on a letdown.

Being the overthinker that I am, I did my personal 2009 assessment and found that while there were some highlights, it wasn't really my best year. I spent a lot of it coping. Coping with the aftermath of my breakup with M., coping with a somewhat disappointing year in my career, coping with short term apartments, frequent moves, lots of long distance travel, and coping with a general sense that my life had become kind of aimless and lonely. Yes, I wasn't too unhappy to see 2009 in the rearview mirror.

I realized there were some good things about 2009 too though. First and foremost, the decision to come back to Munich, get a home base and start putting down some roots was the best part. Seeing those seeds I planted start to grow as I learn more about the city, make more friends and feel like there is some anchor in my life has been worth the fight.

As New Year's Eve day started I made peace with my mixed feelings on 2009 and looked forward to the evening ahead and the start of 2010. Then the other shoe dropped. Mr. New Boyfriend decided to call it quits on us. There are not too many words to express how I felt yesterday when the rug was pulled out from under me. Even though I sensed something was not right, I thought once we got past the holidays we could reconnect and see how things would go. However, with things just getting started, there wasn't enough of a foundation to see us through the last weeks, at least on his side.

So I did what I do when these things happen. I went for a long run. I didn't spend too much time trying to find an explanation or criticizing him or myself. There was too much of that already this past year. I just wanted to clear my head, accept it and start the process of moving on.

I was a bit in the lurch too about what to do for NYE. With my friend in town, I still wanted to have a fun night, as much as possible but it is not easy in Munich to just drum something up a few hours ahead of time. There is much to be said about serendipity though. After a couple of hours getting dolled up with my hairdresser, who did our hair, makeup and generally pumped up our mood with his flirtation, flattery and funny outlook on life, we soon found ourselves having dinner with a bunch of Scots at one of my friend's houses. Haggis anyone? And can you not help but feel a little better listening to a bunch of Scottish accents and wit? From there we headed off to P1, where we had managed to get on the guest list for their masquerade ball. I still had never been to the famous P1 and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. We donned our masks and headed into what has to be one of the coolest clubs I have ever been to. We stayed there for champagne toasts, then watched their amazing fireworks display outside. An hour later we headed through the streets of Baghdad, err I mean post-midnight Munich, to my favorite bar for a bit more dancing and to catch up with more friends. It was, all things considered, a good night and no tears shed, thank you.

So today the girls are coming over to enjoy a delicious smoked salmon my friend C. brought from Norway, served traditional Norwegian style. I will go for another run. And so the New Year starts....

Happy New Year everyone!! Much love, health, happiness and positivity for 2010!

Posted from my home in Munich


CanadianSwiss said...

Happy New Year, Michelle! Wishing you all the best in this new decade! :-)

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! It sounds like, despite some disappointments, things have really been coming together for you in Munich. Here's to a great 2010!

Mandi said...

Ahh, the holidays. Sounds like you're ready to start 2010 with a good solid foundation. Frohes neues and all the best!

Expats Again said...

Happy New Year! Let the good times roll!

Anonymous said...

it's definitely been a challenging year for you but i see a positive trend that the relationship that wasn't meant to be ended before the bells rang in the new year. must mean that all the crappy things were happening in 2009 to make way for all of the awesome things that are going to happen in 2010.

so...good riddance 2009, welcome 2010!

have a great time with your new place and all of your fun, little special dishes that only europeans have. ;-)

My open roads said...

Bestest wishes for you in 2010! Sorry 2009 had to end on a break-up note :( Your night out sounds awfully fun and lets hope that will predict a fun filled awesome new year days for you!

Anonymous said...

i think i'm a little bit in love with you. glad that other dude is out of the picture

Michelle said...

Aww, that's sweet :-)