As I experience more and more years of being, um, alive, I’ve learned three important lessons:
1.) There isn’t a magic age where people figure things out: everyone is generally clueless for the vast majority of life;
2.) Stick to one kind of alcohol per night; and
3.) The time between August and Christmas is 10x faster than any other period of the year
You guys, really . . . is this the next stage of old age? No more prolonged anticipation periods? Am I going through anticipation menopause? No more anticipatory cramps? No more moodiness? Because it wasn’t that long ago when, if I had something exciting coming up on the horizon, the time would s l o w l y d r a g b y f o r w h a t s e e m e d l i k e f o r e v e r . . .
Now, everything happens in the blinkofaneye and it’s really disturbing me.
For example, I’m going on another trip, a relatively big trip, in 13 DAYS and it’s coming up so quickly that I don’t even know how to feel about it. I haven’t even had time to brag about it!
For those of you who don’t know, my sister has been living in Berlin since May. She’s in an au pair program, taking care of two little boys, and living with a German family. I don’t know why my family is being infiltrated by all things German, but it’s starting to get a little ridiculous. Thank god my brother doesn’t like white girls or else I’d be calling the History Channel. I think they’d be interested in a conspiracy theory about Germans weaseling their way into American families by seducing their most promising youth.
Oh, right, I’m not a youth.
Or very promising.
Aaaaaaanyway, when my sister moved to Germany, it was always my intention to go visit her at some point during her year there, but again, time has passed in a blink and half of her year has already passed.
Luckily, my parents must be part of this conspiracy and had the great idea to send me and my brother to Berlin for New Years’ as our Christmas presents. So perfect and amazing and so, so generous! Great parents to the rescue yet again!
Somehow (these things tend to happen in my family), this little rink-a-dink snowball of a sibling trip to Berlin has rolled into an 8-person, multi-country, multi-city, multi-currency gigantic snowman of a trip that can only be described as nothing less than a Euro-Extravaganza! Final headcount is me, my sister Brighid, my brother Conor, John, my cousins Katie and Colleen, Brighid’s best friend Cheyenne, and Brighid’s German boyfriend (see! it’s happening!) Erik.
I mean, why would 3 people meet in Berlin? That is so ridiculously boring. It’s much more fun to have 8 people travel from Budapest to Vienna to Prague and then to Berlin to ring in 2012 at a pace that would disturb Usain Bolt. Duh.
And if you can believe it, we actually have everything pretty much under control and at a low cost. All hotels/hostels are booked (including one slumber party night of all 8 of us in one dorm room), buses and trains are booked (well, mostly – anyone know the cheapest bus or train from Vienna to Prague?), and fun stuff to do and food to consume has been thoroughly researched. We’re going to be stuffing ourselves full of currywurst, goulash, schnitzel, glühwein, beer, and trdlo!
Traveling with a group as large as this is really challenging – I think especially when you all know each other. It’s hard to make sure that everyone is included and no one feels like they’re compromising their (especially in this instance) precious time by doing things that they don’t want to do. I don’t really know the best way to go about it, but I’m thinking that it’s probably good for everyone to be up front about what they want to do and feel free to split up into groups or go off alone, and then have a meeting point . . . whether it’s a meal or drinks or just hanging out in the hotel.
But, as we all know, when you travel, shit happens. Hotel reservations get lost or end up costing more, buses are cancelled, you miss a flight, you get freaking pink eye or the bubonic plague – you name it. I guess the best thing that you can do is to be prepared but remember that plans don’t normally work out the way you, uh, you know . . . planned.
But enough with the Greek chorus!
I just can’t believe that I’m going on a trip with this group of people! I can’t believe that I’m going to visit my sister who lives in Germany! There are so many crazy parts to this crazy trip that I can’t even really wrap my head around it, and as I said, it’s seemed to have happened so quickly that I can barely believe it’s real. Christmas time in Central Europe! With a very good selection of some of my favorite people on Earth! Unbelievable. When will it seem real?
Oh, probably when I contract some bizarre gum infection in Budapest.
That’s when I will be par for the course and shit will get totally real.