Ryan and I hadn't planned on doing anything for the 4th of July, thinking it was probably a bit weird since we are in Deutschland. But our friend Sarah, whom we met at church, invited us to hook up with Young Democrats Abroad for a picnic at a beergarden, and we couldn't pass that up. I spent a few hours making pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, and we met up for a lively evening. We met several new people, and as is first order of business when you meet another American abroad, commensed in Bush-bashing which led to "oh yeah, in my hometown...(insert redneck story)" which finally led to (mostly) meaningful conversation.
It was a very fun evening, including American-food reminiscing (someone brought hotdogs in a jar, just not the same!) and comparing notes about living abroad, homesickness, and our lack of German fluency. We didn't have any fireworks, but did managed to get chewed out twice by the Beer Frau for pushing tables together and taking extra forks. Dangerous! It is very nice to meet other Americans and share experiences. Apparently, its universally true that German men love to stare at girls on the U-Bahn. They won't approach you like American men, they just stare and sometimes wink before exiting...I'm glad that's happened to other people because it was beginning to freak me out.
Saturday we were excited to check out "Rewe Sommerfest" a carnival organized by our local grocery store. We showed up to Theriesenweise (Oktoberfest grounds)expecting rides and free samples. But what we found was bizarre. Basically it was glorified grocery shopping. There were booths where people bought 50-pound bags of chips, or buckets full of pineapples. Many people had Rewe wagons filled with palletes of soda and munchies. We were quite unprepared. There were also a few small children's rides, and a completely disturbing boy band performance featuring all-pelvic-thrusting choreography. I suddenly remembered that the freezer needed defrosting, so we left.
After church Sunday Sarah and Emily invited us to another 4th event at a different beer garden, which was supposed to be meetings of Democrats Abroad, German-American Business Association, Californians Abroad, and a few other organizations. It was gloomy weather but we went along. There weren't many Young Democrats Abroad, mostly the older kind. Sarah explained to me that when she and another girl moved to Germany they both wound up at a regular DA meeting and decided the organization was too weird and so formed the "Young Democrats Abroad." From their description, most of the DA are middle-aged conspiracy theorists, with a couple lechers thrown in. We had a nice picnic anyway, though as we left we got soaked by rain.
Although we are already too-obsessed with the elections (thank you CNN) we are thinking of joining the Young Democrats Abroad. I'm getting bored of Obama-McCain talk, but its nice to socialize. While I would like to socialize more with Germans, at this point the language barrier is proving too awkward for us to cross.