My second semester as a student in Göteborg I signed up to be a Student Buddy, which meant that I was involved in the welcoming of international students who did their semester abroad at Handels in Göteborg. In hindsight I can easily say that it was one of my best decisions so far!
During this first semester as a Student Buddy I became part of a tight group of seven people who hung out a lot from january until the end of the summer when the last person left Göteborg. This group was increased by some international students who had been on their exchange in Göteborg during the autumn semester in 2004, before I started my Student Buddy career, and who were friends with the people I had gotten to know. So, besides me the group consists of a girl from Canada, another from Italy, a third from Austria, a fourth from Germany and a fifth from Finland as well as three german and two potuguese men.
Ever since we met in 2005 we have made it a tradition to meet up somewhere in Europe for a week or a weekend to reminisce about old times and to make new memories. Despite the years passing we have always been at least 8 people making it to the reunions. The first year we met in Paris, the second year in Portugal, the third year in Athens and this fourth reunion took all of us but 2 to Freistadt, Austria where we got to witness the wedding of one of the members of our reunion group.
I arrived in Linz in the afternoon of midsummer’s eve, the 19th of june. Luckily one of the germans also flew to Linz so we met up for a coffee at the train station before continuing the journey to Freistadt together. Thanks to a very helpful nun we managed to get off at the right station despite the fact that the names of the stations were not called out, something I found utterly bizarre..
It was a rainy day in Freistadt but nevertheless the mood was great! On arrival at the inn I saw that the italian girl and her boyfriend had already arrived and I hadn’t seen her since the reunion in Portugal two years ago so after checking in we had a Freistadt beer with her and her boyfriend while awaiting the arrival of the others. Next to arrive was one of the portuguese and his girlfriend, whom I had never met before but heard a lot of good things about and was curious to get to know. They also joined us for beers and when hearing that the last bunch, who were arriving together, were delayed until eleven o’clock due to some train issues, the six of us decided to go out for dinner.
All but two of us ordered a schnitzel dish where we got to try three different types of the traditional schnitzel. It was really tasty! By the time the rest of the group arrived we had already managed to consume about 2 litres of beer per person and conversations ran very smoothly! We all stayed at the restaurant until just after midnight, being the birthday of one of the germans on the 20th we had to celebrate the beginning of his day with a schnaps before returning to the inn. The schnaps was really awful though and I would have happily returned to the inn and my awaiting bed without it!
At the day of the wedding most of the morning was spent preparing for the wedding ceremony. We all dressed up from head to toe, was so nice to see the guys looking all fancy. Even the cars were pimped with bow’s before we drove to the church which was located in a small village outside Freistadt. We took our positions in the procession, put on our little bunch of herb on our chests to signal whether or not we were married and then started the walk behind the bride and groom to the church where I spent 90 minutes watching a priest speaking a language of which I did not get much more than the word liebe. I think it was his most frequently used word though so I didn’t do too bad.
After the ceremony we were all handed a balloon and a note each on which we were to write down a wish for the wedding couple which was to be tied to the balloon and released into the sky. It was pretty impressive to see all those red heart shaped balloons fly off into the sky. Will be fun to see how many of these wishes that are actually returned to the bride and groom though, considering they got married in the middle of nowhere I can imagine that a big part of them will just end up in the forest where no man will ever find them.
After the release of the balloons we got to congratulate the newly weds before returning to Freistadt where we had a guided tour around the old parts of the city to attend. This tour would probably have been very interesting, had I understood german. As the guide didn’t speak english I had to rely on a friend to translate for me which caused a lot of the information to be lost along the way. It was a nice walk though!
Once done with the tour we rushed back to the inn and finished pimping our wedding gift before rushing on to the location at which the dinner and party was to be held. It was a beautiful setting with white lillies and chandeliers. Dinner tasted great and so did the cake. Personally I preferred the cake’s coating of white chocolate! Yummie!
A lot of wine was consumed during the hours spent at the wedding party and the dance floor got its fair share of dancers during the course of the evening. I sure did my part and I had such a great time in the process! At about one o’clock us youngsters moved on to Freistadts biggest club (I would call it a bar) where the party was continued until the early morning. Quite a memorable evening I must say!
Sunday morning I was so close to missing out on breakfast due to waking up a bit late. I rushed in just minutes before ten though. Luckily I wasn’t the last one to arrive and we all got our breakfasts without any comments about the time.. After breakfast we packed up, got divided into cars, said our goodbyes and left in different directions. 7 of us spent a day in Linz before flying back to our different destinations, completely exhausted after yet another action packed reunion.
I was happy to be back in my own bed late sunday night, but I am already looking forward to the next reunion, be it in Finland, Sweden or Ireland. And this time I hope that the two missing people of the group will be able to join us for the fifth reunion of “One Two Sheep”.