It’s not over till the men unbutton their pants

Today marks the fourth week since I left Kansas, meaning tomorrow I will have officially been in Germany for a whole month! It’s kind of hard to believe my time here is already a quarter over :(. But I don’t want to think about that right now. I’d rather talk about all the fun stuff from this past weekend!I’m going to go ahead and say I think I weigh about 5 pounds heavier after this weekend. First, on Saturday it was the birthday of one of the international students from China, Bin. There were about 10 of us who gathered in his apartment for a sumptuous feast of authentic Asian food prepared by him and another one of our friends, Tan, from Singapore. Though it wasn’t exactly like “American” Chinese food, it was more similar than I had expected, with chicken and sweet and sour sauce and the works. All of us brought something to contribute, preferably something representative of our own country. I brought peanut butter and jelly (of which no one actually partook :)). Valentina, a student from Italy, made real tiramisu, and the usual tradition was kept: we put candles on the cake and sang “Happy Birthday”–only we sang it in 3 different languages: English, German, and Chinese! Surprisingly enough, the Chinese version is to the same tune as the English version.After we’d had our cake and were thoroughly stuffed, Chris and I left for another party (where there was MORE food to eat!) that one of our German friends from International Student Team, Janina, had invited us to at her apartment. We were the only non-German students there. Though I love hanging out with the international students, it was good for us to get to know some more Germans and speak with them. This was the first time I actually felt like I might finally be getting a grasp on the language. One of the girls there happened to be in one of my classes, and I ended up talking to her and some other people for at least a couple hours. A few of us ended up playing “Mafia”–turns out that game is known worldwide!On Sunday one of our other friends, Anna, had us over for lunch. Her family is Italian, so her mom made us a traditional Italian meal. And how traditional it was! I’d heard before that Italians serve big meals–including the saying, “The meal’s not over till the men unbutton their pants” (yes, that’s what my potentially racy-sounding title refers to :)). But I’d had no idea! The first portion was a plate of pasta, and I was plenty stuffed just after that. But it had just begun. The next plate consisted of lettuce salad and a big piece of baked chicken. I tried to tell Anna’s mom that I really didn’t need anything else, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. Once I managed to put away a few bits of that, she offered me a crepe with Italian ham and cheese. I only got about 2 more bites of that down. But we hadn’t even gotten to dessert yet! I won’t bore you with any more details, but let’s just say I had to find a way to put away a serving of lemon ice cream with pineapple, a piece of tiramisu, and a piece of cherry cake. Needless to say…that was the last meal I needed for the rest of the weekend!