Two blondes, a brunette and Schiller


Yesterday, Ingrid and I were honored by Anna’s first visit to my new apartment. Ingrid came home to find us sitting on my bed reciting Schiller. Isn’t that what you normally do with your 15-year-old friends? Maybe you should! When I asked her what she had been reading on the train, she answered “Kabale und Liebe” (engl.: Intrigue and Love) with a lack of enthusiasm, “it’s for school”. My face lit up and I explained excited that I also had to read it 13 years ago and loved it so much that I wrote my favorite quotes down and pinned them to my book shelf where they remained for ten years. Driven by my heart’s desire to get Anna into Schiller (who, next to Shakespeare, is one of my heroes), I read my favourite parts to her aloud. I was under the impression that she was quite amused, especially by the great Hofmarschall von Kalb, who figures as the jester, and whom my mom and I quote every now and then.

Ingrid came home and being the intellectual lady she is, she did not look too bewildered by the scene but instead asked if she should get my copy from the book shelf so we could read with assigned parts. In the end, we did not but she went to make us pasta with Mediterranean vegetables – vegetarian, healthy and pretty to look at.

After dinner, we entertained ourselves by learning how to pray the rosary (this sounds far weirder than it was. Anna had a bracelet with an integrated rosary and we noticed we don’t really know how to pray the rosary), trying to gain insight into which enneagram types we are and then we got our left-over helium balloons, inhaled the helium and read Schiller to each other again. I suppose you begin to understand why I do not need a TV to pass my evenings?



MARSHAL. You drive me distracted! Whom did you say? Von Bock? Don’t you know that we are mortal enemies? And don’t you know why?

PRESIDENT. The first word that I ever heard of it!

MARSHAL. My dear count! You shall hear—your hair will stand on end! You must remember the famous court ball—it is now just twenty years ago. It was the first time that English country-dances were introduced—you remember how the hot wax trickled from the great chandelier on Count Meerschaum’s blue and silver domino. Surely, you cannot have forgotten that affair!

PRESIDENT. Who could forget so remarkable a circumstance!

MARSHAL. Well, then, in the heat of the dance Princess Amelia lost her garter. The whole ball, as you may imagine, was instantly thrown into confusion. Von Bock and myself—we were then fellow-pages—crept through the whole saloon in search of the garter. At length I discovered it. Von Bock perceives my good-fortune—rushes forward—tears it from my hands, and, just fancy—presents it to the princess, and so cheated me of the honor I had so fortunately earned. What do you think of that?

PRESIDENT. ‘Twas most insolent!

MARSHAL. I thought I should have fainted upon the spot. A trick so malicious was beyond the powers of mortal endurance. At length I recovered myself; and, approaching the princess, said,—”Von Bock, ’tis true, was fortunate enough to present the garter to your highness; but he who first discovered that treasure finds his reward in silence, and is dumb!”

PRESIDENT. Bravo, marshal! Admirably said! Most admirable!

MARSHAL. And is dumb! But till the day of judgment will I remember his conduct—the mean, sneaking sycophant! And as if that were not aggravation enough, he actually, as we were struggling on the ground for the garter, rubbed all the powder from one side of my peruke with his sleeve, and ruined me for the rest of the evening.

Party Debrief

Compared to last weekend when Ingrid and I, exhausted from our tedious daily lives, sat on the sofas the whole Saturday evening, this weekend was very eventful. When I finally made it to my parents’ town (I had to ship off all the ebay stuff I had sold – which included my beloved collection of books on the Swedish royal family, I decided I can carry all the photos in the yearbooks 1977-2007 in my heart instead of having them in my book shelf), my mom and I embarked on a mission for which I was especially commission in my function as balloon-expert and color-scheme-connoisseur. Despite some difficulty and initial service-desert-Germany-feelings, we suceeded in buying 50 (in words: fifty) helium-filled ballons. While those were filled, we also shuttled guests to and from the train station with constant phone coordination (“Where are you? We need the car!”) to the planning headquarters, i.e. my parents’ house. We then took a car completely filled with balloons which fully obstructed the rear view. In short: there was a lot of commotion going on!



When I arrived to the party site, I made my way to the hotel room and it took me double as long as usual not only because that, let me say, estate was a true maze but also because I met all the guests in the hallway who had just come from their rooms. Very nice indeed, here a grandpa, there a friend of the family, hello, hello!

The glittering party started traditionally with a dinner buffet which was very delicious and my grandpa phrased what I also felt, “I wish we were like camels so we could eat now for the next eight days. But I am already full and tomorrow morning, I’ll be hungry and there will be none of this exquisite food left.” My thoughts exactly.

DJ Ingrid kicked off the night’s dance and quickly, the dance floor was filled with ecstatic (mostly) female relatives of mine shaking it. Previously, I have only been able to advertise DJ Ingrid because I am personally so fond of her, but now I can fully vouch for her excellent DJ skills. She managed to make the music flow so smoothly from one song to another, catering to all age groups’ needs (even my grandpa’s who nonchalantly waved to her every now and then), that everyone seemed to have their share of good fun. One sign for that is when my feet hurt like crazy and I am dead tired and still have to get up again and again because it’s that song and than that song and oh, that one!

I also had somewhat of an age epiphany. The family members that are younger than me used to always be children, but now they’ve grown up and some of them had become excellent party material. Such a joy to dance with the boy who suddenly is taller than you and the girl you used to babysit that now knows the same songs as you. One of my cousins had brought his girlfriend who was introduced to me with the words, “That’s Merle, she’s new”. This very young girl won my heart by saying, “Wow, you live in Hamburg, that must be so cool”, “I guess you’re older than me, you must be, like, already twenty or something”, and (to her boyfriend), “You never told me you had such a cool cousin”. Read and repeat: These are the kinds of things you should say if you want to make friends. 

The lavish celebration continued well into the wee hours, there was even a five story midnight birthday cake brought in by my mom, and unfortunately I do not have a single photo of anything. But they say those are the best parties: when you don’t have time to take photos.

This morning, I could definitely feel the effects of the late night yesterday, and we did little but entertain the far-travelled family and give Ingrid a dose of family exposure which she coped with brilliantly. (Maybe because so many other female relatives were also called Ingrid?)


Ingrid and I also stood at the door of the party location and gave away balloons to passing people this morning, thus accidentically giving the place a better reputation. From children to grandmas, everyone was very delighted.

Ingrid meets my cat. They instantly bond.

Ingrid meets my cat. They instantly bond.