Instead of typing up a day by day journal of my second trip in Germany, I will summarize it by saying that it was my most memorable experience so far and I am extremely grateful to Uncle Dick for his generosity and gift to bring me to Germany again. His son Patrick was my best man. Patrick and I have been friends since 1987. I was nervous asking him to be my best man earlier this year, but when he accepted, I felt so relieved. Patrick was always someone who helped me with my travel phobia. When I am traveling with others, I feel stressed out and scared, but with Pat, I feel a lot better.
Similar to that of my first trip to Germany, there was huge possible obstacle in our way. The bulk of Vancouver Airport staff was threatening to go on strike on the same weekend we were due to fly out. So for weeks, I panicked and swirled down into an abyss of depression and anxiety attacks. Regardless of the news, Uncle Dick told me that the possibility of them going on strike is minimal, but knowing the chances of problems around the world affecting my trip plans, it wasn’t so easy for me to just accept that and stay calm. Fortunately, we were able to fly out and not only did we fly out, but we received First Class seating! I flew on Executive Class before on Cathay Pacific, but that was in 1993 before my car/bike accident. So flying First Class on Air Canada was quite a treat. Problem was my television didn’t work and by the time they came around with my meal, oatmeal was the only thing left. It was very comfortable nevertheless. I went to the washroom very little.
Uncle Dick decided some weeks in advance to give me a short tour of Toronto and some of the surrounding areas. It was my first time in Toronto. There, we met up with Patrick because he was already there some weeks prior. I met up with an old buddy named Alex who is also Pat’s cousin and their other cousin Elizabeth. We had a really good time that night.
Uncle Dick and I stayed over at Elizabeth’s mom’s house. She was a very gracious host. I also met her husband Uncle Stanley who is unfortunately dealing with last stage cancer.
The next day, Uncle Dick gave me a drive around to where he and his family used to live when Pat was still a baby. They lived at a duplex and then a bungalow.
We met up with Pat at the airport and flew out to Frankfurt. We got there around noon and after dropping off our stuff at the hotel, we walked around outside and visited some places. There was a bridge with tons and tons of locks. This seemed to be a popular thing in Europe. I first saw this in a television drama named “Triumph In The Skies II”. I told Amber we should do that one day in Frankfurt.
That evening, we walked around looking for a restaurant. The food wasn’t bad, but that restaurant didn’t tell us that the cost of the food was calculated for four people, even though there was three of us. So in essence, they ripped us off without making it clear in the beginning. Then again, I would also say it was partially our fault for not knowing.
The washroom was strange. There was a woman sitting a table with mobs and a bucket around her. Apparently, she’s the cleaning lady and there was a jar of money for tips. Tradition is that we go in there, use the facility, then tip her something. Even though she did absolutely nothing. The least I ‘expected’ was for her to help me pee, wash my hands for me and spray me with perfume, but I received none of that.
We also met a ‘Russian doctor’ who ‘taught us’ how to use the hand dryer by pushing the button with his elbow. In very broken English mixed with Russian and German, he told us about his doctor abilities and political ideals. He was obviously drunk.
Once we paid up and left for our hotel again, our walk back was pretty nice. We passed by a group of teenage girls who seemed to want to bum some cigarettes off of us. As we walked passed them, I said something in English which made Pat laugh his ass off.
The next day, after we had our breakfast and went to pay for our stay, the very rude front desk clerk and new owner told me that the phone call I made was billed per 100 units rather than per minute and I had to pay 25 Euros for a ten minute phone call. Before I made the call, I went downstairs and asked the front-desk clerk and he had told me it was 25c a minute. He never once mentioned they were going to charge per 100 units. Not only that, they were different owners than the last time we stayed there. Unfortunately, it’s a blur at the moment.
So we paid our bill and headed over to the Frankfurt Main Station, boarded our train, went into our comfortable cabin in Economy Class and about five hours later, arrived in Kiel. Amber stood right where our train coach stopped at. Ha! She was not late at all this time! ^_^
My best mate after hearing about her so much, finally met my fiance. I was so happy and to have Uncle Dick see Amber again just added the cherry on top.
At the back of the Kiel Main Station, Pat and Uncle Dick went their separate ways towards their hotel which was just a few minutes of walking from the station northward. Amber and I took a cab to her apartment. This time around, we spent more time taking the taxi than the bus and walking.
Back at her apartment, she had painted her walls white. She wanted to give me a nice welcome with a fresh new look. She also redecorated her apartment with some stuff. Since Vogel died, the birdcage became a short of shelf for jewelry and pictures.
The day was very good. The next day was even better. We went out to dinner with Uncle Dick and Pat at Hemmingway. Amber and I designated that Hemmingway since my first trip there, would be ‘our place’ where we have to go to at least once every time I’m back there. It has a very nice ambiance and the food is quite good.
After dinner, we walked a bit and those two left. Amber and I wandered in the city centre a bit. She was quite drunk and I was having a great time watching her being drunk and playful. It turned into an even more memorable night.
The next day, we had to head over to Schonberg and meet with the town hall agent. Amber’s uncle graciously took time out of his busy schedule and drove all of us there. He even stopped at a couple of places to show us some very cool straw-made items.
Schonberg was also where I met Nadine for the first time and where I had to get my wedding ring band adjusted because it was too large. A bit of our marriage planning stress shown through that day, but all was still good as we kept our cool and met with the town hall agent. Once we were done, we went to get some yogurt ice cream. I noticed my dark chocolate mint ice cream wasn’t very good actually.
After some time later, Amber left with her family and I went to the hotel room with Pat and Uncle Dick. I didn’t have trouble sleeping that night, after Uncle Dick broke out the white wine, caviar and smoked salmon with mushy bread. However, I did wake up in the middle of the night to find Pat completely awake. He couldn’t sleep for some reason.
On the morning of my wedding, I wasn’t nervous, but I was anxious. I was anxious to see Amber. My morning was almost perfect, except that the battery on my camera had to be changed to the crappy battery pack. Which fortunately recorded most of the ceremony, but didn’t last passed that.
For months, she told me she was given a traditional gown by a relative of hers to use as her marriage outfit. We couldn’t afford getting one at such short notice. So to my utter surprise, when she arrived, she was in a full blown wedding gown. I couldn’t stop smiling.
Throughout the entire ceremony, I was very calm and listened and watched the Marriage Officiant and Nadine’s translations intently. I turned to Amber every now and then, while holding her hand the entire time. When we exchanged wedding rings and kissed, it was right then and there that my life suddenly started a new milestone and with someone I love and adore.
Who would have thought we would find each other on the other side of the planet, fall in love and get married after three years?
Most of her family on her mom’s side was there, including people from her mom’s dog training place. The only people on my side was Uncle Dick and Pat. There was no way my parents could make it considering the cost of everything.
The following images represent my wedding day much better than words, but I have to mention that in some of the pictures, you may see broken dishes on the ground outside the banquet hall. Guests would bring them and throw them against the ground or wall. This was to help ward off curses and such. Later that evening, Amber and I would have to help each other clean it up, while her relatives try to make a mess of things. It was a show of team work and to protect each other. Amber did a fantastic job of protecting me. I think I did a pretty good job of cleaning. I take the cleaning bit from my mom.
The rest of the days were just spending lots of time with Amber. She took the two weeks off from work. We also had a nice dinner at her place, which Nadine and her cooked up for Pat, Uncle Dick and myself and of course the ladies themselves. Departure day wasn’t easy, but I assured her that this new milestone in our life is the first step in bringing her over to Canada to meet the rest of her new family and to start a new life with her here.
I look forward to the day where we can finally be together and support each other emotionally. The distance between us has provided a way to test our resolve and sincerity and with all the support our families have provided, it’s just a matter of time before we are in each others arms again.
I love you darling. You are the rock of my life. ♥