Recently it seems as though there is a steady influx of Germans entering my life, which I suppose is only entirely apropos as I progress toward my move there (which, on another note, is now a little more than six months away). The most recent of these Germans to enter my life is Parjanya.
Now I know that’s not exactly a German name, but he just happens to have an Indian name (as do the rest of his siblings), yet comes from a little town near Frankfurt am Main. We met on Couchsurfing after I had been perusing Germans in the area, in hopes of finding someone to meet up with and practice my speaking on. It turns out he moved here a few months ago to pursue a B.A. in Journalism (which is exactly what I happen to have) and we also share various other interests, so after exchanging a few messages and texts, he met up with me on Thanksgiving Eve at the Fox Theater, after I was done covering a show. Although the atmosphere was quite loud and made it difficult to carry on substantial conversation, he seemed engaging and well-spoken, so later on I asked him if he was interested in coming up north for a couple days and he gladly accepted the offer.
I picked Paji up on Friday evening after having spent the afternoon braving the Black Friday crowds in Berkeley with Elia. Once we arrived in Santa Rosa, he was immediately subjected to meeting most of my family, who proceeded to barrage him with a series of German phrases and lots of questions. But he took it like a champion.
The next morning we woke to a pancake breakfast my mother had prepared, and then three of us (myself, Paji and my brother) set out for Cloverdale to meet up with our friends Matt and Elyce. Together, the five of us carpooled to Geyserville, where we hit up Locals, Meeker and Terroirs and got significantly buzzed, although not without walking away with various bottles of wine between the five of us. Highlights included: so many delicious wines (of course), playing “Your Team” (or “Deine Mannschaft”), taking ridiculous photos, grabbing a satisfying bite to eat at Catelli’s, icing a bro (that would be all me), and lounging by the fireplace at our last destination.
After parting ways with Matt and Elyce, we made our way down to Healdsburg where we managed to sneak in some tasting at Hawley before it closed for the evening. Afterward, we walked down the town square for drinks and dinner at Spoonbar (where we were briefly joined by my brother’s girlfriend) which ended up being a nice way to relax after being on our feet for most of the day.
Dinner out of the way, we drove back to Santa Rosa and immediately headed downtown to the Arlene Francis Center in order to catch the tail-end of an all-day fundraiser concert where a lot of my friends’ bands played. We were fortunate enough to see Hanalei, Not To Reason Why, Odd Bird, Goodriddler and the Velvet Teen, which I think was a pretty accurate snapshot of Sonoma County music.
I ended up driving Paji back to the city on Sunday evening, but not without spending a lot of time talking (in English and German) and helping one another with our writing and speaking. On the car ride back, we talked about his experiences before and up to his move to the United States, and the emotional gamut that he underwent, which I no doubt will also experience when I move to Germany. Hell, I’m experiencing the start of it already. But it was nice to have found a new ally in someone who is not only interested in a lot of the things I am, but is also going through the same things I am, albeit a stage or two ahead of me.
One thing is for sure: I’ve definitely made a new friend. My family likes him and he seems to like them as well. And even though he’s had no problem slipping into the sibling-esque role which entails forming an alliance with my big brother and giving me grief about all sorts of things (namely my German-speaking), I can tell he’s going to be a challenge (the good kind) for me to work on and improve my language acquisition.
And hopefully, there will be a few more adventures in wine tasting in the time I have left here…