Sunday, July 14, 2013

Two hens are better than one

Summer has finally arrived to Germany after what seemed like a never ending Winter! The GerMann and I actually did manage to escape the cold though for a one week Easter trip to Gran Canaria.

Gran Canaria, or any of the Canary islands are great spots to visit when the weather is bad elsewhere as you can normally expect temperatures of around 23 degrees. There are also long sandy beaches though the water is a bit on the cold side! I'm sure we'll go back again sometime as we had a great trip.

Back in Germany April and May were pretty miserable months, cold with lots of rain. My hay fever which I only developed since moving here (a little "welcome to Germany present") was also really bad for a few weeks. It's worst in April and May when the trees are blooming.

In Germany there are a lot of public holidays which is fantastic but for some reason most of them seem to fall in May! It was brilliant to get four extra days off in May, but I would much prefer if the public holidays were more spread out- like over June, July and August. As it stands, the next bank holiday here isn't until October. Since June the weather has changed quite dramatically for the better. And it was a great month since I got to have not one, but two hen parties!

Since the wedding is in Ireland, I knew I wanted to also have my hen party there with my good friends. This was the "official" hen party, planned by my bridesmaids- mainly my maid of honour, my sis. But my circle of friends here also said they would like to celebrate with me and they decided to plan a party for me. Both events were kept secret- I knew the time and day but not what was going to happen, and both were in June, only two weekends apart. I had given a few guidelines beforehand on what sort of things I wouldn't like- nothing too tacky or embarrassing! The two parties were perfect in their own way.

The Irish one was more "girl's night in" style. We stayed in a lovely spa hotel in Westmeath and got beauty treatments and had a pyjama party. I also got lots of time to catch up with everyone, and it was so lovely meeting my friends again, especially the childhood friends who I have known a very long time! That's a lot of shared history there! It was such a lovely weekend. It felt so strange at the end saying my goodbyes knowing the next time I see everyone will be when I'm back in Ireland again for my wedding!! I'll see the bridesmaids on the wedding morning but everyone else not till I'm at the church in my wedding dress!!

One of my friends from here also travelled with me to Ireland for my Irish hen. It was really nice to mix both my worlds- for my Irish friends to meet one of my best friends in Germany and for her to meet my friends from home. When I was back for the weekend it was also fun to see Ireland from a tourist point of view, the weather was phenomenal- it didn't rain once and we had deep blue sunny skies. So now she thinks that we Irish just tell people it rains a lot in Ireland in order to not have to share our wonderful country! The whole weekend reminded me how much I love Ireland, my family and my friends from home, and made me really want to visit more often. I was also very homesick for the few days after I got back to Germany- until I settled back into my German life again.

It was nice having my German hen to look forward to though. I should mention that it was not typical German style hen, or "junggesellenabschiedsfeier" as they call it auf Deutsch. A typical German hen involves the girls going around with baskets and selling little trinkets such as little bottles of liqueur to people to fund their drinking for the night!

For my German hen we had a brunch followed by a treasure hunt then afternoon tea (with champagne of course) and then dinner and dancing in a club. Feel so lucky to have made such a nice group of friends here. The majority of whom are also ex-pats like me. Our group is a mixture of Americans, Canadian and Irish. A good mix.

When I went back to Ireland for my hen party I also brought my wedding dress on the plane. It was less trouble than I was expecting. The bridal shop folded it into a box for me which I just put into the overhead compartment and once I was back at my family home, we hung it up in one of the wardrobes.

Now that the hen parties are over and the dress is in Dublin, the wedding feels that bit closer. The GerMann was saying to me recently, that in less than 6 weeks time we will be married! The time has seriously flown. And now I can even say- next month I'm getting married which just sounds so close!

Up to now I've been counting down in weeks till the wedding but soon I'll need to switch to days..Yikes!