Sep 292008
 

And as everybody knows a post that starts like this can only be more than a thousand words, not less. I am, again, in mild panic mode. In fact this may well become my new “normal”. This time it’s because I will be away for the weekend. Yes, you heard right, I, a capable, somewhat intelligent woman, am completely flustered because I will be going on a trip from Thursday to Sunday. Alone. On a train. In fact, all I have to do is to remember to take my wallet, ticket, and toothbrush and be at the station on time.

I really despise people who make a big deal out of nothing but, sadly, I appear to be one of them. I have been thinking about what to wear since June, and have gone into more detailed planning mode since two weeks ago. I still don’t know how the weather will be. So, I asked my husband to please wash all my clothes and hang them up to dry today because I had a very urgent hair dresser appointment.

I’m sorry to say that I spent hours of my life debating which purse to take, and – much more important – which books, and which knitting projects. I decided not to take a drop spindle though. (And I won’t take my spinning wheel. I’m sure you’re happy to know.)

So, where am I going, you might ask? Well, it’s a family reunion. Cousins of my father will meet and I thought it might be fun and/or interesting to meet a whole bunch of relatives that I’ve never seen before. There aren’t even that much stories about them. They are all descendants of my maternal grandmother’s siblings. Of her many siblings (and I don’t know how many there were) none is still alive.

Since most of my father’s relatives come from Saxonia there was a long time after World War II when it was very hard to meet. They lived in the GDR, and we lived in the FRG. Nowadays there is only one German Republic again, and so, some years ago, my father went to see his relatives again. That family reunion seems to have been a success and so they planned another one. Which I’m going to attend.

At first I was all excited, and then I realized that I would spend a weekend with my parents without my son and husband as a buffer between us, and that – because my son will stay at home – they will be smoking constantly all day long. Also, I’m nervous about the 25 or so people that I will meet for the first time. I want to make a good impression. On the other hand, these are people who have known my father for more than sixty years, and they still want to meet him.

I wonder if these relatives of mine will look like me. I’m looking more like my father than like my mother, and I have been told by my grandmother that I resemble her grandmother very much. Will there be more who have heads shaped liked that of Bert from Sesame Street, who have a yellowish tinge to their skin (like Bert again, come to think of it), and freakishly small hands?

My father sent a newsletter to everyone beforehand where he misquote me, told everybody that I was excited about meeting them because I had heard so many stories, and got my whole education wrong. The problem is that I was interested in the meeting because I didn’t hear any stories at all.

So I might be facing a weekend of meeting cousin this, and cousin that without ever getting them straight.

Of course, like usual I deal with all this uncertainty by worrying about the least important things first. What to wear. And I know perfectly well that I always do this, and that I still hope to somehow magically conjure the perfect traveling wardrobe that transforms me into the woman I long to be without having to iron anything or wear heels. It’s like I still dream of this very stylish hairdo that will make my hair look much more thicker and luscious than it actually is and that only needs to be dried off with a towel, and maybe brushed casually. Just today my hairdresser reminded me – again – that she can’t work miracles and so I’m looking like I always do only without my bangs hanging into my eyes.

Same with the wardrobe. I’ll wear the same things I always wear. Though if I manage to buy a button for my new, um, cardigan, and sew said button on I might have something new to wear. My mother won’t like it though. She’ll pull at the hem every time she sees me from behind, and tell me I should have made it longer to hide my big butt. And then I had this fabulous idea of knitting myself a matching scarf from my handspun. Until Thursday. I’ll only have to wash and dry the yarn, and then knit about a hundred hours or so. That shouldn’t be a problem, shouldn’t it?

So I keep telling me that there is nothing to get nervous about, and that I just pack the same things I always pack, and that everything will be alright.

You know what I’m looking forward to the most? On Thursday and Sunday each I’ll have eight hours on the train. All by myself.

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