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2009-06-23 - 9:52 a.m.

...down to the last glass...

For the past week or so my morning routine has involved coming down the stairs before anyone is awake. I make the coffee, fix Susi breakfast, fix my lunch, and empty and reload the dish washer. If I'm lucky, I squeeze in a shower, too.

This morning as I emptied the dishwasher I heard that distinctive crackle of glass breaking. It was one of the last of the sampler wine glasses that I bought in Jena, almost eleven years ago.

When I moved to Jena I knew about three people, including my boss. (yes, I even hung out with my boss Attila back then, although this was when she still liked me. And remember, she didn't know anyone in Germany, either!).

We hung out alot together. In our first week in Jena, Lizzy, Jim and I did a lot together - saw Blu3s Br0th3rs dubbed into German. Went on hikes. Celebrated my 30th birthday by drinking all of the tequila behind the bar at La Boh3me in the Wagnergasse.

But one of my most remembered and favorite trips was to Weimar for the Weinfest. Lizzy and I shared a flat, and we had NOTHING. Oh, I somehow wound up with a box of plates and pots that got shipped with my stuff from Sweden (to this day I don't know where those plates came from). But other than that? We didn't even have a kitchen sink (remember, East German apartments do not come with kitchens or light fixtures - you have to buy and install them yourself).

So Jim, Lizzy and I went off to the Weinfest, and I got this great idea that we could just buy and keep the little sampler wine glasses - they cost about 1 Deutsch Mark each - for our kitchen. We must have collected about 15-20 of these glasses in various shapes and sizes, complete with logos of little German vineyards.

We had such a great time collecting the glasses! We consumed moderate to large quantities of wine of varying quality over the course of about 6 hours. We went on a tour of Goethe's house which sat on the corner of the square - and understood next to nothing. We marveled at the unrenovated city (my has it changed since 1998). We waved to Weimar's Onion Queen as she passed through the market square. And once we were good and happy, Jim and I honored the German crowds with our very special rendition of Home Home on the Range. In Harmony. (while Lizzy hid under a table.) Shopping for glassware has never been so sweet.

We subsequently split up the glasses when Lizzy moved back home to SW Australia, but I kept and used many of them.

These little glasses are the most used glasses in my kitchen, and so I guess it is not surprising that many have broken along the way. I've given a few away as well. When I look at those glasses, pictures from my past flood over me. Our first flat on Am Planetarium, above the brothel and the Chinese restaurant, which we shared with the hyper-clean Belgian woman and her neurotic dog Bernie. My two subsequent flats in the Beethovenstrasse and all of the wonderful parties I enjoyed in the grass and on the balcony - drinking wine with friends from those little glasses.

And since, they've reminded me of sitting on the steps in Forest Hills with Leigh the landlady, hearing her stories of Korea during the war, and New York in the 50s. And then more happy times watching Funcouverites try to park from our front porch over the park. Those glasses remind me of good times with good people.

So, it is sad to see the second to last of them break. But you know, it would be sadder still if I left them unused in a cupboard. Because then I wouldn't look at the last glass and remember all of the times that it has been used, and all of the life it has brought me.

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