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i had my first real double date on friday – and to be honest, i’m not sure if it wasn’t my first real “date” as well (that one blind date with the tattoo parlor owner who was in an open relationship with a live-in girlfriend (to whom he took his leftovers at the end of the night) not withstanding). we met, slightly awkwardly, yet hopefully, shaking hands and setting off for dinner. of course, like everything else that we seem to do, we were near the hansaring metro stop (this area might be called ebertplatz). i think we just have to move there now – we haven’t ever been anywhere else.

to backtrack, we didn’t just randomly meet them in front of the cinema and drag them off to dinner. we had actually arranged it (hence the term “date”). thomas works with james at bayer and though he’s new there, which first got me kind of excited (“he has no friends either?!?!”), he’s lived in cologne for some time. his live-in girlfriend of ten years, eva, has also lived here for a long time. in fact, they seem like they have a lot of friends. sigh.

dinner was good – there was a brief moment where i’d had my first glass of wine and the food hadn’t arrived yet, where i stood up and felt a little dizzy. normally i would assume this was because i hadn’t really eaten lunch and i had just quickly and nervously downed a glass of wine, but last monday i had my first experience of vertigo (at least that’s what i assume it was). now, i don’t usually use this sort of expression (as it’s what my mother would say) but it was honestly a total trip.

i woke up monday morning and sat up. instantly, my head was spinning. i laid back down, assuming i had merely gotten up too quickly, and the same thing happened – my head was caught in a loop-de-loop and i had no idea which way was up or down. after a minute or so, it pretty much stopped and i was able to get up and go on with me day, but i felt a bit weird and nauseated (thank you big bang theory for teaching me the correct adjective) the rest of the day. that night, i had almost forgot about it, until it happened again. the instant my head hit the pillow – chaos inside my mind. and it kept happening.

james and i weren’t sure what to do and we were getting nervous. more so, we didn’t know how nervous we should be. is this normal (i find myself asking this question too often)? so like any independent, intelligent adult, i called my mom. she said that it was probably ok and that both she and my grandmother have suffered from vertigo (hers started when she was pregnant with me – scary? a little.). slightly relieved, i eventually managed to sleep. the rest of the week, it slowly diminished, as any cold or virus would, and by that friday, i was feeling pretty “normal”. until that first glass of wine.

of course, again, like any independent, intelligent adult, i completely ignored those feelings and stuffed some bread in my mouth (trying really hard not to look like i was eating all the bread on the table as quickly as possible) and had another glass of wine. in the end, i was completely fine, and like most colds or viruses, found that a night of drinking could indeed finish it off completely.

the conversation flowed easily and didn’t feel at all contrived or uncomfortable. there were times when we were all talking, and then there were occasions when we seamlessly broke off into twos (probably mostly when james and thomas were talking about work). an hour and a half passed easily and without realizing it, suddenly it was time for the movie. to which, we were five minutes late.

now, i realize that it’s sort of strange, but i love previews. i mean, love them. that moment at the end of all the trailers, when you know the film is about to start and just for a second, you forget what you are watching and then you remember and are so excited – that’s the moment i go to the cinema for. (this is especially strange considering i’ve been living in a foreign country for the past five years and often, the trailers are in “foreign”, even in an original version film.)

suffice it to say, i was sort of annoyed. and james, well, he gets frustrated if he’s not five minutes early to everything, just on principle. and on top of that, i was so flustered by it all that at the snack bar, i got candy that i didn’t really want, and forgot all about james’s popcorn, which he DID want (and he has mentioned it since – a couple of times). why were we at the snack bar when we were late? no idea – that’s why i was flustered. i didn’t know we were late and last minute, just before we stepped up to the cashier, james came out and told us the movie was starting and i panicked – i would have abandoned the snacks entirely but thomas wanted something, so we stayed. and i failed: crappy gummy snacks and no popcorn.

we saw the green lantern, which was ok. i love comic book movies, but was expecting it to be pretty bad, so it didn’t let me down or exceed my expectations. eva was into it – she even painted her nails green, which was sort of nerdy and sort of awesome. i think she might have been a little let down by the film. though it was in 3d, which i suppose is pretty cool in theory, but i still feel like the technology isn’t quite ready for it and at this point, it’s just gratuitous. also the glasses distract me.

we went for a drink afterwards, walking through the church lot where we’d bought our bikes (now i know how to get there if i need to get my bike repaired) and settled into what was in fact a gay bar (the music was fantastic). it was still going well and james and i both had that “high” of thinking, they still wanna hang out with us! then, it was midnight and thus, my birthday! james said happy birthday and then, of course, we told them it was my birthday. they congratulated me and then eva jumped up and spoke with the bartender. the music cut off and disney’s \”happy birthday, princess!\” blared into the room (which i can honestly say i’d never heard and had to google) and the lights went down. the bartender (who was super cute) came out with this beautiful lotus that had a large sparkler in the center and lit candles at the ends of each petal and as they sang, the flower opened. like magic. it was pretty impressive. it was surrounded by shots (which were red and shi shi, but surprisingly good and not too sweet), which we did and then i blew out the candles.

you can't see the sparkler, or the flower opening, but you get the point - magical!

successful first date? well, as if that weren’t enough, on monday, thomas brought to work a card and present for me. the present was a map of cologne, where they had marked different shops, restaurants and sites that we would be interested in. seriously. how fantastic are they?

we got in around four and still no vertigo.