Tuesday, October 7, 2014

the end of oktoberfest

Five years ago this month my friends and I were in the midst of planning our first annual "Oktoberfest."

Unlike most celebrations with this name, ours was intended to be a family friendly event, complete with apple picking, pie baking, yard games, and high quality beer.

Ours was also the first time I introduced Joel to my other friends.

He and I had only recently started spending time together. He'd gotten home from Michigan a month before and we'd gone out maybe 3 or 4 times. I hesitantly called him at the last second to issue an Oktoberfest invitation, under pressure from my friends who (of course) had heard all about him.

Joel's parents were in town and he wasn't able to join the apple picking part of the day, but said he'd come in the evening. On the way home from apple picking, I became mysteriously car sick. My stomach was in pain, I had a headache, and I felt really nauseous.  I couldn't figure out the sudden carsick-ness until I realized it was really just nerves. Having this guy I was into meet all of my other friends made me equal parts anxious and over the top excited.

How would I introduce him? What would he think of my friends? What would they think of him? Would we be able to talk comfortably? Did he like groups and parties? All these questions ran through my mind as I waited for him to arrive.

The evening went smoothly. I became far less anxious once Joel actually showed up and we started hanging out. My friends were impressed. He was easy to talk to and didn't judge me for not knowing how to pour my beer from a keg. He didn't stay too late; I had time to debrief with my roommate afterwards and we declared the whole thing a big success.

For the last five years we've attended at least bits and pieces of each Oktoberfest.

This year our group made a collective decision not to host the party and while I'm not disappointed, it feels a bit sad and a bit strange for the tradition to die. I hold such sweet memories of that first party and will never forget spending time with Joel that night.

I'm so glad the story didn't end there and that we get to do life together still. With or without Oktoberfest. xoxo.

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