Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton


Yesterday was a ball organised by the church in as part of the sesquicentennial celebrations -- 150 years of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany and of a ward in Hamburg. It was a lot of fun!

They had handed out tickets beforehand so that they could plan ahead how many guests there would be (it was cheaper to buy a ticket up to one month before the dance). Maybe because of that, people were actually on time.

When I arrived at shortly before eight o'clock, when the ball was to start, a lot of people were already inside the cultural hall, filling the tables at the sides of the room.

At first, I was a little unsure what the evening would be like for me... I like to dance but I've often been rejected, and that kind of leaves a scar after a while. Also, the girls I'd like to dance with most are often very sought after anyway so they're either busy dancing with someone else or are resting and talking to friends.

When I told Stella that, she said I should think less about the girls I especially want to dance with (checking them off a list, as it were) and just see who's not dancing and looks as if they might appreciate being asked for a dance. She said especially that unmarried ladies around my age might appreciate the favour -- younger girls would tend to want to dance with unmarried men (to get to know more of them) and girls in a relationship or married would want to spend as much time as possible with their partner.

There was live music provided by a band, and it was pretty good. (Though whoever was responsible for the sound system had turned it up a bit too loud for my taste, making it difficult to engage in conversation while the music was playing.) They had a pretty wide spectrum of music, catering to all ages. They generally played a sort of medley -- three to five songs all smoothly blending into one another, so you could dance for quite a while.

That was also something I had a problem with sometimes, since the music hardly ever stopped except when the musicians took a break, and it sometimes got tiring (or boring) but I didn't know how to end the dance gracefully with whomever I was dancing with at the moment.

Many girls looked really good in their ball get-up. It was a bit amusing to see that some things were pretty common--for example, some types of hair-do, a light blue dress which at least three girls wore (though with different shirts underneath), or a kind of dress with a separate something you can put over your shoulder which was also fairly popular.

Stella said she really liked the way Katrin Köhler looked and that she thought she was the prettiest girl that evening. I don't know about that but she did look good. She also had her hair put up at the back and held together with a bunch of pins. Also her sister Tanja looked good in a mint-green dress.

There was also a girl in a dress with velvet on top and a wide skirt at the bottom which Stella said looked good yet modest; she wondered whether it was hand-sewn (maybe because she didn't think one could buy such a dress in shops, where plunging necklines seem to be more common). When I danced with her later, she said it was bought, though.

And I did get to dance with a number of girls with whom I wanted to dance. One was Naëmi Jäger from Lauenburg, who danced really surprisingly well, as far as I am concerned. She looked younger than she was. Also the girl in the velvet dress, Ulrike.

I also danced with Stella a couple of times and that was really good; a lot better than I had expected since often she has "two left feet" on the dance floor, but yesterday's dances with her went really well.

One girl I didn't dance with is Nadine Rade -- I usually enjoy dancing with her a lot; it's usually a bit more sedate but enjoyable and we usually talk a bit. But now she's engaged to be married and I didn't get the chance to catch her alone. (It looks as if she's put on a bit of weight :)

It's said that "When Mormons meet, they eat", and yesterday was no exception. Stella had been asked by my aunt (who is stake Relief Society president and was in charge of the buffet) whether she could help set up the buffet, so she had come earlier. The buffet was declared open at about half-past nine or so, and there were long queues leading down the stairs into the cellar where the buffet was set up. I wasn't hungry yet so I went a bit later, but there was still quite a lot left. Later on in the evening, they replaced the savoury things with cakes and puddings.

It was Benjamin Imbeck's eighteenth birthday yesterday and they sat him on a chair and lifted him up in the air eighteen times :) It looked a bit scary. Oh, and at the beginning Brother Stelter, who acted as MC, asked the audience whether they felt young. Most people said "yes" and he proceeded to read a little list of things about the generation that was finishing school this year -- that they were born in 1984/1985, had never heard "Twix" called "Raider", had never had a black-and-white TV with only three channels, didn't know who Mork was nor why he came from Ork, and so on. A lot of the things made me feel old, too :)

And shortly after midnight, Brother Stelter called a few people up towards the stage again -- a young girl, a boy, and me. The girl was not there so he couldn't use his quip that "14 + 14 = 28"; the girl and the boy had turned 14 that midnight and I had turned 28. The audience sang "Happy Birthday To You" (well, actually more like "Häppi Börsdej tuh juh", but close enough).

After that was over, I was walking back to my seat and Tanja came up to me and said "Congratulations" and hugged me. That made me very happy -- not only because she wanted to wish me all the best for my birthday but that she gave me a hug. I like her quite a bit, but I'm not sure how good our relationship/acquaintance/friendship could be said to be, since she's rather closed and difficult to read. But I guess she doesn't hate me, at least. After that, I plucked up my courage and asked her for a dance, which was also nice.

There was also a little cake prepared for me but since I was dancing with Tanja when Brother Stelter told me about it I didn't want to stop to go over to blow out the candles; they went out a bit later by themselves anyway before I could get to them. Oh, well.

Tanja's friend Kai was also there; I don't think I've seen him before. He's the father of Tanja's son Leon. Stefan was also there with his friend Elaine (who had a rather low-cut dress which showed a bit of cleavage; Stella didn't approve).

I was going to go home by night bus because I thought that's kind of cool, but that would have meant staying until just before 1 -- the bus leaves at 1:05. (Though one would only have to change once to go home; that wasn't the case when I last took the night bus after a dance a couple of years ago.) But because it was getting later and people were leaving and Stella was tired, we left earlier.

I considered taking the last train of the day which would have left Wartenau at 0:30 when suddenly we got a ride with Hella & Ulf. They had planned to take Jennifer and Dominic with them but they had another ride, so they suddenly had two seats free. It all went rather quickly (too quickly for me -- I couldn't even say goodbye to anyone) but we did get home earlier than we would have if we had taken public transport.

This turned out to be a good thing, because I wanted to phone my sister Elaine who's an au-pair in the States this year and whose birthday is on the fifteenth. (Stella pointed out that this year, our birthdays were on the same day -- when I called at about 0:45, it was the sixteenth in Germany, my birthday, and the fifteenth in Pennsylvania, Elaine's!)

Elaine was very happy to hear from the two of us; she said her host family had organised a huge party for her twenty-first birthday which was to start at seven p.m. -- about ten minutes after our call. So if we had got home later, we probably would have interrupted the party.

When I told her that it was my birthday as well, she said "Oh! I hadn't thought of that" and sang "Happy Birthday" to me, which I thought later was really nice.

Afterwards Stella insisted I open the presents she had given me. She had given me a game "Carcassonne: Jäger und Sammler" which is apparently a variation of "Carcassonne" which we already have, and a Brio locomotive.

She had wanted to get the game "Linie 1" for me which I had put on my wish list (plug), but couldn't find it anywhere, so she got "Carcassonne", which looked interesting. And she had remembered that I had once said that I'd like to collect Brio wooden railway parts -- we had them as children, and they're good but rather expensive. So she thought she'd start off with one locomative. It's battery powered and can move by itself. Maybe I'll get some tracks for Christmas :)

Stella suggested that we could make each other presents of Brio material because one tends to be willing to spend more on other people than on oneself... and the railway would also be for future children so having it belong to both of us isn't such a bad idea. We'll see.

Martin (he of the userpic) was also there, since it was his birthday as well. Well, not really, but Stella gave him to me for my birthday two years ago since I played with him more than she did (she had bought him somewhere), and had wrapped a blue ribbon around my neck. Martin thought that meant he was the birthday boy and that the cake was for him :) And this year was no different -- he was disappointed that there was no chocolate since that's his favourite thing in the whole world, and a birthday without chocolate wasn't much fun for him. Poor duck :P

Well, that was an eventful, and fun evening. Hope y'all have a nice day!
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