Having moved from an Indian social set-up to a German one, spontaneous meet-ups are something I sorely miss. Back home, I could easily waltz into a friend’s house and check if they wanted to grab a drink or go to the beach. If they weren’t available, the parents or room-mates usually were, or worst case, I had a nice scooter ride back and forth.
Often in Hamburg, to meet a friend, we need to plan weeks ahead and pick a specific date, time and place. Some of my friends have their calendars full for the rest of the year! Even when it’s only June. No swinging by on a Vespa to say hi.
Today in chilly Hamburg, I felt this primal urge to connect with good food and company and to do so spontaneously. Considering the relatively small social circle I have here, I took to a few expat platforms on social media and announced my desire. I posted just a few hours in advance. Being a Tuesday, I was thoroughly skeptical and fully expected to be enjoying my cupcake and coffee in the company of my very dear self.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love being organized and planning ahead. And Germany has honed those skills in me to a remarkable degree. But I also love the unexpected, the spontaneous and even the chaotic. There is a certain magic in doing things on the spur of the moment or just because.
As much as I try not to view the world through stereotyped lenses, I am human. So while I expected the expats to take my bait to meet, I certainly thought no German in their right mind would respond. I have been reprimanded in the past by German acquaintances for being too last-minute. While I acknowledged their annoyance at my tardiness, I was equally annoyed at their lack of spontaneity.
So imagine my surprise when the company that turned up today was German! So lovely! Meeting M was a delight. We connected over delicious food and coffee, swapping stories of yoga, love, travel and life in Hamburg. All the while breaking stereotypes and celebrating being spontaneous.
I thought of all the times I have been spontaneous. Sometimes they paid off and sometimes they didn’t. But I realized that every single time was infused with excitement and adventure. Here are some:
-taking a midnight train back to university, for the first time in 8 years, instead of the usual bus. The result- I met my future husband on that train!
-exploring a new route home through the enticing by-lanes of Hamburg. Disaster! I got thoroughly lost. Two hours and frozen toes later, I needed to swallow my pride and ask to be picked up.
-saying yes to hosting a group of Lebanese students over Easter in Goa. I met a soul-mate.
-taking an unplanned hike to Mount Emei in China because our flights got cancelled. It was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. The hike and view awed me and then I had heat stroke and food-poisoning.
-getting my hair braided in Bali. I’m not sure my friends and family were sold on the look, definitely not my fiancee when I informed him that braids would be my wedding hair-do. I sure had a blast!
What have you done spontaneously that led to exciting outcomes? I’m curious…