About a month ago, I was sifting through old journal entries and found myself sucked into Tyler's and my German adventure. As I read through each day, from our arrival in Munich to our departure from Berlin, I was filled with emotion about our friends, Felix and Nadine. I missed them. It had been six years—SIX YEARS!—since we'd seen each other last.
I remembered how we first met Nadine, who happened to be working in the Munich camping store where we'd gone to replace our stolen cook stove. I remembered how she invited us over to watch the world cup, and how, though we can be fairly anti-social, we accepted without hesitation.
I remembered meeting Felix, and thinking how wonderful this couple was together. I remembered how, the next day, the four of us hopped on bicycles and toured around Munich. The day following that one, Felix and Nadine took us hiking in the Bavarian countryside.
I remembered how sad we were to leave Felix and Nadine in Munich, and how happy we were when they drove their big green bus (BGB) to meet us in Nürnberg. They cheered our rain-soaked and bike-weary souls with delectable coffee and easy companionship. I remembered how we bummed around the old town and ate delicious meat and huge pretzels, laughing and creating our own inside jokes.
I remembered how, a few weeks later, we met up again in Berlin and stayed in a really funky communist-era hostel. Together, we explored the city by bicycle, and in the little red car we'd later dub "LRC."
And finally, I remembered how we parted ways. How we hugged goodbye on the curb, and then drove away to begin a new adventure, bound for Russia. That was the last time we saw them.
As I read through our journal entries, reliving the memories we made with our German friends, I decided, teary-eyed, that six years was a criminally long time between visits. Sure, we'd kept in ok touch, exchanging holiday cards and the occasional email. But infrequent correspondence pales in comparison to seeing each other in person. And so, I emailed Felix and Nadine that very day, telling them how much we missed them, saying how we really should plan a trip together.
Nadine responded right away! She said they were going to be in California visiting Felix's aunt, and did we want to join them out west? When I looked at their dates, I was floored—we were already going to be in California during their visit! Immediately, we began planning. At last it was settled: we'd drive up to Mount Shasta to go camping with my brother, and to hang out with them.
Now, Lian is driving us through the central valley and into cool mountains of northern California. Tyler is sleeping in the backseat, adorably clutching his Viktor Frankl book. Meanwhile, I'm in the passenger's seat, chatting with Lian and learning Italian on my Duolingo app. Night is falling; Lian is getting tired; I'll soon take over the drive. With luck, we'll secure ourselves a pitch at McBride Springs campground in Mount Shasta, and in the morning, we'll see our friends again.