Clemens (Austria)

 

 

 

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Popping the cherry

The year is 2000. The Matrix has come out the year before, a few people still wear flannel lumberjack shirts and the Y2K-bug has just almost blown us back to the stone age by messing with everything electronical on the globe. And IMWe is called just that: The Millenium bug. My first IMWe.

Three years earlier I had gotten to know a now very dear friend of mine and despite the fact, that he over these years had gone on and on about a wonderful scout camp in a castle in Germany, where wonderful people gathered and licked creative fairy dust off of each others foreheads when they hugged, painted small Mona Lisas, made music with colostomy bags, and created a scientology-esque atmosphere of oneness, it was only then that I went to castle Rieneck for the first time in my life.

Him I saw quite soon, my dear friend, and went on to greet him overjoyedly. His reaction was the same kind of smile and handshake you’d get from a politician, who „loves“ everyone. My emotional fall in the face of such indifference was cushioned moments after by the realization that he just hadn’t recognised me because of my new-grown beard. Even though I was a fresh-faced 21-year-old and not the hairy-backed 35-year-old of nowadays, it had apparently changed me enough. Eventually, everybody had hugged everybody, and I had gotten my share. One hug, there you go, sir, thank you, please!

IMWe began, and the initial duality of IMWe, that so many experience, befell me. You get immersed in the wonder of it all, whilst still feeling vulnerably alien to this seemingly big family, where everybody knows everybody and everybody loves everybody. Everybody but you, since you’re the new guy! Despite the secret wish to go home, muttered in my pillow the first few nights, I dug my white Birkenstock sandals into the ground, stood firm and began to love back.

And love I did. The music, the plays, games, costumes, Keiler and, most of all, the people! And without realizing it then, I started going down the slippery slope of chasing foreign boo-tey that made me the full-blown xenoromanticophiliac that I am now.

Concluding with a declaration of love for IMWe and its magic I do so knowing, that this might alienate some who feel that the week hasn‘t given them anything special other that the intestinal tsunami that drinking Weizenbier for eight days causes. But I guess it’s like herpes: Some just don’t get it – but some do!