Henry Poon's Blog

The Stammtisch AKA Weekly Drinking Day

Day 41

In an effort for the company to promote socializing with other interns working at Bosch, they organized what’s called a “Stammtisch”.  Literally translated it means, “regular’s table”.  It is a weekly gathering at a restaurant, cocktail bar, or club.  Together we drink beer and socialize, hence why I call it the weekly drinking day.  I met most of the interns at Bosch through this and I’ve even gone to Tubingen, Hohenzollern Castle, and Freiburg im Breisgau with them.  Soon we’ll be going to Köln (Cologne) and Paris.

At the first Stammtisch back in January, I didn’t know anybody except for the friend from Canada that I went with.  I didn’t really know what to expect.  When we got there, we found the Bosch table and introduced ourselves to the people already there.  I didn’t really know what to expect at the time.  Stereotypes of Germans told me that we’d probably end up drinking while we were there.  Sure enough, we did.  As someone who doesn’t drink a lot of beer, or alcohol in general for that matter, I was at a loss as to what drink to pick.  And so one of the interns recommended a beer called hefeweizen.  Hefeweizen is a kind of beer brewed with a large amount of wheat and malted barley.  I didn’t know that at the time, and all I knew was that it tasted damn good.  Definitely than the bitter North American beers.  A friend of mine described it as “drinking alcoholic, liquid bread”.  I am also told that it’s also got a lot of calories.  That’s okay with me, since I probably need to gain a few pounds, or kilograms as people use instead here.  I was also able to try a pale lager called helles.  This beer wasn’t as good as the hefeweizen, but that’s just personal preference.

Apart from just drinking, I also learned a bit about the drinking culture in Germany.  Like other cultures, Germans too will clink their glasses together before they drink, but one thing they must do is look at each person at the table in the eye while doing the clinking the glasses.  Otherwise, the person will be destined seven years of bad sex.  I don’t think I would have known that if I wasn’t told.

The location of the Stammtisch varies each week.  The first week I went, we went to a restaurant that had their own brewery, known as a “brauhaus” (how cool is that?).  Another time it was at a Spanish cocktail bar, that had cocktails at a discount if the party was large enough.  The most recent Stammtisch took place at a “disco”, which I think is German for club.  When I first heard the word, I immediately thought of The Bee Gees in the 70’s with their Saturday Night Fever.  I’m not a fan of clubbing, so I opted out of that one.

While drinking and socializing, I met a people from many different countries.  The group was a lot more multicultural than I thought.  There were people from Germany, France, Canada, America, China, Hong Kong, Iran, and even Mexico.  The only common language between all of us was English.  We all pretty much talked for at least 3 hours.  There were so many people that I ended up moving seats to get a chance to talk to other people sitting further away.  We went in there knowing nobody, but at the end we all weren’t strangers anymore.  Kind of like what Forrest Gump said, “Well I guess we ain’t strangers anymore!”

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