How it all began
|.........the majestic & overwhelming Kölner Dom (Cathedral)|
As far back as I can remember I have always loved the thrill and excitement in adventures, the fascination of travelling and discovering new cultures and meeting people. Living abroad faraway fom my home country is for me a great and exciting never-ending adventure. Like all adventures though, it does have it´s down sides and one of the major challenges I faced in the beginning was making new friends.
Back in our home countries we often have friendships that have lasted many years, and these form the backbone to our network of associates, giving us the strength in life to take on challenges and unfamiliar experiences. However, when we relocate overseas and leave these friends behind, for the first time since school or college we have to actively make a real effort to create a new group of friends who we are happy socialising with. Where does one begin? is often the first question we ask.
|view of the "Hohenzollernbrücke" (Hohenzollern Bridge)|
With the years, Lucy and I made the experience that meeting people is not a problem but making real friends is not as easy as it sounds :-) Being in a mixed relationship/family does make it even more challenging. First of all meeting potential friends is kind of limited when one is in unfamiliar settings and hardly know who lives in the neighbourhood. We sometimes even went out of our comfort zone and tried to make friends with people we will normally not befriend . This was not too good an idea :-(((( The friendship was doomed to fail before it even started due to lack of similarities and wrong chemistry. This just confirmed the fact that we can’t like or be liked by everyone – and there are real barriers between some people that mean they will never be true and good friends. Accepting this reality and applying it in our new life, did help us from getting disappointed when we were not accepted by a certain person or group of people. Besides it´s a fact of life that you can choose your friends but not your family – so hey, choose as wisely abroad as you would at home!
So with these experiences in mind, I was set to find new friends who reflect my lifestyle and share my principles in life. Luckily I came across fellow cameroonian sisters who had similar problems and had the brilliant idea to start an online group for cameroonian women in mixed marriages. So this got the ball rolling and I got to meet other wonderful ladies from home who share similar experiences. Later on an extended version of the group was created involving afro ladies from all over africa(thanks to my fellow sister Anna Van B) and Lucy also became a member.
The great thing about an online group is one doesnt have to search through the neighbourhood to meet like-minded people.....with just a mouse click you have the opportunity to interact with over 300 ladies and share your daily experiences and support each other. Lucy and I talked often about what it will be like meeting up with these ladies offline. We slowly started planning on having an annual convention. But organizing a convention like this does need planning well ahead of time and finding a convenient date and location which is suitable to all members......This can be challenging. So we knew it wasn´t going to happen anytime soon. Until this fately morning, when one of the ladies(our dearest Yvonne H) came up with the idea of meeting up with the ladies closest to us just for fun. I found this idea quite interesting because this could be the test to see if a convention is going to be a success or not. So Lucy and I took up the challenge and we decided to go ahead and organize a fun meetup just for the ladies. So the idea "Ladies Nite" was born. We all decided on a location(City) which is convenient for all the ladies living here in Germany and since we had our initiator coming in from the Netherlands, we also had to take that into consideration when choosing a city. So, the city of Cologne was the final choice and the best location for our first meeting. So it took us a couple of days to plan and organize the "Ladies Nite".
|the famous Harry´s New York Cocktail Bar|
The fact none of us lives in the city of Cologne did not stop us from going ahead with the planning. With the internet at our disposal we did our researches and came up with our programme. Our programme looked something like this :
18:30 pm til 18:45 pm -
"meeting-point" at the Reception/Lobby of our hotel (Hilton Hotel). A little introduction to get to know each other before dinner.
18:45 pm - 19:00 pm
a walk to the restaurant "Hof 18". Hof 18 is a restaurant with cross-cultural cuisine and a view of the famous cathedral(Dom).
22:00 pm til dawn
retreat to a cool and modern cocktail lounge bar called "Harry´s New-York Bar located within Cologne’s cutting edge Dorint Hotel, for After Dinner cocktails.
All, we had to do was just keep our fingers crossed and hope everything looked exactly the same like we planned :-) The one question that occupied us the whole time was .....is it going to be as exciting and interesting offline like our online meetings?? Well, well it wont be long again before we have an answer to this question :-)
|arrival at our hotel|
On the 12th of November was the D day and we (Lucy and I)arrived Cologne city way ahead of the planned meeting time. We had to physically check if all we did organized through telephone calls and internet actually lives up to our expectations. So it was off to our hotel to check in and off to the restaurant to reconfirm and check out the settings, and later off to the Cocktail Bar to check it out too.
A trip to Cologne no matter how short, is not complete without a visit to the "Kölner Dom"(Cathedral). The splendor of the Cologne Cathedral can not be denied. It rises majestically above the city and is simply the symbol par excellence! The location is a dream, right next to the Cologne main station, you can see it even if u are only on transit or jumping from one train unto another :-) It is really impressive and stunning, especially at night when everything is lighted up!
|our room.....it was quite cosy and the service was great.|
|chillaxing after a long ride.....|
|Lucy refreshing up before we hit the city|
|mirior mirior on the wall..... :-)|
|a quick visit to the "Dom"|
|what a beauty.......awesome!!!!|
|Lucy inside the "Dom"......surrounded by candles at the "Dreikönigenaltar"|
|a quiet moment inside the Dom......|
|entrance into the restaurant "Hof 18"|
|checking the restaurant setting to make sure all is in place before dinner :-)|
|we decided on a window table with view of the "Dom"(Cathedral)|
We squeezed in time for a very quick mini-sightseeing tour around the "Altstadt"(Old town) and a fast trip to the shopping mile(yes, we just can´t resist seeing what the shops are having on display :-))) and then it was back to the hotel to get ready for the evening. Yes, we were ready!!! Now the show can begin :-) Where are the ladies!!! :-)
|couldn´t resist checking out the shopping mile :-)|
|see what we found at the shopping mile.......candy for our "high fashion" fashionistas :-)|
|huh!!! dat bag is surely worth it´s weight :-)|
|getting ready.......what I wore|
|what Lucy wore|
|ready to meet the ladies......|
|let the night begin....ladies here we come :-)|
watch out for part 2 and click here for more photos
from "Deutschland" with luv,