Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sitting in a Stammtisch

I came home last night or early this morning from my longest and continuous night out. I timed in a total of six hours: four hours in a beer garden and two hours at an impressive house bar. Before you judge me of being a footloose, let me say the gathering was a scholarly pursuit of sorts, a DAAD scholars' Stammtisch. As I can predict that your forehead is now crumpling into a frown (Stamm-what?), try to relax a bit as we unravel the words meaning.

Stammtisch comes from two German words Stamm and Tisch literally, "regular and table." Put them together and you come up with regular's table, something akin to the Filipino term suki, though it refers more to a customer. Stammtisch is a typical German tradition where people and friends meet, you guessed it right- regularly. It can be a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly get-together. It doesn't matter how far between this Stammtisch is, it just needs a sense of regularity and predictability. Typisch deutsch?

In case of the DAAD Freiburg Stammtisch, we usually meet once or twice a month. Stefan and Thomas organize our Stammtisch. The attendance of last night's Stammtisch was quite a surprise of eleven people. I can consider that a crowd during this university break when most students are out of Freiburg.

A usual Stammtisch occurs in a bar or cafe, though the group has once gone for a hike to a wine fest. Once the usual round of what's your name-where are you from-what do you study? is over, and mugs of beers have been ordered, the conversation starts rolling. Overlapping accents and languages, primarily German, English, and Spanish dominate the talkfest.

Thomas Bauer tells us more about the DAAD Stammtisch:

And if DAAD staffs are reading and watching this, I hope this can serve as documentation of our productive efforts. Maybe they can provide us some German cultural immersion fund. No, we will use it not only in Beer gardens. ;-)

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