Oh the ball! We had a really and truly lovely time at the Ball der Wissensschaften (Arts and Sciences). Duke arrived home just a few hours before from Jamaica, and I went off to get my hair done at the only place open past noon on a Saturday, DM (basically like a salon inside Walgreens). We had dinner, and managed to get the kids ready for bed. I did my own makeup, and put on my gown. Duke pulled on his wedding tuxedo and we tuned into you tube for a waltz refresher (we took a class a few years ago, but it’s not like we go waltzing everyday). This was really nice because they kids got to see us all dressed up and dancing. We had a quick champagne toast at home and headed out the door. The ball was at the Rathaus, which is the City Hall and such an amazingly beautiful building. When we were only halfway up the red carpeted stairs, we already saw friends (even though I might have walked right by them).
Just after we went inside the first person I saw was my friend Tova, who knows everything about the ball and told us the best spot would be the balcony. I know the layout of the Rathaus very well from the board game festivals for the kids, and had tried and failed to get to the balcony before, so I knew just where to go. We found a great spot and before long the debutants opened the ball.
We danced along in the balcony, grateful that we didn’t have to worry about the crowd below, carried away in the waltz. Near us, a fantastic older lady in a red dress waltzed alone until her date, getting embarrassed in front of all their friends, got up and danced with her.
We danced for awhile in the balcony before heading down to the floor and running into more people.
We made a full tour of the place, stopping in at the disco and cocktail lounge. Every chandelier sparkles, I especially love the ones with pink glass, which I heard once on a tour was just fantastically expensive, the place is just so beautiful. At midnight we returned to our balcony for a fashion show, but then rushed to the dance floor for the Midnight Quadrille. This is a social dance where you move back and forth and switch partners and so on, but no one could hear or see the explanation and there were so many scientists and other nerds that is was just exuberant chaos.
At one point I was eating a tiny ham sandwich and waiting for Duke to get a beer from the special beer bar, when I realized I had joined a couple of Americans, students from SAIS (Johns Hopkins international studies program, where a bunch of former colleagues and friends studied) who were part of a group of 130 students there. Such a small world. It all seemed so familiar, and yet, like I was in a complete fairytale.
We danced and talked to new and old friends until late in the night, I think we left around 3am. Another small piece of magic is that the kids slept in the next day.