Last week, our conversation course teachers informed us about a mandatory outing that would be part of our grade: Karaoke! 
We all met up at E. Kirche at 21:00 Uhr and waited around awhile for stragglers. Luckily Savino had bought a six pack of Licher  and was, in a Savino-like manner, trying to give them away as fast as possible. I got a free beer and some more practice at opening bottles with a lighter (a trick Raphael taught me while were in Berlin), so all was good with the world. Eventually, we walked a whole 75 yards (it would have be nice to know we were this close) to an awesome little Mexican bar right next to the church named Mexicali. A three Euro cover later, we were finally snuggled into our both with our complimentary beer.
Mexicali has a great atmosphere, and no one seemed to mind that 50 Americans had just busted onto the scene. It was nice to be somewhere where it was socially acceptable to be as loud as possible – and we can get really, really loud. I had a wonderful group around me: Nels, Adam, Danny, Kalli, Jenny, Shannon, Chelsea, Kaleigh, and Savino with Tony directly behind me in another booth. It became immediately obvious that pitchers were the way to go – 9 Euro for 5 beers – so Nels, Adam, and I started a pitcher buying cycle .
Two pitchers later, the Karaoke began. The guy running the show came up and did an Elvis Presley song to get things started, then called up Taylor to sing Niel Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” Taylor is so wonderfully goofy,jolly, and awkward, that I can’t think of a better person to lead off the festivities, and he definitely set the bar high. He was so completely into it, and even though his movements were a little bit clumsy on stage, he sang wonderfully, and the entire bar erupted into a roaring applause at the end. There are probably 10 different videos of his performance, so hopefully I can get a hold of one and post it up here.
The rest of the night went by with the same energy and excitement with everyone belting the lyrics along with the people on stage. The list was amazingly campy and full of incredible singing songs like “Hey Jude” “Ring of Fire” “I’ve Got You Babe” “Friends in Low Places” “Holla Back Girl” and “La Bamba” just to name a few. There were also a few German songs thrown into the mix (including “99 Luftballoons!”). We were alone in our drunken debauchery though, as other patrons of the bar got up and sang along with us. One did two spectacular renditions of “Black Velvet” and “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” while her dad borrowed someone’s cowboy hat and sang “Achey Breaky Heart” and received a standing ovation (well, from me at least).
Early on, I agreed to sing Billy Joel’s “The Piano Man” with Chelsea, so I started sucking down beers as fast as I could to prepare myself for humiliation. When we finally got on stage, I feeling great, and actually (somehow) didn’t make an ass of myself. I think it helped that everyone was singing along so loudly, that it was impossible to distinguish our voices from any others.
And so the night continued on like this until we all realized that the last bus left at 00:48, at which point we poured out into the streets in a matter of seconds, leaving the bar comparatively quiet and rather empty. Luckily, we caught the last bus back to Wehrda and stumbled back up to our rooms to try and prepare ourselves for the inevitable hangovers we would have in the morning.
I obviously didn’t do enough preparing, as my head didn’t stop hurting until around 14:00, but I made to class and was an active participant (no worries Mom and Dad). We actually had a 25 minute conversation in class about Karaoke in honor of my wonderful hangover. My teacher said it’s something of a tradition that the IUSP Americans always come to class in pain at the end of the second week from Karaoke. But that being said, we must go catch the last bus. Tschuss!
 My suspicion is that we were lied to…I don’t actually think it was graded.
 Licher is a quasi local beer (it’s brewed in Gießen 20 km away) and it’s delicious.
 We got Nels drunk for the first time in his life! Apparently people have been trying for years back home, and we managed to accomplish it in only 2 weeks!