The time has begun when certain things are being done, places visited and people met for the last time this year. This was particularly poignant this past Tuesday, when my team met for the last pub quiz of 2019.
Our local Irish Pub is situated on a corner of the market square, and the host breaks up the weekly quiz nights twice a year, for July/August and from the opening of the Christmas Market until a week into the New Year.
When we said our good-byes on Tuesday, we knew most of us were not going to see each other again this year, unless we'd happen to run into each other by coincidence in town. Most of my team, I do not see outside our quiz nights, and in all the 11 or so years we've been playing, I have not once met them by chance in a shop or restaurant in town. So, yes, we wished each other Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year already. After all, there aren't that many weeks left to 2019, are there!
When I was thinking about this post, it occurred to me that this was actually not the true "first of the last". On the 10th of October, I walked home from work (that is, I got off the train one stop before my actual stop and walked the 5 km or so from there) for the last time this year. After that, it was either already dark by the time I left the office, or I was carrying my heavy notebook or was pressed for time. It will be several months before I'll feel like walking home again; it is not much fun in the dark.
Next Tuesday, our Christmas Market will open. In September, we elected a new Mayor, and it will his the first time giving the opening speech. I shall of course attend, and am looking forward to my first stroll across the market, re-visiting favourite stalls and seeing what (if anything) is new this year, and I'll certainly have something to eat and a hot drink from my favourite food and drink stalls.
This Tuesday, the huts and stalls were already set up and the large tree in front of the church erected, but nothing was yet decorated, and everything was dark and silent - a very strange atmosphere, in stark contrast to what it is usually like when I go there after work.
There will be another four and a half very intense working weeks before I can say that it is my last day at the office in 2019. Plenty to do until then, so I better get started!