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The night ended with wet hair being flung about. Layers of soaking dirndls swished, liter beer mugs clanked and the rain poured down. This was not how I imagined my first beer festival in Germany, but it is the reality I experienced, and I wouldn’t change a minute.

The cold, wet night that I first entered the world famous “Berg” beer festival was a night destined for movies and hot cocoa not wild outdoor drinking, but my friends and I were committed to celebrate our friend’s birthday in style. As we left the train station, we were all lamenting the rain, which obstinately poured harder in response to our protests. We made our way into the beer festival as many were exiting, but there was still a definite lack of covered seating.

As we huddled under the one umbrella and tried to negotiate seats, we all looked a little miserable. Then there was a moment—one of those beautiful moments where life suddenly seems so clear. I stepped out into the rain and shook drops from my hair to the beat of the live band. After that, everything changed.

We became part of something, part of everything. We sang in spite of the rain, we danced because of the cold. We were obstinate in our merry-making and it was glorious.

The movement we embrace that things are different and unexpected is the moment we achieve greatness. Rain becomes a new hairstylist and benches become dance floors. Songs you don’t understand can still be sung. Life happens in the mess and the mud, in the rain and the cold, and sometimes it’s so much better that way.

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