Germany

Day 125: July 15, 2018

Almost eleven years ago, I was matched with a boy named Steffen from Dieburg, Germany as part of a student exchange between our two schools. In September, 2007 he came to stay with my family and I for two weeks then in April, 2008 I visited his family and him in Dieburg for a week. The family treated me so well while I was there and they made me feel like a part of the family. I’ve since referred to them as my “Germany family”.

Five years later, I returned to introduce them to Danny. I remember being worried if they would remember me or if it would be awkward to see them after so long. I was so glad we had decided to visit. We spent a couple of days and were both treated like family.

Now it’s another five years later and we are travelling the world. I would not have felt right not visiting my Germany family again. This time I was less worried that it would be awkward. I was just excited to see them all.

Steffen and his sister Carina met me at the Frankfurt airport the other night. It was so nice to see them. I had forgotten how sweet they are. They brought me beverages and asked multiple times if I was hungry. Steffen gave up his room for a third time for me.

We watched some Netflix until his parents arrived home. We were up so late we all slept in. In the morning, we had breakfast then got ready to go to the lake. It was very nice, but quite busy. It was so nice having time to chat about work and life. We headed home and were going to have a barbecue, but had to eat inside due to the rain.

Day 126: July 16, 2018

I slept in again then Steffen and I made pancakes for breakfast while everyone else was at work. He had remembered them being very good in Canada.

His mom returned and we went grocery shopping. She bought me way too many delicious treats. We had lunch then Steffen and I biked into town. We booked an appointment for me to get a massaged then had some spaghetti ice cream. It is ice cream that has been pushed through a press to make it look like spaghetti. It was as good as I remembered.

After we rode our bikes to the next town to visit Steffen’s girlfriend, Anja’s flower shop. She met us and showed us inside. There were some beautiful displays inside. She’s closed for two weeks due to the holidays in Germany.

Steffen knew a song that my Great Uncle used to sing to my mom. Apparently it is a well known children’s song, “Hoppe Hoppe Reiter”. I tried telling him another thing my grandma used to say in German, “Pay your debts and you never have to say thank you”. He filled in my mispronunciation, but had never heard the saying before.

We had Russian pasta for supper which was very yummy. I’m always impressed at home well everyone speaks English. I always feel embarrassed that I can’t speak any other language besides for English.

Day 127: July 17, 2018

Steffen’s mom took me for my massage which did make my back feel slightly better. We came back home for lunch then Steffen and I met Anja, her friend and daughter for a round of Adventure Golf. Anja won by a lot. It was really fun, but started to get hot at the end. We had pizza for supper then watched Netflix. Steffen and I went to pick up Danny at the airport later in the evening. I was very happy to see him. It felt like we had been apart forever.

Day 128: July 18, 2018

We slept in again, had breakfast then took the bus to Darmstadt, the nearest large town. We had currywurst at the Best Worscht in Town. Currywurst is cut up sausages topped with chilli powder, ketchup and curry. We had a B level of heat as Steffen had warned me he tried B+ once and it was too hot.

Carina met us after she was finished work and we did some shopping. I found a new pair of shorts. Danny had an excellent shopping day. He found new flip flops almost identification to his old ones and a new hat very similar to the one he lost.

We bought erdbeeren (strawberries) and pretzels then drove home. We picked up Steffen and went for spaghetti ice cream again on our bikes.

Steffen’s dad had returned from work so we had a barbecue and sat outside. It was all very good. There was dates wrapped in bacon which I had never seen before. I asked them if they ate a dough button dish that my grandma always used to make with wieners and sauerkraut. They weren’t sure at first, but then realized it was knöpfle that I was talking about. In Germany you can buy it pre-packaged and they eat it like pasta.

I also asked them if they knew strudlah, but they didn’t. It is another dough dish my grandma made. It has been interesting when they didn’t know a word in English and try to describe it it feels a bit like a game show. I’m very bad at guessing the word.

Day 129: July 19, 2018

Steffen left early for his exam and his mom took us to the town centre by bike to mail our package of souvenirs home. It cost us 40 euros which I was expecting, but was still expensive. Danny bought some tea in a shop then we left his watch to get the battery replaced. We bought some pretzels and ate them back home for lunch.

Steffen passed his exam so we were able to celebrate. We went to a tree climbing place in Darmstadt. I really enjoyed it, but Danny wasn’t so keen on the heights. We stopped at the biergarten on the way back. We quizzed Steffen on what he would want to see in Canada when he comes to visit us which will hopefully be soon.

We had schnitzel for supper then Danny and I decided we should get a couple of hours of sleep before our flight. I didn’t want to say good bye to them. I cried quite a bit while I hugged Carina and her mom good bye.

Steffen’s mom sent us with leftover schnitzel and buns for breakfast and then a whole set of treats for us. We slept for three hours then Steffen and Anja drove us to the airport. We hugged them both good bye and I cried some more.

Every time I see my German family I am always so amazed at their hospitality. They have always treated me like family and been so sweet to both Danny and I. I feel like they would give the shirts off their back if we needed it. I was so glad to spend more time there than the last time as I was able to enjoy very good conversations and recharge.

Shopping was a bit hard because it made me miss my mom terribly. I did feel like I was at home and surrounded by family. I’m nervous again about leaving. I got very comfortable again and now we are moving into the unknown. It is hard to be uprooted every couple of weeks and need to get comfortable again.

I have noticed that I have been able to live day by day more recently. I think any further and I would just be overwhelmed. It is crazy to think that we aren’t even halfway yet. We will see how Asia goes, but I anticipate us going home earlier than planned.

M

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