Before leaving for a two and a half week trip to Germany last year, I was sure of two things: I was sure that my idea of life outside of the USA would be nothing like the reality of the experience, and I was sure pizza was a strictly an American food favorite. My experience in Germany taught me that you must experience life and not just read about it. I found that living in a different country was quite different from my expectations. It was terrific and I would recommend it to all. Pizza on the other hand is a universal food.
I had been living in Germany for about a week, trying all sorts of unusual foods ranging from bratwurst in pretzel bread to homemade sushi (my host sister’s mother was from Taiwan so I got to try foods from Asia). When Vera, my host sister, told me we were going to have pizza for dinner I was surprised at the chance to eat “normal” food for once. I good visualize the cheese and tomato sauce covered pie. When dinner arrived I was in for a shock, but by that time I was quite accustomed to being surprised. On the beautifully ornate table, resting on the porch on a hot day in April, were two pizzas with incredibly unusual toppings. The first pizza was covered in squids and shellfish; the second pizza had ham instead of cheese with bacon and white asparagus. After some contemplation I decided to try the squid pizza first and found the little purple tentacles to be less than pleasing, but as an ambassadorial guest in Germany I was there to try new things, so I tried everything, gladly.
When I was in Germany I disproved several “theories” Vera had about Americans and she disproved many things I had assumed of Germans. When Vera lived with my family, many months before I arrived in Germany, she came with the assumption that all Americans were especially large, lazy, and shared similar interests with the eccentrics on MTV. After following me around for just a single day, Vera’s view of typical Americans changed. She witnessed my eight miles runs for cross country track followed by three hours of marching band, and ending the night with homework. She learned that this was not even close to the extent of what I do. When Vera was living with me I considered it my duty to introduce her to new concepts of what America and Americans were like. I found that in Germany they do teach you a lot about the US, they even have classes like “US Government” or “US Culture” taught entirely in English with an American dialect.
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