In the summer of July 2008 I traveled by myself to Germany. The company my mother works for offers an exchange program to the children (ages of 16-19) of every employee. It is a two week exchange, all expense paid trip. Each person involved in the exchange visits the others home for a period of two weeks. Anna is the name of the girl who I did the exchange with. We visited many beautiful places while I was there such as churches, shops, the North Sea, rural farms, and horse races. The first place we went to was the North Sea. The family I stayed with owns a condo about ten minutes away from the sea. The coolest thing about the sea was the unique way in which the tide came and went. During the morning from about 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., the water pushes back very far. When the water is pushed back you are able to walk across the sand where the water would normally be and you discover things such as jellyfish, crabs, and seashells along your path. Then at 12:11 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. the water slowly moves back to its original place. They said that often boats would travel through without realizing the water did that and got stuck in the sand until the water moved up again.
And then there were the Churches. What can I say; the churches in Germany are AMAZING! They were one of my most favorite places to tour. They have many churches just like here in America but the architecture and history behind them is very different. These churches, because they are so old and made so beautifully, all you want to do it sit and look and them forever. One particular church that stands out the most was the one we visited in KolÃ±. In order to reach the top of the church you had to climb eight hundred stairs but what a sense of accomplishment and awe once you reach the top. It was truly something unforgettable. The art work on the inside and outside of the church was beautiful. One of the three kings that brought Jesus gifts after he was born came to that exact church and that is where his casket lies. A somber and moving experience amongst the excitement of the surrounding architecture. This church is so large there are workers year round whose only job is to fix any problems with the church.
We also attended one of Anna’s friend’s eighteenth birthday parties. Not many cultural differences here; pretty much the same party atmosphere. While I was there I had conversations with many of the people attending the party and they were all very interested in what it was like to be an American. This one boy specifically talked to me the entire night. He told me that he wanted to take me shopping and would buy me whatever I wanted it was very funny listening to him. Super cute too! It was a shame I had to go back to America so soon.
Anna and I still keep in touch and send each other Birthday and Christmas gifts in addition to emailing back and forth. I’ve made a friend for life and she lives across the Atlantic Ocean. It’s so awesome.
I hope that I will be able to participate in the program again. I’ve discovered I love to travel. I definitely plan on spending part of my college career studying abroad.
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