I have been enrolled in German language classes since I was thirteen years old, hoping to gain an understanding of my father’s origin: his past and present. I know now, through much self discovery, that it was an attempt to create a deep attachment to a man whom I can never truly know. From this yearning desire to understand who my father is, I found a new love: a love for a country with its own culture, beliefs and trends that I felt matched every ounce of my personality. Moving on to high school only deepened this desire to visit Germany, and when one of my best friends invited me to go with her and her family, I felt fate had swooped me up and I was on my way.
Friday morning, June eleventh, I was making my way through the airport, alone, discovering what it is like to be an adult. I was forced outside of my comfort zone as I attempted to navigate foreign airports and communicate with new people, feeling scared and vulnerable. It was only once I arrived in Muenchen, though, that I was thrown into the whirlwind of awe and sense of adventure that this newfound independence brings.
After meeting up with my friend, Amber, and her parents, we drove to Oberrieden, where we stayed with Annemarie, Amber’s mother’s friend, who speaks only German . We drove down the Autobahn until we arrived in a small town, surrounded by farms and their curious owners. Living in Houston, Texas, farms have not been part of my typical routine, so being able to live in a house with no need for air conditioning and feeling fresh mountainous air circulate through my lungs was something I will never forget. I have always enjoyed the outdoors; my face soaking in sun rays, the rushing sound of water, but never have I experienced habitation on a real farm.
Throughout my visit to Germany, I also accomplished one of my life goals: to ride a train. We visited Muenchen by train, and I felt as if I was on the Orient Express! Muenchen was a town I could tremendously relate to, being that it is a fashionable city. The beauty of this city was shown though the grandeur of its architecture. Germans appreciate their history, and that is something I truly respect. They understand that there is beauty in new inventions, yet they still want to guard the physical elements of history that so many other countries have no respect for. Seeing many of the castles, such as Neuschwanstein (http://www.neuschwanstein.de/) and the Heidelberg Castle (http://www.heidelberg-schloss.de/), and landmarks, such as the Black Forrest (http://www.schwarzwald.de/) and the Hofbraeuhaus (http://www.hofbraeuhaus.de/) showed how Germany shows history through more than just words; through tradition.
The experiences I had on this trip have tremendously contributed to the way I have viewed the world every day since I arrived back in Houston. As I was forced to speak only German language there, I feel that having a keener understanding of the language and Germany’s main priorities has affected the way I think and view new situations. Visiting the country and my grandma and aunt who live there has helped me in my attempt to understand my family. The trip helped me realize what I appreciate, while I learned more about myself,f and the person I aspire to be, every day.
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