I’m Back!

In The Spirit of December on December 26, 2010 at 3:07 PM

Dear readers, I am back! I had actually written a huge lengthy beautiful, poetic response to my first four days back in America on Christmas Eve and of course my computer decided, even after I had saved it, that it would just shut off momentarily and come back on and not remember anything that I had done and therefore deleted everything. Needless to say I was too frustrated to go back and rewrite it all and therefore have been avoiding the computer for the past couple days. Although being busy has made that a lot easier. But here I am, once again, and I going to try and give a brief update as to my final days in Germany and Europe. If I recall correctly the last update left us up through seeing awesome German Christmas markets, drinking Gluewein, and seeing an amazing performance of Handel’s Messiah in the Franziscanerkirche in Wurzburg.

The following day was my official last day in Europe and I thought perhaps something epic was in order. I posed the question on Facebook as to what I should do and among the numerous responses I got back the one I had actually considered even independently from Facebook had been streaking. I thought, “Why not go run around naked on the streets of Germany in the snow before I leave? What’s the worst that could happen?” Well, I am here to inform you, I didn’t do it. I chickened out. Not only because it was really cold but also because I got the feeling Philip and Barbara might not let me back into the apartment.

Philip and Barbara were so generous to me and I would like to publicly thank them for the generous hospitality in allowing me to stay with them for my last three days in Europe. I had an absolute blast and my last few days in Europe would have been probably spent alone in a hotel without them, so thank you so much for having me. It was wonderful to see you both and I hope your holidays with family are well spent.

They fed me and put up with me, and even allowed me to practice my violin in their apartment on my last day in Europe. So for my last day we had a big German breakfast and then Barbara had some work to do but I wanted to take them both out for dinner as a thank you. So Philip spent the afternoon reading and wrapping presents and I listened to a sermon and practiced my violin and intermittently we would talk about numerous different things. We went and had a very nice dinner at one of the student restaurants in town so the food was quite reasonably priced. I ordered Schinkennuedeln and then, of course, had Apfel Struedel for dessert because I couldn’t leave Germany without having one more piece of Apfel Struedel. Please, I have standards.

Afterwards we came back to the apartment and had a drink and watched Tat Ort one of the most famous German TV shows about detectives trying to figure out “who dun it.” It was a really interesting show and I can imagine if I lived in Germany that I would probably watch it regularly to help my German comprehension. That was the other nice thing about being back in Germany. Although it was only three days, I found myself being able to understand and function again back in Germany which honestly surprised me. Of course my French is now stronger than my German, but I would love to go back to Europe again to continue studying both languages. I think it would be weird to go back now, though. After being gone a week and only speaking in English for a week, it’s amazing how difficult it can be to retain a language when you aren’t using it every day. Although I am still waking up thinking in French, so that’s a good sign.

The following day I got on the ICE for Frankfurt and picked up my bags and headed towards the airport to try and get myself situated. I arrived at the airport a little over three hours in advance and it’s a good thing I did because I had no idea that there had been so many delays that were causing people to have to wait in lines and recheck their baggage from flights the previous day. Fortunately there was a really nice Greek man I met who teaches in Australia and we talked for about 45 minutes as we were standing in line which made the time pass by very quickly. Another fortunate occurrence because of the delays was that the airline didn’t charge me what would have probably been a 100-euro charge for the extra 15 kilograms that my suitcase weighed. This enabled me to very quickly and happily get through and get to my gate without almost any problems.

When I tried to get to my gate I had to pass through customs again and the guy at the gate was giving me a hard time because I came into Germany July 1 and was leaving Germany December 20. I didn’t consider this to be a problem because I had spent four months in France and knew that I was not over the limit for being in the country illegally. So he starts talking to me in German and I am doing my best to understand but the fact was that he was using a set of vocabulary that I had never heard before and he didn’t speak any English. Why they put someone at the International passports section that doesn’t speak any English, I have no idea. I assured him that I had been in France for the past 4 months and had the visa to prove it. However, this was not a satisfactory response for him because although this had been the reality of the situation, I was never actually stamped for being in France. The bureau never gave me a stamp for France even though I flew in and out of France twice during my time there. I could understand the guy’s frustration but the fact that I couldn’t really understand him wasn’t helping the situation either. Fortunately he let me pass, which was very generous and after that I had no problems whatsoever.

The flight was about 8 ½ hours and they just added Internet, which I didn’t discover until 45 minutes until we landed, otherwise I probably would have updated my blog then. I arrived and was very glad to hear the words, “Welcome home” from the Customs officer when I arrived. I think the best part of being back was just knowing that all I had to do was say the words, “Student” or “Education” and they let me pass without thinking twice. My parents came and picked me up and welcomed me home with a nice lasagna dinner and after trying to stay awake as long as possible, I finally crashed at about 10:30pm which was 4:30am my time.

The day was stressful as all traveling days are, but this long time traveler is not done quite yet with this blog simply because he is back in America and his European escapade is over. There are still some travels to be had and experiences to relate in relation to this blog and my experiences in Europe and I hope to continue using it for other purposes as well so if you will stay faithful to me, I will do my best to continue writing faithfully as well. Next time I’ll be sure to talk about the frustrations of reverse culture shock in conjunction with the holidays. Thanks for reading. That’s all for now. Ciao!


  1. Really interesting about customs… yay for being back in the States!

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