We are all just over a month into our stay here in Germany. Everyone seems to be getting along well with their host families and we are becoming well acquainted with Münster. In the last few weeks we have been scattered all over. We all traveled to Cologne to learn about the Roman history there and see the massive, beautiful Kölner Dom. The following weekend some people went to Zurich, several to London, and the remaining few stayed within our local region of Germany. The Kölner Dom is absolutely amazing. It is the third tallest church in Europe and the second tallest in Germany, only four meters shorter than the Muenster Ulm and 2 meters shorter than the Lincoln Cathedral in the UK.
Logan and I were lucky enough to be able to secure tickets to a Borussia Dortmund soccer game. Which is currently ranked second in Germany. The atmosphere at the game was amazing. Their stadium seats 85,000 people, it is the second largest in Germany only second to the Olympia stadium in Berlin. Every game is nearly completely sold out so this one was no exception. Dortmund ended up winning three to one.
We have all gotten to see some really amazing things and learned a lot about the country. I think I speak for all of us when I say that probably the part of this trip that is the most fun for us is getting to discover all kinds of little things that are different from how they are at home. We get to meet so many cool new people, and try all kinds of different food. Because we live with our host families, the experience for every one of us is unique and beautiful in its own way. The longer we are here and the more our language skills improve, the more we are able to immerse ourselves in the culture. The further we can get away from just walking through the steps of the Rick Steve’s guide book, the easier it is for us to dip our toes into the German lifestyle and experience the German way of life. We have found some of those “hole in the wall” restaurants and bars where only the locals visit, some of us have experienced German swimming and bathing culture.
We also have learned that Germans are extremely hard and serious workers. During the week they are extremely productive all day but after 6pm they literally seem to set everything aside to have their “Feierabend” and relax. The Germans that I have met are some of the most productive and serious people that I know, but oh boy do they know how to celebrate. It seems like every week here is another national holiday. But maybe there is something to learn from this. Maybe we in the States have been doing it wrong. Germans do really know how to be productive but they are also very successful at maintaining their sanity. Every little hole in the wall that we discover is our gateway through the wall, that is separating us as American tourists from German life. Slowly I am getting better at looking at the world from a German perspective and an American perspective. Both worlds slowly become a blur, like the blending colors in sherbet ice cream. By the end of this trip we will have seen many amazing places but the most important part of our journey here, that is unique to every one of us, cannot be told in a story or shown in pictures. It is the wall that is being broken down between our two ways of life, and showing us the world from a different perspective.