Hello Luther friends, it’s Logan Ardovino! The semester is finally drawing to a close and I can’t believe it has gone so fast. The long winter is finally over and we can finally swap our heavy-duty winter coats for warm spring attire only to realize raincoats are needed no matter what, because the weathermen are liars. It seems like only a couple of weeks ago that I was stepping off the plane in Düsseldorf, sleep deprived and angrily grumbling about my lack of a wheeled suitcase. So much has changed throughout this semester. For starters, I can actually hold a conversation in German now! For the first month or so I was pretty scared to talk to any German (host family or otherwise) because I only understood about half of what they were saying and was worried about messing up horribly. After living here for a while, I’ve finally become confident enough to speak completely in German and only ask for words I don’t know.
As I’m sure you can tell from previous blog posts, our class has done a lot of traveling both together and independently. My personal favorite destinations were Galway (Ireland), Detmold, and Goldegg (Austria). Sam Mitchell and I went to Galway for Spring Break. And although I was sick the first few days, we had a lot of fun. Galway and the surrounding area was absolutely gorgeous and it was great to hear English again. The weather was even more indecisive than Münster’s so that was a bit irritating. On the bright side, we made some friends at our hostel and got really cozy Aran Island sweaters. In Detmold we took a near vertical hike to see Hermannsdenkmal, a memorial to Arminius/ Hermann the German- a Roman turn-coat who united Germanic tribes and wiped out three Legions in one battle. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and Detmold is actually where some of my ancestors lived, so that made the little trip even more meaningful. In Goldegg, Austria, I stayed with Julia Curtis at her host family’s little cottage in the Alps. Let me tell you, that was one of the best weekends I had in a while. It took every ounce of my self control not to belt out the Sound of Music or Climb Every Mountain when we went hiking with her host family (for the record, I totally did when it was just the two of us…). The Alps were gorgeous and reminded me of my home in Utah. The cottage was cute and rustic (it even had a wood burning stove!!), and just disconnecting and hanging out for a while was really relaxing.
Over the course of the semester, our class has bonded pretty well. Staying together at hostels, complaining about bad weather (or homework), making terrible puns, going out adventuring/getting lost and of course enjoying quality German beer has really brought us together. Getting to know everyone has definitely been one of my favorite parts of this semester. This semester probably wouldn’t have been as memorable if I hadn’t gone out for a couple drinks with Julia Curtis and Laura Kalsow in February, cheered loudly for the Dortmund soccer team with Paul Fritzell, nerded out about aviation with Mitch Stenoien for a solid hour in Leipzig, etc. I also think we’ve all gotten pretty close with our host families. They’re a constant presence in our lives right now and are helping us to absorb the culture and language around us. Spending time and going on little Ausflugs with them is really fun. Several classmates have gone on little weekend trips to neighboring parts of Germany with their host families and have had an overall great experience. I really love attending Mass with my host dad, Frank, and going for bike rides around town with my entire host family. Having a life outside of being a student has really made this experience so much more enjoyable.