Until Next Time

After 43 days, 16 packs of gum, and over 250 miles of walking (in a boot I might add), it’s almost time to make our way back to Calvin.If you’ve read my previous blog post about my first impression of  Berlin, you’ll know that I was slightly unimpressed with my first glimpses of the city. Now, here we are 6 weeks later, and I never want to leave. Sure, at first Germany didn’t exactly take my breath away, but after 6 weeks here, Germany has stolen a piece of my heart.  Continue reading “Until Next Time”

Fun in Germany

Germany was a blast. The one thing that stood out to me was that our group saw more of Germany than most Germans see of Germany. That really stood out to me. We took day trips to major cities. My favorite was Bremen. It’s a major port city in northern Germany and while we were there we were able to see the really old part of town where the streets are narrower at the top then they are at the bottom and with no planning to where roads go. It was super cool and old, and Bremen was probably my favorite city. We took a train ride to the western side of Germany and it remainded me of Michigan or northern Indiana. We went to Hidalburg and saw the castle there and it has the largest cast in the world. At the end we had the opertunity to go and visit other parts of Europe and a friend and I went to Belgium. In Brussels they have A part that is still somewhat set up from the worlds fair and that was really cool. They have a lot of old buildings and a place called mini Europe where they have massive monuments, but in quarter scale, allowing us to see more of Europe than we could otherwise. The trip as a whole was awsome.

How was Germany?

Most of my experience in Germany was defined by those I spent time around.  That is to say that my experience was defined by 40-odd Calvin students.  I can’t say much about the German people or culture given that I spoke with only a handful of actual Germans.  Add this to the fact that most of our time was spent in the very international, secular city of Berlin and I was left with an experience that is akin to living with a bunch of Calvin classmates surrounded by the sounds of the German language.  The culture would be better defined by our experiences in other smaller German cities that are maybe less severely defined by WWII and the Cold War.

How Germany Changes You

My experiences in Germany have taught me many things. First, people are people, no matter where they come from. We may have different cultures, different languages, and different landscapes, yet when you get to the core of a person, be they from Germany or anywhere else, they have same desires as someone from the United States, to be respected, to be loved, and to succeed. It taught me how to be an adult. I hand-washed my own clothing, traveled across foreign borders with guardian there to protect me, dealt with the consequences of loosing a wallet in a foreign city and learned sometimes you just have to trust God. It taught me how to improvise, some things can’t be planned, and there are some things you just don’t know, but you have to work without that knowledge anyway, so you find a little courage and keep going even if it’s hella embarrassing, or beyond your abilities; life doesn’t always coddle us. Lastly, I experienced God’s hand, even when I felt that whole situation was falling apart that my grades would ruin college career, or that I’d lost, bereft of any lifeline, God was there and showed me a way.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

– Matthew 6:34

Elevator Speech

My visit to Germany was great. The first thing that comes to mind is the food. I am going to miss Currywurst and Fries and the occasional Döner. The most memorable thing about my visit had to be hearing my German professor tell us stories about growing up in Germany, and what it was like living in the east while the wall was still up. Visiting the various cities was also very memorable. I love the old german architecture and the tight streets that wind through the many homes and shops. I also have to note that just about everyone I saw smoked cigarettes. Now every time I smell cigarette smoke it reminds me of hopping off of the busses, or walking around city streets. I only have two complaints. One is that there are no drinking fountains, the other is the inaccessibility of toilets. I learned how to work around these problems however, so all was well.