There and Back Again: My First Impressions
It has been four years since I have been back in the city of Frankfurt. I landed in Frankfurt around 7:30am and did the required security and baggage claim protocols. Once I exited the baggage claim area, I saw my amazing German family waiting for me. It felt just like the first time, they took photos of me with my luggage and then gave me hugs. The car ride back to their town, Lich (pronounced like Lish), was about 30 minutes from Frankfurt. The town looks exactly the same as I remembered it, however, there was one small change. Because of the mass dispersion of refugees from the Middle East, Germany as a whole is expecting 600,000 refugees this year according to Reuters. In the house I am staying in, the refugee camp is literally 500m from them. Where they live is easily recognizable because it is a long rectangular silver shaped construction (photo will not be provided due to privacy issues) that is only one floor.
Apart from the refugees being located 500m from my host home, the architecture, transportation, and food are exactly what I remember. So many people walk and ride bicycles everywhere and the biggest culture shock was to see the elderly riding bicycles and working in their gardens at the age of 50 or more. In America, we can only park in designated areas but in Germany, there are several cars that park on the sidewalks or on the side of the roads. From an American perspective, the roads are quite small so when cars choose to park on the sidewalk or on the side of the road, it makes it difficult to drive.
I am earning my keep by mowing their lawn on the second day.
Since I was in Germany just four years ago, I feel like I am home. I have the same exact bedroom, which is located upstairs. I love the food and I have already had Schnitzel (in German, most things are capital letters if they are nouns), Quarkbällchen (doughnut), tons of bread with meat slices, carbonated water, and Müsli thus far. My favorite task that I’ve done since I’ve arrived was to mow the “garden,” which is considered a backyard in America. I will begin my internship Tuesday of next week in Frankfurt, because this Monday is a holiday. In conjunction to beginning my internship next week, I will also start my volunteering work at the church in Lich, which is about a 15 minute walk from my host home. As a part of my global scholarship, I must complete 24hrs of community service before I return to the USA.
I am having an amazing time and this is just the beginning!