I don't know you but I think you will be just fine.

I am finally in Germany and feel like it’s time to start blogging because it is going to be a very enlightening vacation. Stepping of the plane, I realized that a) I had no idea what my relative who I was meeting looked like b) I had no phone number and c) I was in a new foreign country where I knew none of the language. Luckily, after standing at the arrival door for what seemed like ages unsure of my next move, I heard my name and was greeted by a lovely woman who said, “I don’t know you but I think you will be just fine.” Maybe not the most comforting combination of words, but said while hugging, I was put at ease.

We got in the car and headed straight for the small village of Weiler where she lives. Before I left, people kept asking me “Where in Germany are you going?” and I always had to reply, “Honestly, I do not know.” What I did know was that I was landing in Frankfurt-Hahn and was to go from there. After talking more about Germany on the way over, I semi-grasped my whereabouts and can at least show you on the map the general locale of my journey:

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I stayed very close to the village of Bingen, labeled on the map!

We drove through the countryside and, although it was dark and a bit rainy, I felt at ease being out of the hustle and bustle of the city and, instead, in a peaceful and hilly atmosphere with windmill farms and changing leaves falling from maple trees. I am staying with my grandpa’s sister-in-law and she is absolutely wonderful. Although she says that her English is not very good, it really is not too bad at all and we were able to get along just fine for the evening.

When we got to her house, she showed me my room and bathroom (which is the nicest bathroom I have ever occupied) and the bed is the biggest I have slept in since I have been in Europe! It is a lot colder here than it is in Madrid but, thankfully, my new Northface is doing the trick and keeping me nice and toasty! While I unpacked, she made coffee and we sat down to homemade apple pie (with apples from her own garden!) at her dining table before going to pick up her granddaughters to spend the night.

Thankfully, I have met the girls before when they stayed at our house in Colorado two summers ago. They both play handball, which is one of the biggest sports here in Germany. I had watched videos of it being played before over the summer but was excited to see it in action when we picked them up from practice. It is like a combination of basketball and soccer with the usual point tally being in the 30s for one game.

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Jana, and team, playing some handball.

The girls were staying with us tonight since we are all touring together tomorrow and their parents were out for the evening. We all ate a nice chicken and vegetable dish that was scrumptious and a good break from the Spanish food I have been gorging myself on since my parent’s visit. I also had a glass of white wine from the region (where I am it’s wine country Germany and not the beerladen Oktoberfest Germany we have come to know and idolize). Hopefully there is more of that in store!

I feel like all of my most recent conversations have been centered around languages and today was no different. Jana is in 11th grade and studying German, English, Spanish AND French. It is crazy to me how someone can not only keep track of all of those languages at once, but that is just the way it is here since all of the languages are spoken in countries that are so close to one another! Thankfully, English is her second best language and so we were able to talk the whole night about school, holidays, Europe, and she even filled me on some current events happening in the United States that I was unaware of. She also told me that swine flu is starting to come to Germany and they are trying to assess whether or not it is really something to worry about. I told her she’d be fine and that my brother had it twice and is still standing, that seemed to put her kind of at ease?

Tomorrow we have lots of sightseeing to do so I am going to hit the sack but although I was really nervous coming here before, I am already sure that it is going to be a wonderful weekend and I am most excited to talk to my grandpa when I get home about all that I have seen and learned about his homeland!

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