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At the airport terminal, I waved my last good-byes and began to nervously walk toward the checkpoint, turning around twice, telling myself I was absolutely crazy! I had finally found a way to live in another country. There I was, on the next flight to Germany, with no knowledge of the language or how different it would actually be. But I was on a mission to be a part of a new culture and see if the grass is greener on the other side.
This was my first time on an airplane, a twelve-hour flight from Los Angeles, California to Dusseldorf, Germany. I was flying on a German Airline called LTU. I found my isle seat and tried to get comfortable when I noticed everyone was speaking German. It was quite a shock because five minutes before everyone was conversing in English. This is where the culture shock began.
The plane landed on time in Dusseldorf where my eight-hour layover would unfold into quite an adventure. I couldnt wait to get off the plane; I was so anxious, I found myself pushing the people ahead of me to hurry up. As I cornered around the turn to the exit, I caught my first glimpse of the place I had never set eyes on before, which was quite exhilarating. The skies were a perfect blue with not a single cloud in the sky, and surrounding the airport were fields that looked like they could go on forever. Once in the airport, after the chaotic entrance through customs, I collected my luggage and decided to check the place out. It was not as modern as the airport in Los Angeles, and it reeked of cigarettes due to no laws against it. Later, I found out that it
Maldonado 2 was allowed practically everywhere, even in hospitals. After walking around with two heavy pieces of luggage, I had to call home to report I was safe and talk to someone familiar. I found a pay phone and started to dial collect when a loud message began to shout in my ear. I slammed the phone down and reached into my backpack for my English-to-German book. I saw an elderly lady sitting on a bench near the phone, and I slowly moved in and sat next to her. She looked nice, so I turned to her and blurted out, Hello. I started to fumble through the pages of my book, and I couldnt find the right words to explain my problem fast enough. At this time, she was speaking to me in German, and I interrupted her with, Do you speak English? She began to ramble again, and I couldnt help but laugh because I didnt understand a word she had just said. As she went on, a young man about my age, 18 or so, approached me. Hi, is there anything I can help you with? Well, yea, I dont know how to use the phones here to call the US.OK, what you have to do is buy a phone card and, then, I can help you make the call.
He directed me to this little store directly across the way from us. I ran over and almost knocked over a rack of post cards. At the window there stood two ladies chit chatting back and forth. I had to interrupt because they did not notice me practically falling in front of them. Excuse me, I pointed to the phone cards. She surprised me with, How many minutes would you like?
The one with the most, please. I was thinking in the back of my head, do you have one that would last eight hours? I pulled out a wad of cash and was immediately pointed in another direction. I walked fast across the way to a bank that would convert my American dollars into Deutsche Marks. I had never been through so much to make a measly phone call. I grabbed the cash, which resembled play money. I then paid for my phone card and spotted my help. All full of excitement, I flashed him my card like I had just accomplished something great. Five minutes later, I was on the phone with my mom. I was talking about a mile a minute, trying to unload everything I was going through. We talked until the time on the card ran out. I needed some fresh air, so I sluggishly walked outside dragging along my luggage.
My eyes looked like watermelons as I looked around with amazement. I spotted differences everywhere. The taxi cabs were Mercedes-Benz, the people looked like they were on their way to a fashion shoot, and the signs had different symbols and German words covering them. It was incredible, almost like another world! For the next six hours, I explored and learned many new things about this foreign place. Then, I caught my connecting flight and was on my way to my final destination.
My final destination was Ingolstadt, Germany, where I would spend the next four months of my life as an au pair (nanny), but, most importantly, as a citizen of another culture. I arrived just in time for the citys hundred-year anniversary celebration and festivals. The city was alive and beautiful with tall buildings running along the streets, crops of wheat used in their famous wheat beer that surrounded the diamond shaped Maldonado 4 city and wrapped around the villages of Ingolstadt. Meeting people was really easy and fun because I found that everyone was quite friendly and helped me out with my German. The younger crowd had decent English because it is a mandatory class for them to take in school. They also knew how to throw great parties. I went to the best cultural festivals including the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, which was extraordinary! During the festivals, the men and women would wear a special outfit called lederhosen. The beer and meats also played a major role in these festivals. People over the age of sixteen are permitted to drink, unlike America, where the age is twenty-one. In Germany, it is definitely a part of their life and culture. The varieties of meats were also a delicious cultural food served at the festivals and celebrations. I noticed that this society was very colorful and always celebrating their conquests or past achievements. Besides the friendly people, great food, and festivals, Germany has great recycling and transportation systems. To emphasize how important recycling is in German society, every place you go, they separate their trash into four categories, glass, plastic, paper, and other. I found it a little hard to get used to, but after a while, I knew where everything should go. It also helped me to become more aware of recycling and pollution. It is great for the environment, and I think it played an excellent role in the countrys beauty.
Transportation is also one of the countrys shining qualities. The buses and trains are an easy and reliable way of getting around. It is cheap and very convenient. While I was there, I traveled by both modes of transportation, including trips to Italy and Austria. It was neat being able to check out Maldonado 5 the scenic views and not having to focus on the road. I spent a so much time traveling, partying, and getting to know the culture that I didnt realize how fast the months flew by.
It was my last few days in my newfound country, and I visited most of my friends one last time before I would come back home to America. I took a good look around me before I got on the plane and knew I would miss this place. I had seen so many new things, learned a new language, and gained a better perspective on many things. This trip was a priceless learning experience that I will always cherish and remember. Germany is a gorgeous place and, one day, I would like to make it my home.
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