I arrived at the Düsseldorf airports around 7:30 A.M. German time after an 8.5 hour flight from Atlanta. I must say, having the entire 3 middle row seats to myself made it 100 times more enjoyable than any of my other pond-hopping flights. After going through customs, and of course being throughly questioned by a German customs lady, I began to wait on my bags. As more and more came onto the carousel and mine didn’t show, I started to get anxious. Thankfully after about 10-15 minutes of being one of the only people left waiting, they finally showed up.
I headed off to find the train station. Since I flew into Düsseldorf and my host family lives south of Cologne, I had to catch a train to the main Cologne station. I had a little trouble understanding the train system (something I can usually do fairly quickly), but luckily my gut feelings on when and where to board/switch trains/get off the train were correct. As I walked through the station I miraculously ran into my host mom without even having to search for her. Upon exiting the station I saw the beautiful Cologne Cathedral. I cannot wait to return and see it again, especially when they set up the Christmas market outside of it.
After winding the typical narrow streets of the city and suburbs, we finally reached the home in Hürth-Gluel, a little village(Gluel) outside of a small town (Hürth). Monika(my host) showed me to my room, explained some things in her broken English, then cooked lunch. She made some kind of stuffed cabbage roll in a tomato sauce with some rice. I have never had it before, but it was really good.
Shortly thereafter, Paula (the 11 year old) arrives home from school, ecstatic to finally meet me. I will be working the most with her on her English. The rest of the day I spent relaxing and getting to know the family, including the 9 year old son Lennart, and the father Rafael.
I have learned two main things so far:
1. I already can’t wait to talk to someone fluent in English.
2. The way Germans eat their meals is much different than what I’m used to. More on that tomorrow.