When my host family picked me up from Frankfurt after orientation, the first thing I remember about arriving in my village was my host mom telling one of my host sisters to tell me about what we were passing by. My host sister said "Was soll ich sagen? Hier ist nichts, da ist nichts" (What should I say? Here is nothing, there is nothing). However, I think there is something magical about where I live. My village might lack the population, outright splendor, and attractions of well-adored European towns, but it stuns me in a more understated way. From the constantly spinning windmills plastered in the surrounding fields, to the way that its residents decorate for every occasion, my village is more than what meets the eye.
Each street in my village looks similar to this, very narrow. Although it may look like a one-way street, it's actually a fully functioning two-way street. When traffic comes from the opposite direction, you have to weave your way between the parked cars and wait for them to pass.
My village is flat. This is ideal terrain for farmers, so we are surrounded by fields. The contrast between the ripe green fields and the baby blue sky filled with clouds fills me with joy after long days of school.
Among the fields, there are many footpaths used by tractors and dog walkers alike.
Where I live is a Catholic village. This fact is obvious from the church, which is the highest building in the village, to the various Catholic shrines every block or two.
"Through God's blessings, all is gained."
Finding two homes that are mirror images of each other won't happen in my village. Every home has its own unique characteristics. I've seen the stereotypical timber framed German house. I've seen classic brick houses. I've even seen modern, rectangular houses painted white, gray, and black. It seems like there is no limit to what type of architecture is allowed, as opposed to the regulations I'm used to within American suburbs.
There are so many little paths within my village that every time I go for a walk or bike ride, I always find a new one that I hadn't noticed before, squeezed between fences.
Many of the residents keep farm animals like chickens, goats, and geese in their yards. When I sleep with my window open, the neighbor's rooster wakes me up at 6 o'clock. It's not uncommon to see stray cats around. There are no neighborhood association rules that dictate what length your grass must be or what animals you can have, like is common in American suburbs.
During the holiday season, my village lights up. Not only did the residents hang lights on their house, there was also a large tree that gets lit up in the city center.
There is an obvious difference between being an exchange student in a large German town or a small village. While both have their perks, I find that my little village has given me a much more personal and traditional experience than I could have ever asked for. And I wouldn't have it any other way.