As a first time international traveller, I obviously have a lot to learn. From eating döner, to meeting the mayor, I’ll be filling you in on some of my interesting moments in Germany so far.
1.) Instant Culture Shock: A Bathroom Crisis
In my first week of Germany I encountered the bathrooms. In D.C. there had been rumors that the showers had no curtains. We mostly joked about this since from an American perspective, we didn’t think this was true. Upon arriving in Germany, many of us were immediately struck with the harsh reality of culture shock when we opened the bathroom only to find that there were in fact no curtains on the showers. Culture shock is definitely real.
2.) Döner Dining
If you’ve never heard of “döner,” all you need to know is that it’s the best food ever. A friend and I decided to try it for the first time and we somehow managed to forget that time exists. In the middle of eating, we were suddenly brought back to reality by seeing both of our German teachers standing outside of the restaurant. It honestly would have been fine if I hadn’t accidentally made eye contact with one of them, which prompted them to come inside and talk to us. Normally this would be a perfectly normal interaction, but we knew at that moment we were late for our actual dinner. Now we always leave twenty minutes early.
3.) Meeting The Mayor
While this section doesn’t have a witty title, it was a really cool experience. I think I’ve only met a mayor once in the United States. All fifty of the Experiment kids had the chance to ask the mayor of Bad Laasphe his thoughts on different topics related to the area. I was surprised that many of the questions were about the environment. This might not be as interesting to some reading, but it was a really important discussion.
4.) A New Generation in Germany
Last week the Experiment participants were sent on a journey involving eggs. We needed to come back without the eggs, but instead we came back with a really amazing story to tell. We were near the end of our journey when we met Peter. Peter introduced himself to my group after spotting some of us in a newspaper. He explained that the organization he was part of was renovating one of the oldest original buildings in Bad Laasphe. The house was originally a place for Jewish people to gather, but after the war it became a school. Peter said that it wasn’t burned during the war because at the time there was a fear that it might catch other buildings on fire. After giving us a history lesson and a tour of the inside, Peter had some final parting words. He said that they planned to display all the photos of the people who died in the building during the war so they could be remembered. As he ended the tour, he told us that it’s important to keep an open mind so that younger and future Germany will accept differences and changes in our society.
These were just a few weekly highlights so far as I start to adapt to a normal life here. There will definitely be more amazing and awkward moments to come though, so stay tuned for the next blog! Until then, auf wiedersehen!