So much has been happening. I have little time to blog!
On Wednesday, I went to the Luther house here in Wittenberg. It was so amazing! I loved every minute of it. It was really neat to discover that I am about the same height that Luther was, and I’m Lutheran. My classmates thought that it was kinda funny, as do I. Now I have a better feel as to how Luther perceived the world! Luther lived such an amazing life, so if you don’t know much about Martin Luther, you’re missing out! Don’t let the theology scare you away. His life was so eventful. I hope to bring my parents here to Wittenberg one day, so they can see the history, too.
Anyway, my time at meine Gastfamilie is going so well! I really like them, and they’re a lot of fun. On Wednesday, Anke showed me around their company, Krafotec, which makes cranes. Here’s an interesting piece of information: during the GDR, Dirk and his father worked in the same factory, which still made cranes. After the GDR fell, the company went out of business, so Dirk and Anke decided to start their own crane business, in the same building and everything. They started with five or so people. Today, they have about 60 people working. Talk about a success story! I admire them for taking the initiative to start a business, especially only a few years after the reunification of Germany.
Then Anke took me grocery shopping, which is a little bit like grocery shopping in America. They have a lot of the same kinds of food, as well as their own specialties. Even though it was a pretty mundane thing to do, I’m glad Anke took me. It was amusing to see her run into at least five different people she knew at the store. Plus, we got a bratwurst at a stand outside of the store. I explained to her that in Illinois, grocery stores don’t have bratwurst stands, but in Wisconsin, which I explained has a lot of German heritage, there are quite a few bratwurst stands.
On Thursday, nothing out of the ordinary happened, which is a good thing, I guess. It just goes to show I’m feeling at home here in Wittenberg.
There were no classes on Friday, so I got to sleep in! Jamie, Caitlin, Missie and I went shopping in the afternoon. It was a ton of fun, going in and out of clothing stores down the main street in Wittenberg. After what happened to my sunglasses in the Ostsee (I tripped, and they fell into the sea, only to be swept underneath a rock by a wave), I was on the prowl for a new pair. Now, I have never purchased a pair of sunglasses in my life with my own money. For starters, I went years without wearing them. Then I just found a couple of pairs that no one wanted, so I took them. My favorite pair were my mom’s, and she got new ones, so I got to keep them (they broke, much to my dismay). Then my mom gave me some money to buy a new pair, which I wasn’t too happy about, but I really needed them. Then Nan came to Chicago from Oregon and left her sunglasses at our house, and that pair is now in the Baltic See.
I was browsing a rack of scarves on sale (because I didn’t want to look at any pants, shirts, and dresses in case I fell in love with them. A girl on a budget: what else can she do?). Then, I saw a pair of sunglasses. They weren’t my favorite shape, but they were only one Euro! I was so excited! I tried them on, and they didn’t look half bad on me. It was a quality purchase, in my opinion.
Then Jamie, Caitlin, Missie and I ran into Mary, Stitch and Rob at an ice cream place. We sat and talked for a little while before parting ways. We went to look in more clothing stores. Missie was on the hunt for a hat and a scarf. All the hats she liked were about 20 Euros, so we went from store to store in search for a hat suitable for our darling Missie and her poor wallet (no pun intended). In the clothing store The New Yorker (think a mixture of H&M and Forever XXI), she finally found a hat for a good deal. However, there wasn’t a scarf she liked. Jamie and Caitlin, in the meantime, were browsing racks, having a good time. They both found things they liked, and I encouraged them to buy said things.
So we ended up going back to the same store where I got my sunglasses because earlier Missie had seen a scarf she liked. Caitlin and Jamie saw things they liked there, too, so everyone didn’t mind. But then, I saw it. A dress. I tried it on, and I knew that I had to purchase it. I privately told myself before this trip, that I wouldn’t be spending money on clothes, since I have enough at home and in my suitcase. But that went down the drain as I willingly handed over nineteen Euros.
All in all, Friday was an all right day. Who am I kidding? Time with friends? One Euro sunglasses? Ice cream? A new dress? Friday was a great day!
Saturday was also nice. Missie and I met up (we ended up bumping into Mary), and we biked to Netto for a chocolate run, since it’s pretty cheap over here. After that, we went to Cafe Fritz for some caffeine and a place with WiFi. From there, Mary, Missie and I looked at hostel in Vienna, since we will be traveling there at the end of the month. So far we found a great one, and now we’re waiting for those who expressed interest in going to respond. Also, Mary, Missie and I have Eurail Train Passes, so we looked up trains we can take. It’s going to take about 12 hours there and 12 hours back, but we are saving a lot of money by doing so. The others in our group are deciding on how to get there. Flying is cheaper for those without a Eurail, so I think it might just be Mary, Missie and I on the train, which is fine because it’s a great way to see Germany and Austria.
Anyway, Saturday night Anke and Dirk took me to their friends’ house for their son’s surprise 18th birthday party. Here in Germany, 18 is the big birthday, where one can drive and basically do what he or she wants to do. There were a lot of teenagers there, though I didn’t really talk to them much because they all knew each other and then there was the whole language barrier thing to take into account. I did meet a lot of older people, though. A lot of them were really interested about the big birthdays for a youngster in America (16, 18, 21). And they said, “Yes we can!” a lot, I think to relate to me better, and also to show some of their knowledge of the US. And they were really interested to know about my father’s career of a Lutheran pastor; and also of where my family had come from before America. I told them that I don’t really know exactly from where my ancestors had come, and that my family had lived in America for a very long time. They were surprised–and a little impressed, I think–to find out that my family has lived in the US for so long. But they were glad to learn that my ancestors (well, most of them) were German.
Shoutout: Hey family reading this blog, if you have any information on how our ancestors got to America, please let me know! The Germans here are quite interested.
Well, I’m off. At 4 today (Sunday), Anke and Dirk are taking Missie and me to a little castle that’s about half an hour away from Wittenberg. What a great thing to do on a rainy afternoon!