I write this post as I sit on a 11 hour bus ride back to London. Oh the joys of cheap traveling! I might as well be productive while the guy sitting next to me continues to snore!
I didn’t quite know what to expect from Germany. My Grandma was born and raised in Germany/Austria and moved to Los Angeles a few years after WWII. Although German culture is not a huge aspect of my life, I did grow up with some knowledge of good food (schnitzel & almond crescent cookies!) and basic German phrases.
Upon arrival, it was apparent we were not in America, or London for that matter! Everything was written in German with no English subtitles. For those of you that have seen or heard German, you know how intimidating it can be. We were lost in translation with very little help. Turns out, some Germans just need a drink or two before they open up to foreigners. When we went out on Friday night, I met quite a few friendly natives. One girl studied abroad in San Diego and another guy studied abroad in Flagstaff. They kept saying how much they love America which is refreshing to hear.
Anyways, the weekend we went to Cologne happened to be the Cologne Carnival. Words can barely express the atmosphere of the carnival. It is kind of like American Mardi Gras and Halloween times 10. The festival is from Thursday to Tuesday (before Ash Wednesday) and is full of parades, costumes and tradition.
It was very interesting to see the costumes people wore. I saw everything from pirates, to Goose from Top Gun, to cows, to rock stars, and everything in between. I even saw a Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy from my favorite childhood show, Spongebob Squarepants!
There was a combination of American music and German music. It was a new experience hearing German music in the bars. I wish I knew what they were saying, but we smiled and clapped along anyways. On the trains to the festivals everyone would sing the Colonge song- we did our best to join in!
With Cologne came my first true wave of homesickness. While at the carnival, my brother was playing in the CIF semi finals against a rival team they beat last year. Chandler had nearly 40 family members and family friends at the game (not to mention a SOLD OUT gym!), but I was missing. He had an amazing game, with a post-game interview and front page picture on the OC Varsity. It was a highlight for him and my family, and although I am having once in a lifetime experiences of my own, I most defidently wishes I was experiencing it with my family. Only 6 more weeks left with my time in London, so with those thoughts of homesickness must also come the movement forward to cherish every last moment I have here.