It’s challenging to type on a German keyboard…
On Monday I took my first Ryanair flight between Dublin and Charleroi, Belgium (it has a smaller airport south of Brussels), and it was much more pleasant than I expected. From Charleroi I took a shuttle bus to the main Bruxelles-Midi train station. Arriving at the station at 12:30 am, I waited for my 6:30 train. Luckily a young Canadian couple introduced themselves to me, and it was a true blessing to have companionship to make the time go faster and to feel safer in a strange place. My experience with college all-nighters paid off, and I didn’t fall asleep until 8:30 am when I got to the bed in the home I am currently staying at.
I have been so generously hosted in Aachen, Germany (just across the border from Belgium and the Netherlands) by Uta, a friend of my mother’s, and her husband Michael (basically pronounced like Americans say Michelle). They have 6 children: Noah, Noemi, Elias, Ayla, Laurin and Mio. Noah is 13 and I can have little conversations with him, but the others are too young so we communicate through smiles 🙂 Uta is due to have her 7th child next month, so it is a wonder that they are willing to adopt me for a few days! Yesterday some highlights were playing Skipbo and Jenga with the kids as well as having a traditional German meal: bread topped with many cheese, meat, butter and jam options. I also get to drink espresso rather than normal coffee so that’s a treat 🙂
Today Uta took me to downtown Aachen to see the sights 🙂 I really like the size of the city. There isn’t as much walking required as in Dublin but it’s not too small either. Some sights we saw were the Aachen Cathedral, the university campus, and the coffee shop where Uta first drank coffee when she was a student at the university. There is a music festival in Aachen this weekend starting tomorrow so I’m hoping to hear some German musicians. It’s funny to hear so much American pop music in the stores and on the radio…I came here to experience life away from all of that! I’m super proud of myself because we went to an H&M store today and Uta walked away with 50€ worth of clothes and though I was tempted, I didn’t buy anything 🙂 Aachen has a number of iconic fountains. Below is Uta with the doll fountain and me with a cool fountain that shows how the rich, the poor and the children perceive money.
There are 2 bummers of the trip so far:
1) I started getting sick yesterday. Too much excitement and not enough sleep. It was also due time, I don’t remember getting sick since last fall.
2) Someone hacked my debit card account with a $950 purchase. I called the bank on Monday but I still haven’t been credited that amount back yet, so I’m going to pester them again today. If you’re a praying person, your prayers are greatly appreciated for this.
My next post will be from Barcelona! I land there Friday afternoon 🙂