Experiences in our lifetime will unveil what truly lies in our hearts—well, that’s what I’ve heard anyway. What I didn’t expect after this summer, while visiting family across the world, was that I would experience a bit of this myself.
A family trip to Germany for 6 weeks did exactly that. My dad, step-mom, brother and I would have 3 weeks together, followed by a generous extension from dad would give me 3 whole weeks by myself. Before the trip I thought to myself, “I’m ready for this! I’ve been to Germany before! How could it be any different this time? Well, except maybe for the fact that it had been over a decade ago…”
My mind races a hundred miles a minute before the trip. Or should I say kilometers? Questions arose in my mind. “Could I learn how to speak decent German in a couple of months?” Or how about, “Will the family enjoy my company?” While such nervousness for myself was not uncommon, I felt prepared. Just like any other adventure-seeking individual, I was ready for this trip. Right after my brother’s high school graduation, our family boarded a plane from Seattle, Wash. to Frankfurt, Germany.
Before I knew it, three weeks after my dad, step-mom and brother arrived with me, it was time for them to head back to the states. The following 3 weeks, however, were an indescribable experience.
One of the most impressionable places my family took me to during this time was to Passau, a charming old-town neighboring Austria and the Czech Republic. I’d encourage anyone to research this place. It’s not as widely known, but it’s a hidden gem.
During the trip, a spontaneous opportunity came about. I was invited to go to Berlin with my Uncle Martin’s girlfriend, Lisa. After a 5 hour bus ride, we met up with Lisa’s hospitable sister and brother-in-law. They took us around Berlin and showed us all of the famous, touristy spots. From Alexanderplatz to Brandenburger Tor, we had ourselves an adventure. During our visits downtown, we got to witness about 3 peaceful protests, which was pretty awesome.
We were just in time to watch the Finale Fussball Spiel (Soccer game) in Berlin. On Sunday night at the venue Lido, we watched Germany take the World Cup and become the 2014 Weltmeisters (world champions). Berlin is the biggest city in Germany, and Germany just won the World Cup. Two words: Party Central.
After reflecting on this trip, it seems like it was only a dream. It truly is a wonderful experience to make friendships in unexpected places and rebuild relationships with family.
Aside from all of the incredible sight-seeing, there was an even more important aspect of traveling. No matter where your life takes you, there will be the opportunity to develop new relationships, reinstate old ones, and keep in touch. Your life will feel even fuller than it did before.
Ultimately, these experiences would unveil a secret. Once somebody leaves home, school, or even a different country, they will never feel the same again. There is a quote that resonates with my belief that anyone and everyone will experience the following in their lifetime.
“You will never be completely at home again, because a part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place.” –Anonymous