Germany – part one

20 Jul

It’s still hard to believe that only five weeks ago, I jumped on a plane and headed to Germany. My trip was over in a flash, and now I’m back to the weekly grind. But the memories are still fresh, and I’ll hold onto them closely until I get to see Sebastian again. So here it is, a look back on my trip to Germany.

On June 9, I headed to the Pittsburgh Airport ready for a long day of travel. My flight to New York was delayed, which wasn’t a big deal because my flight out of JFK didn’t leave until 9 p.m. I arrived at JFK, had a new boarding pass issued, purchased some water (it was crazy hot in that airport) and sat on the cool floor to check my e-mail. The hours passed quickly, but unfortunately, a thunderstorm hit New York right around 8:30 p.m. We boarded the plane anyway and sat on the tarmac for another two hours. Singapore Airlines was amazing though and made sure everyone was comfortable. They came around with blankets, pillows, snacks and anything you wanted to drink. Needless to say, my seven hour flight ended up turning into a nine hour flight. By the time I landed in Frankfurt, I was so happy to be off that plane. I grabbed my carry-on and headed to customs and then on to baggage claim (but not before stopping  to freshen up – nine hours on a plane does nothing for one’s appearance).

The first picture we took together

Minutes seemed like hours waiting for my bags to come, and finally I saw my last one, grabbed it and headed through the doors. I scanned the crowds and found what I was looking for – my boyfriend, waiting for me. We both just smiled, walked toward each other and then he gave me the longest hug. (It’s weird how some of my favorite moments have taken place in airports). We stood there for another ten minutes and then decided we should probably leave the airport. First we exchanged some of my traveler’s checks for Euros and then went to Wiesbaden for some pasta from Vapiano, and a quick stop at the train station to pick up his roommate, Marc. Then we headed for his apartment in Oestrich-Winkel (which I lovingly refer to as the OW) to relax before the big Friday night dinner.

Around 6 p.m., Sebastian’s family (Mr. Blumenthal, Mrs. Blumenthal and his twin brother Thomas) arrived at his apartment. So did Max’s sister Amelie (Max is Sebastian’s other roommate). All of us headed to this lovely little winery to meet up with Marc’s family and Max’s parents. The rest of the night was a blur as the jet lag began to set in. But I had a nice time, and as far as I could tell, so did everyone else. However, after all the wine, and German conversations I couldn’t quite follow, I was definitely ready for bed.

We woke up early on Saturday to head back to Wiesbaden for the graduation weekend extravaganza. The day started with Mass. To be honest, I have no idea what denomination the church was, or if it was technically Mass, because the entire service was in German. I probably would have fallen asleep except Lukas, Sebastian’s good friend, was sitting next to me and kept “translating” the speech. According to him, it was a rant about the United States, which included phrases like “death to America” and “that Satan country” and “may they all burn in hell.” It made me laugh and kept me awake. There were also some nice musical intermissions from the EBS band (a student band named after the university: European Business School), and the songs were in English. My favorite song, however, came at the end of Mass when we all stood and sang “Oh Happy Day,” which the pastor mentioned was from the acclaimed movie “Sister Act.” Don’t get me wrong, they did a really nice job, but I just couldn’t stop myself from laughing.

Sebastian and Thomas after Mass in Wiesbaden

After Mass, we headed to the Kurhaus for the graduation ceremony (you can read about it’s history at the link). Straight from the Kurhaus website it says, “The Wiesbaden Kurhaus, a site of marvellous historical architecture combined with up-to-date conveniences is an experience by itself, a successful synthesis, a harmonious blend of beauty, functionalism, and recreation facilities.” And they aren’t lying – it’s gorgeous inside and out. I was happy to sit and take in the surroundings (especially since my heels were starting to kill me). I sat between Mr. Blumenthal and Thomas and waited for the ceremony to begin. All of a sudden loud music started playing and the graduates began walking in to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme song (and no, I’m not joking). It was dramatic and interesting and defintely different from the usual “Pomp and Circumstance.” However, shortly after the big entrance, my jet lag started kicking in again, and I almost fell asleep a few times. Luckily, Mr. Blumenthal decided to translate parts for me, so I was able to enjoy some of the ceremony. Thomas and I also had a nice time laughing about the music choice while the diplomas were being awarded (it was like carnival music from a merry go-round). And finally, Sebastian walked up on stage to receive his diploma. He looked really happy, and I was proud of him.

The traditional hat toss after graduating

So after 250-some students received their diplomas (which lasted a little longer than it should have), we were finally done and ready to enjoy the day. We headed out into the main room to eat pretzels, drink champagne and force Sebastian to take many photos (which my camera-shy boyfriend was not all too happy about). And then we went outside to the Biergarten (beer garden) to spend the afternoon in the sun.

The happy graduate - one of the nice pictures he took

Enjoying the biergarten

Around 2:30 p.m., I headed to my hair appointment. That evening we were attending the graduation ball, complete with tuxedos, evening gowns and a fancy dinner. I was not going to do my own hair. Sebastian’s friend Sonja was kind enough to make an appointment for me and even translate for the hairstylists how I wanted it done. It was a nice salon, and my hair looked great, but I was a little shocked by the price: 90 Euros! I didn’t understand why it was so expensive, but they simply told me it was because they had curled my hair. I politely cursed them out handed over the cash. It did look really great, so I got over it quickly. It even turned out to be a funny joke as the boys kept reminding me how much my hair was worth.

After my hair was done, we headed to the hotel to finish getting ready and then headed back to the Kurhaus for the graduation ball. It was spectacular. The evening began with more champagne and continued pleasantly from there. The food was great, the never-ending supply of wine was fantastic, the entertainment was entertaining, and I had a wonderful time. It almost made we wish I had gone to their school… almost. After the four-hour dinner, with entertainment intermissions, the real party began. Most of the parents left for the night, and the rest of us headed across the hall for the dance party/drink fest. I met many of Sebastian’s classmates, laughed a lot, drank too much and even danced a little (after Sonja and Amelie dragged me out on the floor). I honestly can’t remember the last time I had so much fun. We finally made our way back to the hotel around 3 a.m. and called it a night.

The three kings of the OW (Basti and his roommates Marc and Max)

Inside the Kurhaus ballroom

My favorite picture from the night

The next morning we awoke with slight headaches, but still in great moods from the previous evening. We checked out of the hotel and headed to the EBS campus for a graduation brunch (like I said – weekend extravaganza). I was a little sleepy, and out of it, but it was a beautiful afternoon outside and the brunch was nice. We stayed for about two hours and finally went back to the apartment to relax a little. But not for too long. Sebastian and I were flying out at 3:30 a.m. for Mallorca, Spain, and we still had to pack for our trip.

We did manage to squeeze in a coffee break with some of his friends and dinner that evening at a little Italian restuarant. There was even some excitement when Max realized he had left his passport in Munich… when he was flying to Morocco with Marc the next day. He sorted it out though and everyone went to bed. Sebastian, the smart one, went to sleep while I decided to stay up. I finished packing and finally crawled into bed shortly before my alarm would go off. I couldn’t sleep though. It was a wonderful weekend, and I was too excited for our vacation in Spain. (More to come in part two!)

Side Note: When you visit another country where you don’t know the language, it is extremely intimidating and even overwhelming at times. I want to say thank you to a few special people who have never treated me like an outsider and have always been so welcoming: Mr and Mrs. Blumenthal, Thomas, Lukas, Kathrin, Max, Marc, Sonja, Amelie, Tobias, Johannes and of course, Sebastian. You guys are the best!

3 Responses to “Germany – part one”


  1. Germany – part two « The Wild Child - 08/04/2011

    […] the graduation weekend extravaganza, Sebastian and I woke up very early Monday morning to finish packing and drive to the Frankfurt […]

  2. A happy memory « The Wild Child - 01/24/2012

    […] I like to think back to warmer days and happy memories. This past June, I traveled to Germany for Sebastian’s graduation. Afterward, we spent three glorious days in Mallorca, Spain. Here is one my favorite memories from […]

  3. My blogiversary « The Wild Child - 03/16/2012

    […] the world, and I started doing just that. Since that first post, I’ve not only traveled to Germany, but Spain and the Netherlands as […]

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