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Germany; Day 1 and 2.

Posted on March 2, 2009 by under Family, Life, Travel.    

I have come to the realization that as Americans we take a lot for granted. I was one of those people. I took everything that I had available to me for granted. You hear so many people that say that other countries have it better. This is not true.

I was recently asked to go to Germany by my company. I was a little Leary at first because it was going to be a 2 week stay. I don’t like being away from my wife and family and if I travel in the states, its a little easier to jump on a plane and get home if something bad were to happen. But not going was not and option. It was going to cost far less and be much easier to go to Germany than it was going to be to have the team come here. I got myself psyched up and decided that this was going to be a good thing. I had talked to a few people that told me that everything was going to be OK that there was not much of a difference between Germany and America. They said that English was like a second language and that pretty much everyone spoke it. Well this was not true.

Day 1: After a rather long and boring flight I landed in Frankfurt. I needed to buy a prepaid phone because I did not have one that I could use in Germany that would not cost me a dollar a minute to make a call. I found one right away and bought it. Got the card put it in and was on my way. I needed to find a meeting point. In German Airports they actually have places that everyone gather to get picked up by various modes of transportation. I asked some guy that worked for the airport (he spoke English) and he pointed me in the right direction. Good thing too because I would not have found it other wise. When I got there I just stood for a moment and sure enough the guy with the Viega sign showed up. First thing he asks me is if I speak German. I responded No. He then told me he spoke no English and pointed my butt out the door. I followed him to his car and then we were off. 2 hours of silence to Attendorn.

There is the first thing we take for granted. Communication, you have no idea the impact it has on a person that has never been to a non-English speaking country to be thrust into a situation where he can not speak to anyone. It only got worse from there. The nice lady at the hotel spoke enough English to get by but not much. When I got in I was told that there was nothing to eat. the Diner was closed. This sucked because I was starving. I found a little shop that was open late so i decided to jump in there. Wouldn’t you know it, they don’t speak any English at all. it took me 15 min to get a cheese pizza ordered. The ability to communicate is very important to a person. You loose that ability and you loose the ability to control the situation. I finally got my pizza and went to my room. I turned the TV on and everything was in German (of course). I found “High Stakes Poker” and decided that it was going to have to do. It was in English but had German announcers and interviews. I decided to get on the internet and see if I could chat with my wife. This at first did not work. The internet that was supposed to be in the hotel was not and the only thing I could find was a week connection from some place relatively close (this is what I am on now).

I learned before I left that I would need a power converter as Germany uses a different power set up. I got one from Wal-mart (first mistake) and plugged it in. I realized after a few hours that I smelled plastic burning. Wouldn’t you know it the dammed converter is melting. I pulled it out then decided to just shut everything down and go to bed. It was about 4 in the afternoon German time and I thought I could sleep until at least 4 or 5 am. Nope. I woke up at about 10. turned the TV on and decided to chat with my wife. I did so for a few moments then she had to leave. I turned everything off then watched some more tv. Around midnight the breaker in the room blew out. Maybe because of the converter. I tried to call the office and there was no answer. I figured they might be busy. I got dressed and walked to the office and it was locked up tight. I then realized that Germany does not have the same hotels as America. There desk people close up shop after a specific time. This is just great. i am sitting in a room with no power and I can not do anything. I use the last of my battery to chat with my wife. Then in a moment of desperation at about 3 in the morning I call her and just unload. I was so emotional that I just could not hold it in. Once i got it out of me I was able to sleep a little longer.

Day 2: I woke up at about 6:30 local time and showered in the dark. That’s a real trick let me tell you. I went to the office and told them about what happened. They looked at my room and told me that they would get the maintenance guy to look and maybe have to move me. I told them whatever worked and thanked them for there assistance. I went to the Viega office and got checked in. Spent most of the morning with Mattias and got introduced to everyone that I would be communicating with in the next two weeks. Luckily all of them speak decent English. There are a few things they have a hard time understanding but for the most part they got a firm grasp of the language. I got schooled real quick about Germany from everyone. They advised me of some real interesting points to remember for the future.

First, Most Germans do not speak English, especially in small towns like this. Second, Small towns like this tend to close up tighter than a ducks butt after a specific time and almost always on Sunday. Then I learned that the food is far different. I got up for breakfast and was served Rolls, OJ and some meats that I could not recognize and Poached Eggs if I wanted them and some very bland cereal. I ate a roll, drank two glasses of OJ then bounced. Lunch was actually good. But Matthias took me to a place that served Lasagna. Dinner was chicken because I asked Matthias and he thought that anything chicken would be good. This is not true. I got a Chicken dinner and there was so much wine in it that I had an allergy flash. I stopped eating after about 3 bites and just ate these little potato things. They were not bad. I bought some snacks earlier from a grocery store thanks to Matthias. I just went back to the room and munched on this stuff.

Here is another example of things we take for granted. We have the ability to get up and go anywhere at any time and have a meal. Most places are open late, others are open 24 hours. When you go to another country you do not have these options. I was told that the larger cities had McDonald’s and what not but most were like here.

I am now sitting in this room and blogging. I am using the weak connection that is holding up pretty good. I will have to go to the diner or te bar this weekend if I want ot use the web cam I think. I plan on doing that simply because I have to see my wife. Other than that I am doing my job and counting the days. I have 11 days left and then its back to the warm loving arms of my wife. I can not wait.

I will detail more of my trip later. I think know I am going to crash.

Everyone enjoy and have a good day/night.

Related Stories

  • Germany yet another Day on March 8, 2009
  • Germany Day……I dont know. on March 7, 2009
  • Attendorn Germany, Day 1 on July 7, 2010
  • Germany Day 4 on March 4, 2009
  • Germany the Home Stretch on March 9, 2009

  • Replies to "Germany; Day 1 and 2. "


    Ching  on March 2, 2009

    I’m sorry to hear that you are having a rotten time, baby. Try to pick up some German so you can communicate with people.

    I love you and I miss you lots!


    Significant Moments of 2009 : Life After Marriage  on January 31, 2010

    […] Brian made it to Germany and back in one piece. It was quite an emotional trip, though. Partly because it was the longest that we’d been apart since we’d gotten together, but also partly because Brian went through a lot of stuff. He wanted to come home the very next day. He toughed it out though and managed to make it through the two weeks without killing himself. He was definitely outside his comfort zone. […]

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