I have now stayed with my host family for a week. I think these two weeks were a really good decision for me, especially since I was looking for full immersion in the German language this semester. My family has shown me a few places around where they live, and it has become more apparent the longer I live in Germany that they love nature. During the week everyone was busy, so we only had time to watch a few things on their TV or play a card game. They showed me the famous “Dinner for One” sketch that they all watch on New Year’s Eve. It is quite entertaining, but I’m still not sure why it became so popular to the point that they watch it every year.
On the weekend, we finally had quite a bit more time to explore the local area. Since the region traditionally used to revolved around mining, they had to deposit the leftovers from the mining process somewhere. What they ended up with a what is a called a “Halde” in German. The top has been covered and plants grow freely all over these hills. There are paths all across each hill, and we took an hour or two to enjoy the fresh air and amazing view from the top of the hill.
We also visited a special event called the “Cranger Kirmes” in the nearby city of Herne. I didn’t know this before they told me, but apparently this “Kirmes” or festival is the second largest of its kind in all of Germany, right behind the famous “Oktoberfest” in Munich. The place was packed with people, and I headed directly for what I later found out is the largest portable roller coaster in the world! After that we people watched for a while and went for a few drinks at different stands. We also had the chance to see some amazing fireworks before heading back home after a long day.
Yesterday, my host mom and I biked around the city of Recklinghausen (where they live) and enjoyed the nice weather. My host dad is currently traveling for work and will be spending three days in Berlin. He’s a trainer for a call center at his company. Because he is a trainer and not actually one of the callers, his schedule is a little more flexible. For example, he still has to let his boss his schedule for the week, but he is free to show up at work anytime between 8 and 10 am each morning.
Speaking of schedules, Germans love them. While it may not be true for all German families, my family seems to have their schedules, even on a normal day, figured out quite well in advance. They always would prefer to know if I will be back for dinner each day, and if so what time exactly. While it is a little more work to have to coordinate everything the night before, it does mean that they don’t have to wait on anyone too long since they then know approximately when they are meeting other people.
That’s it for this blog. The next one will be up soon!