I guess I will start of with the trip to NYC. I wasn't there for as long as I can remember. Maybe my senior year we took a field trip to the city. Nevertheless, my flight was out of JFK so we needed to plan a trip. Wednesday May 12 marked the start of my 103 day adventure with a trip to the big apple. Coming from a small town in the heart of Pennsylvania's coal region, New York caught me by surprise. It was a very foggy day so I couldn't see the skyline. After our journey through the Lincoln tunnel, everything just went vertical. The biggest skyscrapers I had ever seen had my eyes gazing with astonishment. Another thing I thought was quite interesting was how big the billboards and advertisements were. And when I say big, I mean MASSIVE. Being an advertising major made this even more interesting for me because of dealing with advertising strategies in my previous communications class. There were ads that spread the length and width of a 100+ story building. This was just the beginning. We were getting closer and closer to our destination, the heart of the world, Times Square. Our parking deck was located about one or two blocks past times square, so we needed to drive through. On a sidenote, I have always considered trying to find a job and moving to the city, but after dealing with the traffic and sheer craziness, I was second guessing myself. Anyway, we finally arrived at the parking deck, gathered our things and made our way to the sights and sounds of NYC.
I won't go into details about what we saw or did, but all I would like to say is how many different venues and businesses there were within 3 blocks of times square and how they were trying to promote themselves. It was really unbelievable. After making our rounds, we started to head back to the parking garage. My flight was at 9:25pm, so we wanted to make sure we were giving ourselves enough time to get to JFK, especially with the heavy traffic. It took the same amount of time to get from Times Square to JFK that it did to get from Tamaqua to the suburbs of New York City. Finally around 6:30 we arrived and I checked my baggage in at the Singapore kiosk. From there we decided to eat at a restaurant in the airport since we had some extra time. Our meal was great and I could begin to feel the anticipation of my trip. It was an emotional time for all of us because this was the first time I would be traveling alone, in another country, for three and a half months! After we said our goodbyes, I was off to go through the security checkpoint. From that point on, everything went pretty smooth. I was a little worried about our flight being delayed on account of the Iceland volcano, Eyjafjallajokull. I boarded my plane around 8:45 and settled down for the 7 hour flight to Frankfurt.
The night prior, I didn't get much sleep on account of the excitement and figured I would be able to sleep on the plane. After eating our dinner, I settled down and tried to fall asleep to a movie, but couldn't get comfortable. I don't know if it was my nerves or the fact that my seat was broken so I couldn't recline, but I think I tried to sleep for about 2 or 3 hours and maybe got 20 or 30 minutes of shuteye. I was just grateful to have made it to Frankfurt in one piece. After exiting the plane, it was clear I was in another country. I followed the German/English signs to the baggage claim, got both suitcases, and made my way out to meet Christoph, Luke, & Marius. Three years prior I took a trip to Germany with the Tamaqua High School to Landau, Germany for about two weeks. Previously, I hosted a student during the fall of my senior year at Tamaqua. The student, Gabe, invited me to stay at his place during my time in Landau. I met Christoph, Luke, & Marius through Gabe and we all became good friends. We tried to keep in touch over the years and when they found out I was coming to Germany, we all got excited. They met me at the airport and from there we traveled to their hometown of Landau. It was great to see them again. During the hour or so drive to Landau we all caught up on what we have been doing over the past three years. When we arrived in Landau, they drove me to Gabe's house where I met his brother Julian and parents, Lisa and Klaus. It was a warm welcome to say the least. Having a great German meal prepared for my arrival made it even better. After dinner, I decided to give them the gifts I had purchased back in the states. With Gabe still studying at his University, he was unable to attend. For Marius, Luke, and Gabe, I bought them polos from the American Eagle in Times Square.
For Christoph, he told me he always wanted Blublocker sunglasses which are know for being used in the movie, The Hangover, when Alan Garner, better known as Zach Galifianakis, sported them during the elevator scene. Julian told me he liked the Tamaqua hoodies, so to match the theme I used for his parents gift, I got him a coal region hoodie. Finally, for Mr. and Mrs. Werthmann, I found a neat store in Pottsville where they sold a variety of things, but specifically just what I was looking for. A pure piece of Anthracite coal in which the front portion was carved into a miner from the late 1800s/early 1900s. I thought this would be a great piece of memorabilia. By the end of dinner, I was just about falling asleep at the table due to the lack of sleep over the past 30 hours. I excused myself and took a well needed nap. After I woke up from my 4 hour nap, it was around 8:00pm and I needed to get ready for our trip to the Musikpark. I had been there once before and needless to say, I was pretty excited. We all met at Luke's house before we left for Musikpark. Once everyone arrived, we set off for the club.
When I arrived, it was just as how I remembered it three years prior. Flashing lights, loud music, and great friends made it for an interesting night. After some drinks, pictures, and dancing for about three or four hours, I was once again ready to curl up in my bed. This time for a bit longer than 4 hours. The next day, I woke up after sleeping off my jetlag around 2:00pm.
From there, Christoph picked me up and we met Luke and Marius downtown so I could get a phone to use during my time in Germany. They wanted me to try and speak German and end up with a cell phone, but I got nowhere. Luke stepped in. Danke, Luke. Once I got my mobile, we took a little walk around the town before heading back to the Werthmann's. When I got back, Lisa and Klaus had a great meal prepared for me. I love German food! Since it was my last night in Landau, the guys took me out to a new bar in Landau where we chatted with some friends.
We eventually left and made our way home around midnight.
The next day I got to enjoy an unfamiliar sight which consisted of people from all around Landau selling their flowers or produce at the local market. It was neat to see the people walking around, punching their food for the next few days while sipping on some hot chocolate with Marius, Luke and Christoph. Around 2:00pm, it was time to head home and begin packing my things for Pforzheim.