This is a bit late. I returned to the States on July 9th. My flight left from Berlin at 11 and arrived New York at 14:00 local time. I had another lengthy layover there. I arrived in Atlanta at around 23:00. Both flights were just fine and I returned safely, as many of you already know.
My last day in Germany was spent packing. Frau Luedkte accompanied me to the airport. I made it through customs in New York easily. I think travelling alone is much easier than travelling with multiple people. It seemed like the families always had the most problems with luggage and tickets and things. When my flight departed from New York around 21:00, the sun was setting and it was beautiful. It was an amazing sight to see at the end of an epic journey like this one.
I have learned a lot on this journey. This was my first trip where I spent any real time staying in one place in Europe. This is my second time visiting Europe. The first was with my sister and grandmother to Great Britain after we graduated high school. While Great Britain was a nice first time experience "over the pond" as one of my friends calls it, we rarely stayed in one city for more than 2 days. We did all the things tourists do which is not a bad thing. Because of our constant moving about, the trip called for extreme tourism. We were able to make friends with some of the people on the bus tour with us, and it was a great time; it was just very different from my experience in Berlin. In Berlin, I was able to see how the locals did things. I feel like I understand what the atmosphere is in Berlin. I am not saying that I know everything about German culture and customs, but when I was there, I could sort of feel something in the atmosphere that was different. It's one of those things that you can sense, and that you could never truly understand until you go there. This is not just the case for Berlin either, I doubt.
Upon my return, I quickly adapted back into my American lifestyle, although it took me a while to get used to the fact that every store I walked in to had English speaking employees. It was a relief to know that I could say whatever I wanted, instead of having to put my brain into overdrive before uttering three or four words. A downfall of returning, though, if that I greatly miss the public transportation. I can no longer just walk down the street and hop on an U-Bahn which would transport me wherever I desire. I have to drive now. Blah. It doesn't help that my car's air conditioner is not functional and it is in the high 90s in humid Alabama. I'll get over it.
The time in Germany flew by. I can't believe that I have already been back for two weeks. It almost seems like it was all just a dream. I would like to return someday, except next time, I will take someone with me. It was wonderful being there, and it was quite a learning experience for me to go alone. I have learned that the world is not as exciting, interesting, or beautiful unless you have someone to share it with. Not for me, at least.
By completing this trip, I have fulfilled a goal that I have been striving for for about 2 years now. When I was in high school, my senior English teacher had us create a "Senior Scrapbook" as a project. I looked through it a few days ago and found that I created a page for future goals. On it, I mentioned that I wanted to travel a lot and pasted on the side pictures of the England flag, the German flag and the New Zealand flag. I have, since creating it, completed two of those three destinations. It is interesting to know that something I have been planning and looking forward to for a few years has finally come to pass. And it is over.
I am extremely appreciative to everyone who has made this trip possible. My grandpa Tony, Pops and Study Away have been extremely helpful as far as funding goes. My mom helped me a lot with funding too, but was really helpful as far as planning things out with me. I am also glad that everyone who has been following this blog has shown so much interest in it. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback about the blog. I hope everyone has enjoyed it. Thanks for following!
Because I am back to where my heart is, I think that is the most appropriate word to use for the final post. Heimat (pronounced Hi- maht) is German for the word "home." Tschuss everyone!