Family Reunion in Mannheim, Germany
With my European study tour coming to an end, it was time to visit family in Germany. I was extremely excited to get to go back! I flew into Frankfurt, where my dad met me and then we drove to Mannheim to visit family. Shortly, after we arrived we went to a restaurant where we had dinner with the whole family. I had never met my family overseas, so I couldn’t wait to finally meet them. I’ve seen pictures and heard stories but never got to meet them so this trip was very special for me! At dinner, I got to meet about 12 of my cousins and relatives, which was a great way to start the trip. After dinner, four of my cousins took us to Heidelberg and we walked around town and watched some of the soccer cup game. The atmosphere around town was insane because it was the first time two German teams were playing in the championship. FC Bayern Munich pulled out the victory, and it was very exciting to be among the atmosphere during the game.
The next day, my cousins Marco and Daniel were going to the gym and were nice enough to take me along. Later that day, my dad and I went over to my cousin Henry’s house and had an amazing home cooked meal. There were probably ten of us total for dinner, including my cousin Henry, his wife Mimi, his three sons Daniel, Marco, and Iven, my cousin Bernd, my dad’s aunt Ursula, and Daniel’s fiancé Laura. It was great to spend the day with the family and have some authentic home cooked German food. We had schnitzel, white asparagus, potatoes, and some German pastries/desserts. Everything was incredible!! After dinner, we hung out for a little while and then finished the night off playing Rummy. Needless to say, I wasn’t very good, but it was still tons of fun.
On Monday, I got to meet some more family for the first time. Around lunchtime, we went to my uncle Gunter and aunt Lea’s house. Their kids, Sandi and Rachel, and Sandi’s daughter Larissa joined us for lunch. It was great to meet more family. We had a traditional German lunch with weiswurst, pretzels, cheeses, and tomatoes and cucumbers. After lunch we hung out and looked through old photo albums. We then went for a little walk through the neighborhood and went to dinner at a local restaurant called Gasthaus Morgenrote, where I got goulash and knödel. I also got to try some kassaptzen, which is a spaetzel and cheese casserole. I loved it all! It was another great day meeting some more family for the first time.
The following day, Tuesday, was our last day in Munich. My dad and I started the day off just like we did all the other days by heading to the local outdoor court to play some basketball! But today when we got the courts, there were three little boys playing soccer on one side, so I went to the open half and just started my workout. After a few minutes, I noticed that the boys stopped their game and were sitting on the side watching me shoot. A little while later they wanted to play with me, 3 against 1. So we played a little 3 vs. 1, and I have to say it was really fun! The three boys were so happy and smiling and laughing the whole time. It made my day to see them having so much fun. That afternoon my dad and I went into downtown Munich and walked around and did a little shopping. Around 4p.m. we went over to my cousin Henry’s house one last time for a farewell dinner. Aunt Mimi made knödel, some different meat dishes, spaetzel, a German chicken stew dish, and a tiramisu cake with berries for dessert. It was delicious as always! After dinner we all hung out on the patio for a little bit and then some people played cards and my cousin Marco took Daniel, Laura and I to see his flat. It was absolutely amazing…I wanted to move there (lol). When we got back to the house it was time to say goodbye to everyone :( It was time to go home and head back to Baltimore for summer school. During our goodbyes, we all got a little emotional. I had such an amazing time meeting everyone and spending time with them. I couldn’t thank them enough for everything they did and making it one of the best couple days I could’ve asked for. It was truly an unforgettable trip! I miss my family already and I can’t wait to see them all again soon J I am so grateful and thankful for the two and a half weeks I got to spend in Europe with friends and family. But, it is time to head back home to the United States and Loyola for summer school!