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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Our trip to Germany

I'm not that sure about this blog thing. When it was just my sermons, fine. That's all public stuff anyway. Going on about my sabbatical adventures is another thing entirely. How much sharing is too much? How much is too little? What will be interesting to other people? I am a pretty private person (I think?) so it just seems weird. Maybe I should have read more blogs before setting myself up for this. Anyway, here we go.

May 9:
We were leaving the next morning. Our boy was already at grandma's. Nick and I went out to grab a few things we needed and went out for lunch. When we got home, I started feeling absolutely terrible. I didn't want to admit that I was sick. I was shivering uncontrollably. I started downing the fluids and just went to bed and stayed there. I vaguely remember Nick saying he was going to the store and it seemed like he was cooking for hours. I felt terrible when he woke me up for dinner. I could barely eat a thing. My temperatures was 101.2. I called the nurseline and acted very brave. She said I should be able to fly as long as I wasn't coughing uncontrollably or constantly throwing up, as far as a doctor is concerned. But she also warned that the airline might not let me board if I looked visibly sick.

My fever had broken when I woke in the night. The next morning I felt like eating. My bones were very achy and my throat a little sore, but other than that, I was fine. Thank God we were on our way!

May 10:
We finished our packing and Nick went out to get a few last minute items. I dropped him off at the Max station with all our bags, drove the car back home, and walked the half mile back to the Max. PDX still mostly has the old carpet. Marlaina and Thor were there at the gate, LaVern's daughter and grandson. Turns out they were going to Germany, too! Everything went smoothly, arriving, checking bags, and boarding.We even had an empty seat next to us on the plane. We settled in for a 9 1/2 hour flight. My body was still aching from being sick, so it was very hard to get comfortable. I just drifted off when a toddler started screaming. His mom was nervous and he was upset and no one was getting any rest. I really wanted to go scoop him up and sing something to him to calm him down, but that wasn't going to be helpful. I kept praying that the mom would calm down, because I think he was feeding off of her nervous energy. So, 10 hours later we arrived sleepless. It would have been midnight Portland time. We had a 4 1/2 hour layover in Amsterdam, so it was almost 5 in the morning when we departed for Hannover. No sleep on that airplane either--it was only an hour flight. At least I bought some pain reliever in Amsterdam so that was helping my poor aches.

May 11: We arrived in Hannover! We got our bags easily and found the car rental. I spoke my first sentences of German to a German in a very long time and I was understood! I felt very brave. He switched to English for me, though. They commented that I was born in Germany, then upgraded our car to a Mercedes. Maybe those things are unrelated? I hadn't realized the rental cars all have GPS. That was going to make life a lot easier. Ours was set to Russian and we couldn't read the controls to change it to English, so I had to go in and ask the nice car rental person to come help us. It took him a few minutes to figure it out too, so we didn't feel so stupid.

Here's where we stayed the first 2 nights:

We drove straight to our AirBNB. It was out in the country a little bit. It was really beautiful in Hannover. There were wind turbines everywhere and fields of green and others of yellow. Check in wasn't until 6 and we were almost 2 hours early. We were so tired. But I asked directions to a grocery store from a nice man out watering his lawn and I understood enough to actually find the grocery store! We grabbed a few things we needed and then drove around wasting time and checking out this little neighborhood in Hannover. We arrived a half hour early, but they were happy to show us our room. Our host spoke mostly German, but we were able to communicate. The apartment is nice, clean and quiet. We laid down for a couple of hour nap. I was afraid I would wake up feeling worse than before and disoriented, but I woke up feeling ready to go.

One minor complication of our trip was that we had a limited data plan for our phones while were there, and we didn't want to always be looking up websites on our phones, so we would look things up using the free wifi in our AirBNBs and then go out and not use our internet, so if the restaurant wasn't there anymore or was unexpectedly closed, we had to come up with a new plan without having all the information we would have liked to have.

We went looking for food. The restaurant wasn't there. We drove back to another restaurant we saw on the way and arrived 20 minutes before closing. Another party arrived after us, so I didn't feel so bad. I mostly spoke German with the waitress, but they gave us a menu in English. It was Mediterranean food. It turns out it was Italian food. I hadn't even thought about the fact that Italy was on the Mediterranean until I ate that meal. It was fine, just not what I expected. We brought the leftovers home for breakfast. Before we left, they gave us each a shot of a licorice liqueur.

After this we looked up how much to tip and realized that we tipped too much. Wait staff are well compensated already, so usually one just rounds up when paying the bill. Also, you have to ask for the bill. They will never give it to you if you don't ask.

We tried calling our boy but he was napping. We went to sleep tired and relieved to be starting our trip.

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