I can’t even believe how quickly this year has passed. As you read this, I’m on the long journey home: Prague -> Warsaw -> Chicago -> Houston. So if you could say a quick prayer for uneventful travel and no delays, that would be wonderful!!
I spent 10 1/2 months living in Dresden, and each one of those months… each day, really, was an amazing adventure and I am privileged to have had this opportunity. As always, when looking back, it’s hard to decide whether the time flew past or crawled by… in some ways, it seems as if I were just yesterday being picked up by my host dad at the Dresden airport, but in some ways that seems like thirty years ago.
To make sense of the time, and to reminisce a bit at the end of my stay, I’ve compiled some of my favorite memories from the year!
I arrived in Dresden and moved in with my host family, the Brauns. I started the endless paper trail that’s involved in moving to Germany. I visited the university for the first time and got my bearings. I started to fall in love with Dresden.
I celebrated German Reunification on October 3 with a trip to Königstein Fortress and hiking in Bohemia. I went to Prague for the first time! I attended the DAAD North America meet-up in Köln and stopped in Schönstatt on my way home.
I went to London for a long weekend! Felicitas had the first of our many Dresden adventures. I spent a weekend in the Sächsische Schweiz with KSG friends.
I celebrated German Thanksgiving–twice! I enjoyed many Christmas markets. My family visited and we spent a wonderful week in Prague. I rang in the New Year in Dresden with a murder mystery dinner, champagne, and fireworks.
It snowed!! I visited the porcelain factory in Meissen on the coldest day of the year. I finally got my Aufenthaltserlaubnis! I conducted two interviews (in German!) for my research project.
I took my first ever Spanish test. I wrote the first chapter of my report. I went ice skating! And I traveled to Spain to see Daniel for the first time in six months!
I spent two weeks in Spain and went to Portugal for one weekend. I celebrated my 23rd birthday in Dresden with donuts and bike-riding, many thanks to Flitzi. I went to Greece for a conference, which ended up being the worst part of an otherwise delightful vacation. I met my dad in Hamburg.
I wrote Chapter Two. I picnicked and grilled along the Elbe with friends. I celebrated Holy Week and Easter. And I traveled to Rome for the Canonization of John Paul II and John XXIII.
I kept writing, despite frustration. I had an epic one-week Eurotrip with my best friend Laura. I gave a Referat in my North American geography seminar. I welcomed Daniel to Germany, and we went to Poland for a weekend.
After spending a week with Daniel in Dresden, I got back to writing and finished my rough draft. I went to my first German wedding! Felicitas and I took a crazy day trip to Thüringen. And I closed out the month at Elbhangfest.
I traveled to Goettingen, Budapest, Braunschweig, and Freiburg. I caught World Cup fever and Germany won the ‘ship!! I finished my report and enjoyed my last days in Dresden, complete with a going-away party among wonderful friends. I wondered how the time could have gone so fast.