First day in Germany!

Well, the time has finally come: I’ve arrived in Germany for my semester abroad! I am in Wuppertal, a city in the western part of the country. Bethel has had an exchange program with the university here since the 1950′s in which two student from Bethel go to Wuppertal, and two students from Wuppertal go to Bethel. It’s amazing to not only have an opportunity to study abroad, but also participate in such a long-standing tradition. I traveled here with one other Bethel student, Chris Eitzen. We flew out from Wichita to Chicago, Chicago to London, and then London to Dusseldorf, a city near Wuppertal. Our plane in Chicago ended up not leaving until two hours after the scheduled time, so even though we were supposed to have a 3-hour layover in London, we ended up missing our flight. But they got us on the next one, no problem, so we arrived in Düsseldorf at 5:30 p.m. (There is a 7-hour time difference, so it would have only been 10:30 in the morning back home!). Jacky, one of the Wuppertal students currently studying at Bethel (and one of my modmates! :)) has parents who live here, so they picked us up from the airport and have been very helpful. Her mom, Martina, speaks good English, so that is helpful, but she said right away that she would speak in German to help us learn, which I appreciated. It was about a 40-minute drive to Wuppertal from the airport, and we spoke only in German the entire way, which was great practice, but I was also exhausted from flying, so as the evening got later I was okay with breaking down and speaking English!We met a student who checked us into our rooms and gave us our keys. Unfortunately, our room furnishings, like bedsheets and towels, etc., were not in our rooms yet, so Martina kindly went back to their house and got us bedsheets. I didn’t think about needing a towel until after she had already left, so let’s just say that when you’ve been on a plane/in airports for 15+ hours and want a shower bad enough, you don’t really care about what you use to dry off!The student who checked us in also took us to the PennyMarkt, which is only about a 5-minute walk from our dorm. I’ll definitely be getting my exercise –there are about 8 sets of steps to get there, which isn’t so bad when you’re going down, but coming back with a couple sacks of groceries and going back UP the stairs really works up a sweat!Anyway…that’s a quick update. Now it’s time to get some real shut-eye for the first time in…30 hours!