In 2006, I travelled to Germany and lived with a family for 6 weeks. My host family was very accommodating, and I gained new relationships that are life-lasting. My host brother, Andreas, came to visit me on my birthday, the 16th of December. It was a Sunday and the previous night had brought a generous portion of fresh white snow. I woke up to a wonderful start of the day: my family telling me “Happy Birthday” and making some yummy breakfast: homemade pancakes, pan-fried eggs, and hot coffee.
Towards sunset, my host brother Andreas and his lovely girlfriend Sara arrived in Tübingen; it was their first time here. It was so surreal to see my host brother again in person –it had been 12 years. We met on the Neckarbrücke and took a short walk to the Hofkonditorei Röcker café. There, Andreas and Sara met my family and we had a couple drinks and desserts together. We left for the Weihnachtsmarkt, had a couple cups of Glühwein and some Bavarian Würschen. Afterwards we went home, exchanged some gifts, and watched a movie together.
I was finishing some of my courses that week and getting ready for the break. Meanwhile, Andreas and Sara were relaxing at their hotel. When I was finished with class on Monday, we met up and had lunch at the Ratskeller in the Altstadt of Tübingen. Afterwards, we walked around town and showed Andreas and Sara where some of my classes were, the Bibliothek, and the Rathaus (city hall) of course, among many other areas. We eventually went home, where I cooked my homemade Spätzle and Indian style Butter Chicken. We watched The Big Lebowski and had a couple of beers. It was a wonderful evening; nice and kickback.
The next day, Wednesday, was their last day visiting in Tübingen. We bought a Baden-Württemberg Ticket and headed for Stuttgart! In Stuttgart, we had no pre-made plans, but when we left the Bahnhof, we stumbled upon the Stuttgarter Weihnachtsmarkt! What a surprise! We enjoyed some treats, goodies, and of course, more Glühwein! It was a great evening. My wife Morgan stayed home because she wasn’t feeling too great, but nevertheless we had a blast! We took the kids on a ride on this really awesome Swiss-made miniature train. This was the first time I had ever rode a train like this. We created some fun memories and by the end of the night we were all wiped out.
The next morning, Andreas and Sara gave me a ride to my lecture on the top of the hill, auf der Morgenstelle, and I said my goodbyes. It was very sad to see them go but we plan to visit each other a couple more times before moving back to California.
I would say that this birthday, turning 31, was one of the best yet. I got to see my brother, Andreas, and spent time with my family, including my new German-host-sister Sara. Sounds funny, but she’s definitely family now!
We were now headed into the Christmas and New Year season. There were many things to enjoy during the break, many gifts to exchange, many new places to see, and many new memories to create. Stay tuned!
A friendship, 12 years in the making
Sara, Ezra, Andreas, and Asher (left to right)