My trip to Hanover, Germany
Fußball and KaffeeklatschI was born in Rocky Mountain House, Canada and had never been abroad before. My grandparents were German, and it had always been my dream to go to Germany ("Deutschland") and learn their language.
I was excited when I finally arrived in Hannover, Northern Germany, and met my host family ("Familie"), the Schröders. Otto was a high school teacher, and - how exciting is that?! - his wife Brigitte was an actress! She had even been in a movie ("Spielfilm") with famous German comedian "Loriot" once that was shot in Berlin when the wall ("die Mauer") came down in 1990, so she had shared a hotel with Helmut Kohl. All this was exciting, but when I tried to pronounce the German word for "actress" - "Schauspielerin" - I failed miserably.
Still, the Schröders were helpful and patient, and we all had a good laugh about my first attempts at speaking German. My host sister's name was Katja. She was very friendly and immediately started teaching me new words after the "Schauspielerin" fiasco in an effort to show me how easy it was to speak German.
"Kaffee!" she called out enthusiastically when we stopped for a coffee break, and "Keks" as she handed me a cookie. "Perfekt" she enthused when I imitated her pronunciation.
Little did I know that this was only the beginning of a whole string of afternoons filled with "Kaffeeklatsch", drinking beautiful "Kaffee", eating amazing "Kekse" homemade by grandma Liesel and enjoying "Kuchen" (cake) and "Torte" (tart or pie) with family and friends.
I quickly became a big fan of the famous German "Gemütlichkeit", a feeling of comfort, joy, peace, and warmth, and learned to speak German "wie ein Profi" (like a pro) as we sat together in the afternoons.
Luckily, Katja also introduced me to Fußball (soccer), a sport mostly played by boys in Germany, which I loved and ended up playing three times a week. Otherwise I would have gained ridiculous amounts of weight during my stay!