I have a confession –
I’m terribly homesick.
The only problem is, I never really called the place home. I was there for 9 days, but in those 9 days I felt more comfortable and at home than I ever have in Indiana. Now, that’s not to say I don’t love my state and my current home, but if you gave me the option to go back, I’d be out the door before you could finish your sentence.
I guess I should clarify a bit. This past June, I had the amazing opportunity to go on a 9 day trip to Western Europe with 6 other students, who also happen to be some of my best friends, from my German class. There’s something incredible about travelling abroad when you’re only 17, especially when you’re surrounded by your friends, and I think that really amplified the whole trip for me. When you travel abroad you realize how much of the world you haven’t experienced yet, and everything else seems so small. Then when it’s time to come home, the plane ride is basically new-age torture.
Let me put it into perspective for you. June 12th we arrived at the Indianapolis Airport, and waited 2-3 hours before boarding our flight to Charlotte. When we arrived in Charlotte, we had another hour before we braced ourselves for the 9 hour flight to Frankfurt. (For the record, I watched ‘Jackie’ 3 times, and another movie I can’t remember the name of at least twice.) Since we were part of a Passports travel group, we spent another hour and a half in the Frankfurt airport waiting for the group from Texas to land before we boarded our bus. If we do the math, that’s almost 17 hours spent in airports or on planes alone, and I was already in love with what I’d seen out the plane window.
Our first day and a half of the tour was spent in Rothenberg ob der Tauber, a beautiful old city that lies along the path of the Romantic Road in Southern Germany. (Fun fact! “Rothenberg ob der Tauber” translates to “Red fortress above the Tauber.” It’s thought to be named this due to the red roofs of the houses overlooking the Tauber River.) The funniest part of our time in the city was the first morning we spent there. In the US, the sun typically rises around 7-8 am. In Germany though, the sun was rising at around 5 am. Now I’m a morning person – as long as there’s natural light. So when I saw sunlight through our little window, I was ready to get up and go! Then I realized what time it actually was, and just had to sit and play on my phone for two hours, because I was already dressed and ready.
After Rothenburg it was back to the bus for our ride to Munich! We made a stop in Dinkelsbuhl for about an hour along the way, which was really nice! I got some of the best pastries there!
Munich was the city that stole my heart, in all honesty. It was absolutely incredible there, and I loved every minute of it. We did SO much walking, I was almost 3x over my daily 10,000 step count, and I’m sure that’s thanks to climbing up on of the towers there! There were so many stands of fruits and vegetables along the streets, I bought a box of strawberries for the ride the next morning. (Which was fantastic, by the way.) Not to mention, I tried what would become my new food obsession – Currywurst. I know that sounds weird, but trust me, it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I don’t know if I could ever recreate it at home, but I’m certainly going to try!
From Munich we departed for our excursion to Nymphenburg palace! It was absolutely gorgeous there, and 100% my aesthetic honestly. I especially loved finding details in the murals painted on the walls and ceilings on all the rooms!
Before heading to Innsbruck we also went to see the Linderhof and Neuschwanstein palaces. Unfortunately, we didn’t have as much luck with the weather. It was quite cold, and rained all morning, but it was still very, very beautiful.
After we spent the night in Innsbruck, we left Germany and headed to Switzerland, to spend two days in Lucerne. I can honestly say these two days were the most fun I had on this trip. We ate so much ice cream, took a tram up to Mt. Pilatus, spent late nights playing Euchre after standing (and falling, for some of us) in the river, and rented paddle boats, which was an adventure in itself. Not to mention the fact that Lucerne was absolutely gorgeous whether it was 5 am or 10 pm.
We left Switzerland early so we could stop at the Rhine Falls before heading back to Frankfurt to depart. I’m sure I cried once or twice (or maybe three times) on the 9 hour flight back to Charlotte, if I’m being entirely honest. People have tried to convince me that I only miss the memories I made, and not the country itself, since I was there for such a short time. Not to say that I don’t miss the memories, but I also don’t believe that’s true. It’s the same way that someone can be your best friend even if you haven’t known them as long as some of your other friends. With that logic, a place can feel like home even if you haven’t lived there. And with that feeling of home comes the feeling of homesickness. The question is, how do you handle this form of homesick? I have several friends in parts of Germany that I talk to, and I’m in search of a penpal as well, and sometimes it’s great hearing them talk about what’s happening around them. Sometimes though, it just reminds me how much I miss it. I will be the firs to admit that I have occasionally cried thinking about just how long it will be until I go back. Sometimes my stomach is in knots because I miss what it felt like to have that freedom and comfort in a place that is not here. I haven’t found the perfect balance my two “homes” yet, but with all my college options *requiring* students to study abroad at least once, I know that it won’t be long before I’m back again! Until then, I’m finally getting around to editing a vlog from my trip, and seeking a penpal to keep me company.
Have you ever visited a country that felt like home to you? Did you get homesick when you returned home as well? If so, how did you deal with it? Let me know in the comments, because I need all the help I can get.