The memories and friends I made in Germany are going to hopefully stay with me for the rest of my life. The experience was so much more than I could ever have hoped for. whenever anyone asks me how the trip was I'm excited to tell them of everything: from Berlin and learning how to travel on the bahnhoff to my new "family" in Nürtingen whom I miss so very much already. The Germany trip expanded my limited understanding of an amazing culture I knew little about. Speaking to anyone I could while over there turned out to be the best parts of the trip. having conversations with an Australian traveling the world, a German politician on business in Berlin, A shop teacher urging anyone to step in and join the students making wooden spoons, a lunch lady that just kept telling me to "take more food", and other staff and students at the Waldorf school, these along with the many teachers and students in Nürtingen and the many, many people I talked to in shops and buses truly showed me the meaning of being polite and friendly to complete strangers just for the sake of being polite and friendly.
My presentation for the children went better than I thought it would go. With my lack of experience I worried and overthought days beforehand, though it all seemed I did that for no reason. Once I got in front of the classes, with some help from Amanda and Jennifer, the students and teachers alike responded positively. With some needed translation from my host Jennifer it turned into a learning experience for everyone in the room. It was great getting laughs from me acting out STOP, DROP, and ROLL and showing physically how to crawl low under smoke, though they understood what the significance of the actions were. Getting correct responses on what some of the tools were and how they were used showed me how much they were understanding despite the language barriers. The pictures of me putting my gear on with goofy/awkward looks on my face got the biggest laughs. Though I did that to show that even dressed in something that can look scary, its scarier for us that anyone should be afraid of a firefighter when it is needed for them to look at us for help in a crisis. Reading A book to the kids to finish was great, they stayed interested throughout and also answered questions Jennifer and I asked while I read. The decision to present a second time a few days later went just as well and that time I did it with much less assistance.
From Buffalo, NY, USA to Toronto, Canada by bus, then a long flight to Dublin, Ireland followed by a shorter one to Berlin, Germany was an adventure in itself. Seeing the sights for three days by foot and train has been yet another. This trip is a study in getting around as much as it is a crash course in adaption, in a city and culture that itself is in a period of transition and regrowth.