On Thursday, our instructor invited us to his house for dinner as a welcome to the Netherlands. But first, he promised to show us a bit of Germany and that is exactly what he did!
Traveling to different countries is the equivalent of traveling to different states in America. To input some random facts, to get out of Arizona alone it took my family 8 hours by car. I could get to the tip of Italy in that time from where I am, and the Netherlands is at the top of Europe: it is so small! The entire country of the Netherlands could fit inside of half of Arizona and nearly every EU country could fit inside of Texas. Crazy isn’t it?
So back to the Germany story, it was about a 30 minute drive as we took a longer route to see some sites. After a “cattle guard”, we entered the city of Kranenburg, Germany! There was a lot of agriculture on this part and back in WWII, American soldiers landed in one of the fields and ran to the river to help prevent the German’s from crossing the Dutch bridge. Crazy isn’t it? I felt like I was inside of a history book and I am itching to go back and truly explore.
The dinner was also nice and it was interesting to talk to him and his wife about their travels. At one point, they lived in Africa for 10 years and it’s amazing the perspective they have. When we began talking about culture and communication, I was able to participate in the conversation because I related so much to what they said. The world is so vast but also the same and that common link is communication. Once you know their language, people light up and you are able to learn so much more about them.
While Dutch is immensely difficult to learn coming from English, I challenge myself everyday to read something new or speak a new word. It is hard, frustrating, and sometimes overwhelming but the things you learn, just can’t be learned anywhere else.