As an Enneagram 7 it can be hard for me to contain my energy and enthusiasm. Though I'm petite, I can be a bull in a china shop both literally and figuratively (I'm prone to break things or injure myself; Nick is convinced that God's purpose in him marrying me was to simply keep me alive - and I appreciate that! Also, once, a fellow dancer told me "for a small person you take up a lot of space" - which was apparently a compliment).
I'm an explorer, I long for rich experiences, and I love learning as much as I possibly can - especially about people. Naturally, I ask many curious questions; initially I was a bit concerned about interacting with the Germans, afraid of offending anyone. We did a little prep and culture study the months before we went to Germany and our leaders reiterated how "serious" Germans were.
After my clumsy first attempt to speak German with my hosts, asking them "do you have friends?" instead of what I actually meant, "do you have a boyfriend?" we laughed and I quickly realized that there was no way I could avoid being myself.
So over our nine days in Germany I continued to attempt speaking Deutsch with my new friends even though everyone speaks English anyway. (Side note for future travel: if you ask a stranger a question in a foreign language with a decent accent, you're going to get a response in that foreign language and have no idea what to do after that. Excellent job at teaching me German diction, Indiana University School of Music!) On our last day, one of the girls actually told me she appreciated and respected my effort to speak German because to her it showed that I cared about the culture and the people, which was very true - and I do think my willingness to communicate in their language opened up many important doors of conversation.
It's amazing what you learn when you're willing to meet people where they're at and when you're being authentically you (we had lots of LOUD laughs :) ). The Germans weren't as "serious" as I thought they'd be, although in important matters they were - serious about caring for their guests well, and the one thing that stood out to me most - seriously investing in friendships deeply and with grace and patience for the long haul.
My favorite moments in Germany were not the tours of beautiful streets or historic memorials (although I admit, they were sure fun to photograph!); it was time spent with kind, hospitable, awesome people. Here are a few of my favorite moments with our new German friends:
Jimmy (left), our trip leader, and the president of FTH Seminary in Giessen - they look like childhood buddies!
Erin (left) and I couldn't believe our sweet German host, Steffi (right) had the same exact haircut she did! What are the odds?! We kept commenting how they were like sisters. :)
Spent some quality time at Buena Vida Coffee Club in Potsdam with owner and our new friend, Patrick. He's a man of incredible faith and integrity, and he makes the best coffee in Potsdam!
IMHO, the two most powerful universal languages: laughter and music.
This is such a beautiful picture of what I imagine family looks like - being there to support one another during life's most important moments, even in the cold rain...
...and just hanging out, being together, and enjoying the simpler moments of life.
Click here for my full Germany 2018 album.
<3 amanda mae