We are family

My dad showed up on the doorstep of my new life on a Sunday evening during yet another convenient school vacation. Since we had learned I was going to Germany, where my family is from, this visit had been a dream and a tentative plan; to have the dream become reality was a dream in itself.
Our first few days were spent in Heidenheim, where my dad was able to meet both of my host families, my Rotary Youth Exchange Officer, and my two best friends from Colombia and Argentina. 
We visited my school...

my favorite cafes...

and, of course, my beloved castle overlooking the city I've come to call home. 

We spent a day in Ulm, on the Donau River...
 ...and home to the 'Schiefes Haus' or steep house.

Then we traveled to Würzburg, a lovely city that I was able to visit this fall. This is where my dad was born, and it was a great visit to make with him; almost unbelievable to stand on the bridge together and look up at--you guessed it--a castle.

Good food was naturally a part of the experience, from the Lamm-Bratwurst pictured above, to a large sack of bakery goods (which we ate before I could take a picture, to massive pancakes like the ones seen here.
The journey wasn’t over yet, though. We traveled to Leipzig, where my aunt, uncle and cousin live. Another beautiful city, Leipzig was the beginning point of the ‘revolution’ that ended in the peaceful reunification of Germany in 1989.

A mixture of prewar and modern buildings, the city is simultaneously splattered with graffiti from last Friday, dripping with stone scrolls and molding, and crowned with triumphant statues from the early 19th century. We visited the Nikolaikirche, where the meetings about the reunification were held in ‘89, and where a ‘prayer for peace’ is still held every Monday evening.
On Easter, we shared brunch with my relatives...

...and then attended a concert of des Prez and Purcell in the Thomaskirche, where Johann Sebastian Bach is buried.

Still more relatives were visited in the Harz mountains, which were full of snow

We also made a quick detour to Naumberg, where the Dom was designed by an unknown master who also worked on the Cathedral at Reims. The sight of ancient doors and choir stands gave me chills; even the wood has remained through almost a thousand years, innumerable conflicts and power transfers, and two world wars.

On the train ride back to Heidenheim, we made an hour-long just-because-we-can stop in Nuremberg, and saw the house of Albrecht Dürer.

Among other things, my dad and I share a love of wandering around back alleys of old cities, drinking tea in basically any venue that serves the beverage, and seizing whatever opportunities that arise, simply because we can. My heritage in Germany was a huge reason for going on exchange, and has impacted my year here in multiple ways. I can’t really put into words how special this visit was for both of us. 
The best part, for me, was that we spoke only German together the whole time. Ich habe dich lieb, Papa.

1 comment:

  1. Kaelen und ich haben deine letze "Post" gelesen und es hat uns sehr gefallen! Vielen Dank! Viele Gruesse Onkel Max