“Due to inclement weather, we will be circling above the Munich airport until we are given the all-clear to land. Thank you for your patience” said a husky, German accented voice. I was glad that they gave an American translation of the previous sentence announced in what I presume was German.
I hadn’t noticed that we had already reached what was the end of a very tiring journey for me. I blame the German man sitting next to me who had no concept of personal space on an airplane (I had a window seat). I guess it’s retribution for watching almost all of season 2 of “The Man in the High Castle” on a Lufthansa aircraft bound to Munich (oops; honest mistake).
As the flight attendant came around to ask of us window seat passengers to raise the blinds, it now made sense as to why we circled above the Munich airport for about an hour. It was snowing. Hard. I was surprised we were able to even land (and later take off on my connecting flight to Copenhagen).
After deboarding the aircraft, my first few steps on European territory were very short lived. Due to the delay, I had less than 15 minutes to run across the airport to my connecting flight to Copenhagen. I smiled a smile that stretched across my face, in between catching my breath during my sprint. I was still taking in the fact that I had (almost) made it. To many, a trip to Europe isn’t that foreign to them. To me, it was like I was a slumdog becoming a millionaire.
After switching planes and a few hours later, it was done. I was standing at baggage claim waiting for my luggage; I began to zone out and think of what my experience would be like. It was only until time became of the essence (once again) that I was brought back to consciousness. I was spurred on by panic when I realized one of my luggages never came out onto the belt and I had less than 20 minutes to meet my program leaders. This luggage contained many of my prescription medications, toiletries, and my boxers (R.I.P). I swiftly had my lost baggage reported, and to my surprise, the Danish women helping me spoke nearly flawless English. I decided there was not much I could do about it for now and switched my focus on getting united with my program leaders and my new host family.
I skipped many of the formalities at the hotel where I met my program directors. I just got my arrival packet containing important first week information, emergency contact details, and my Danish SIM card. Not 10 minutes after, my host family had arrived. I had already seen pictures of my host family, but it was different to see them for the first time. The first detail that came to my attention was…THEIR HEIGHT. It wasn’t even just them. It occurred to me that almost everyone in the airport and the hotel were a good head and shoulders above me. In the United States, I was about average height (5′ 9″). Here, I am a midget (now I know how my sister feels; sorry Jenn).
My Danish host family informed me that it was their first ever time hosting a student. Later, I would find out their motivations for having a student was to expose their 5 year-old daughter, Mia, to English before she began formal instruction at school and to try something new.
As first time hosts, they put in a lot of effort into the preparation before my arrival. Therefore, I was all okay without my toothbrush and toothpaste; they had prepared for such an event. My host mom’s level of preparedness was also revealed by the fact that she already had a calendar filled in with all of my school related schedules and activities. As a procrastinator and a “go-with-the-flow” kind of person, this was certainly a welcome change (less work and anxiety for me).
Dinner was consumed, my teeth was brushed. And with that, we exchanged our good nights and I rested my weary head…
The days to come were going to be even more eventful. Continue with my journey in Part 2 of my arrival week in Copenhagen…
The Kick-Off Orientation for my study abroad program