Thursday, January 24, I hopped on a plane leaving Texas to head to Heathrow Airport in London. I had prepared myself for the jet lag by getting four hours of sleep the night before. If you’re exhausted, you’ll have no problem passing out on a plane, right?
Wrong. Normally, I get some of my best sleep on planes. It must have something to do with the fact that I have to take dramamine and I’ve been flying since before I could hold my head up. Who knows..the point is, I barely slept a wink on that flight. International flights are much nicer than flights within the states when it comes to getting fed. We got a snack, dinner, breakfast, and they delivered drinks every two hours. While that’s all fine and dandy, all I wanted was for the flight attendants to pretend we didn’t exist so I’d be able to pass out.
Before too long, we landed in London! One of these days, I’m going to make sure I actually go back and explore the city…a three hour layover is never my idea of “seeing the town”. I quickly realized that I should probably get an actual meal, but that I had no money, so off I went to exchange my US currency. The exchange rate from dollars to pounds was a little more than shocking to me (1 US dollar is 0.60 Great Britain pound), but I exchanged enough money for a good meal which is all that really mattered to me. I headed off to one of the busiest restaurants I saw because that obviously meant it was a tasty place. I was handed a menu that didn’t seem to have a single bad item, so I just ordered what the guy next to me was eating because it looked so tasty. It was also coming up on noon London time, so I decided to order a cider. Hearing my American accent must have been the reason why I got my drink served with ice. Even with ice, the cider was tasty and my food was mouthwateringly delicious. I really need to figure out what all goes into making piri-piri chicken. I could probably eat it countless days straight if given the opportunity.
Before too long, I was boarding plane #2 from London to Frankfurt. This flight was just a couple hours long, so it went by incredibly quickly. We landed, and I was finally in Germany! First step: get through customs. I didn’t get my visa prior to my trip, because you have to take a language test before you can receive the special au pair visa that they offer in Germany (more on that later). This meant I had to explain to the customs official that I was coming into the country as an au pair, but didn’t have my visa or a specific date that I’d be leaving yet. He didn’t seem too happy, but I got through without too much issue. Next step: find my luggage. I had no clue what baggage claim was mine because I was one of the last to get through customs, so I wandered around a bit until I saw my two bags riding the carousel all by themselves. I grabbed my bags and was off to meet my family.
Within a few minutes, I had found them. The father, who travels almost constantly for work, was out of the country, so the mother and two children met me at the airport and we were soon headed to their house. They had my room on the first floor all set up and it was perfect. The house they live in is technically a row house and looks out on the Main River, which happens to flow into the Rhine. It’s four stories and is absolutely perfect. My room and bathroom are on the first floor, with the kitchen and living areas on the second. The third floor is all for the kids, and the fourth is the parents’ bedroom.
I passed out and got about 10 hours of sleep that first night. It was just what I needed to start getting adjusted to a year in Germany
Next up: my first weekend adventures with the family!