We only had a few days left in the Schengen and I really wanted to make sure I got to see my family in Germany one more time, so after Munich we headed to Darmstadt. It was great to be around family again after so many months away from home. Ingo, Gela and the kids picked us up from the bus station and we had dinner at Gela’s that night. I was happy that the kids didn’t need any time to warm up to us after being away for a few months. Leonas even had some English words down and asked many questions when we said a word that interested him.
The next day we had a ‘lazy day’ where we hung out at the house with Ingo and Ursula (who we had gotten into the habit of calling ‘Opa’ and ‘Oma,’ the German words for grandpa/grandma) and the kiddos. Gela joined us after work and we sat outside and enjoyed the nice fall weather. It was great to relax and get spoiled rotten, Caleb even got a MUCH needed haircut from Oma.
On Saturday, Caleb and I tagged along with Gela, Marc and the kids (along with their friends and 8+ other kids) to Freizeitpark Loch-Muhle. It was an awesome park with amusement rides made for little kids to be able to ride, complete with tons of animals like sheep, rabbits and goats that you could feed and pet. To top it all off you could bring in your own food (and drinks) and have a little picnic. It was huge and I’m not embarrassed to say that Caleb and I had just as much (if not more) fun than the kids.
Sunday we went to Limburg with the whole family: Gela, Marc and the kids, Ingo, Ursula, Anja, Udo and Leonie. They had tickets for a ‘donut tour’ on the river. The ‘donut’ is a donut-shaped boat with a barbecue in the center of the ‘donut’ for grilling and we also packed beers to drink while we cruised the river. We luckily got to tag along and enjoyed a nice two hour river cruise complete with brats, steaks, bread and booze. It was a beautiful day outside and I got the warm and fuzzies getting to hang out with my whole family. At the end of the donut tour we went into the town of Limburg and wandered around for a while. We went to see the ‘Dom’ which is the cathedral that looks over the town and river. The town of Limburg is picturesque and had a lot of really old (like 1500’s old) buildings. We rewarded ourselves with ice cream after walking around before making the jaunt home.
The next two days we spent at Ingo and Ursula’s with the boys. I watched The Big Friendly Giant with the boys (all in German but I think I followed along just fine), played with play-doh and got yelled at because we couldn’t pronounce the word for ‘turtle’ quite up to their standards (schildkröte if anyone is wondering–we had the boys laughing at our attempts). I tried not to think about our impending departure date too much because it made me sad. I loved being there, it felt so familiar and so comfortable. I felt so lucky for how spoiled we were by everyone. I loved watching TV crime shows at night with Oma while Opa brought more food and apfelwein than I should (but did) consume in one sitting. I loved how comfortable the boys had become with us and how excited they were every day when we came downstairs. I loved how Gela made us always feel so included and wanted with everything we did.
However, Wednesday still came, unwanted as it was, and we went off to Frankfurt to the airport (the autobahn is terrifying by the way). I tried really, really hard but I cried any way. I cried even more after we said our final goodbyes to Gela, the kids, and Oma and Opa. I cant thank my family enough. The only thing that makes me feel better is knowing that I will be back, or that I can return the favor and spoil them in Nebraska. Hoping for sooner rather than later.