In July, my parents made a trip to come visit me. It was the first time my Dad had ever been to Europe and only the second time for Rochelle. We tried to squeeze as much of Europe into 10 days as we could as I wanted my parents to go home with a better understanding of the side of the world that I live on. When my parents arrived, my friend Simon from my baseball team and I picked them up at the Munich airport in traditional Bavarian Lederhosen attire. The same clothes the Bavarians wear for Oktoberfest. We spent the first few days in Deggendorf where they got the chance to meet my German Host Family. All together we climbed the tallest tower in Deggendorf to see this beautiful city. They also got to watch one of my baseball games with many of my friends from the University. It was quite funny for me to see my parents in such a foreign environment, one that I had somewhat already adapted too.
On the 4th day we took the train down to Berchtesgarden in the Austrian/Bavarian Alps. We did the same hike to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest and boat rides over lake Königsee that I did a month earlier with Lucas, Monta, and Vita. Such a beautiful place that I had to show it to my parents. After the Alps, we flew to Faro Portugal with discount airlines Ryan Air and drove along the coast to Lagos. Lagos is located on the southern tip of Portugal and offers some amazing cliff side beaches. Next we were supposed to fly to Paris but our flight was cancelled. To our amazement, Easy Jet put us up for free in a 4 star hotel with rooftop dinner and breakfast until the next flight the following day.
We arrived in Paris and were pick up by Laurent, the father of a French friend who I visited when I came to France when I was 18. With the cancelled flight our trip to Paris was slightly cut short but Laurent was kind enough to give us the Paris in a 1 day nutshell tour. I was happy to go back to my most favorite place in Paris, Montmarc.
From there we took the TGV highspeed train back to Munich. On the train we met a group of German students who were kind enough to help us find our hotel in Munich. The next morning my baseball team had a double header in Munich which my parents got to see as well. After which I took them to their airport hotel for their early morning flight back home. It was great to see my parents as I had never been this long without seeing them before. They got to see 3 countries and 4 baseball games while they were here and, of course, spend quality time with me.
As soon as I arrived back in Deggendorf, I was faced with final exams. All of which turned out very well. At this point I can say I that I think the system here is overall slightly easier than in the US because your whole grade is calculated off one final exam at the end of the semester instead of multiple assignement, projects, and smaller tests as it is in the US. But, this German system does make for a VERY stressful end of the semester which was visable throughout the University and in the students. This I particularly did not like and was turned off by the level of stress I saw everywhere for these last two weeks. However, the time that I spend not studying was with the international students as most all of my peers would be going home at the end of the semester. I was really sad to see such great friends from Spain, Turkey, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Brazil, Latvia and China all go away for good. I hope that later in life I will have the chance to meet some of them again.
Those who will be returning for next semester consisted only of a small group of less than 8 students including Lucas and Monta. Now that finals were over, the summer travels begin!!!
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