Cochran Public Speaking Pd. 4 2014 Personal Narrative Aus Fahrt I took Spanish in high school – three years from 8 th-10th grade. I stopped after that; I simply wasn’t that interested. I do remember half whining that I wanted to take German…apparently we had a German program at one point, but there wasn’t enough interest to keep a third language going. When I graduated from Penn State in 2004, I already had a plan for Grad school, but I needed to knock out a few classes before I could start. I wanted to keep myself in full on school mode while I started a full time job, so in addition to a couple of pre-requisite classes, I signed up for a German night class at Bucks. I took two semesters, in 2005-2006, and I was genuinely interested in it. I got fairly proficient, though I’ve mostly lost it since then. Summer 2006 was the World Cup in Germany, and the final was on my 25th birthday. I wanted desperately to go – I knew tickets would be a struggle - but thought maybe I’d just be in town for the party anyway. July 9th, 2006 I found myself sitting next to a buddy, watching the final of the World Cup…in Washington’s Crossing. I didn’t get the trip together in time. However, I talked about it that day, and my buddy (whose 25th was the next day…we shared a hospital room in 1981…different story) expressed interest in a trip. Two weeks later we bought tickets for our trip to Germany at the end of September. We flew in to Frankfurt on a Friday night late in September. It was apparently one of the worst flights anyone had been on, but I didn’t notice. I’d stayed up 40 straight hours and slept from the moment I sat down until we coasted in to Germany. The trip was a whirlwind – we landed Saturday morning and flew out the following Sunday afternoon. We drove something like 2100 miles that week, including three days in Munich during Oktoberfest. In that week we saw several castles, including the one that inspired the Magic Kingdom; an 1.5hr long fireworks display, fired from one of the castles; walked through wine fields at sunset; hiked in the Alps, in the town where Hitler kept his summer home; drove to France, in a torrential downpour, for macaroons and café au lait (their McDonald’s had a McBier); climbed the stairs of a cathedral; and saw two men in lederhosen fight over a pretty fraulein, only to watch an older man walk away with her whilst they fought. I realized two things during my trip - that most Germans speak excellent English – I only really used the German a few times, either for directions, or for interacting socially – but they truly appreciate attempts to understand their culture, and that, despite costing just about every cent I had, traveling somewhere unknown with a few good friends and a little bit of planning is absolutely surreal; it reminds us that the world is bigger than we are, and that sometimes we have to look past our microcosm and go see what’s out there.