While at university, I am fortunate enough to receive a 4 week semester break throughout June and July. This year, I decided to travel back to Flensburg to visit my school friends and host families whom I met while I was a Rotary Youth Exchange student in 2014. Ever since arriving back in Australia, returning to Flensburg has always been at the back of my mind. This particular visit will be made extra special by my having the opportunity to attend my classmate’s graduation from high school.
On Sunday I began the first leg of my journey: travelling by bus from Canberra to Sydney airport. In three and a half hours I had arrived at the airport where I would be catching my flight to Hamburg via Dubai.
My first flight to Dubai landed briefly in Bangkok, however I did not leave the aircraft. In total, the flight from Sydeny to Dubai lasted for 17 hours. I landed in Dubai at 5:00am, where it was 32 degrees outside. Travelling from a frosty Canberra and walking onto the tarmac in such heat was definitely a shock to the system! The airport is so large, that the bus ride to the terminal took 15 minutes. My 3 hour layover passed by quickly, as I attempted to freshen up and enjoyed the free wifi.
I arrived in Hamburg on Monday the 20th of June where Petra, my third host mother, kindly was waiting to greet me and drive me back to Flensburg. I was welcomed home by the rain, weather which is so typical of northern Germany, and everything along the way until when we arrived home seemed so very familiar. This time, I hadn’t arrived in a foreign country as a stranger, I was instead welcomed by old friends with open arms.
Arriving home in Flensburg was a surreal experience. While eating dinner together with my third host family, it seemed simultaneously as if almost no time had passed but also as if it really had been one and a half years since I was last living with them. My two host brothers have grown up, I have finished high school and admittedly my German is a little rusty. Although, my bedroom had been set up as I had last left it and my favourite tea still lay inside the kitchen draw. After dinner we sat on the couch together, just like old times, and cracked open the Tim Tams.