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Across the Pond

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If you’re like me, you may have thought you’d never travel to Europe.  Over the years, my version of international travel has been Canada and Mexico.  Before I married, I worked for a company that required a lot of travel in the U.S., and our boss once booked a sales meeting on Grand Cayman Island.  I loved that, and I still look forward to a day I can go back.

When our daughter Abby went away to college, one of the first meetings we attended at orientation was for students who were interested in the Study Abroad program.  Abilene Christian University (where she attends) has programs for students in three countries: Uruguay, England and Germany.  Abby fell in love with the idea of Germany and immersing herself in a completely different culture and language.  ACU recommends students do this the spring semester of their sophomore year, so we began to plan during her freshman year for her trip.  And of course, we also began to plan for us to go visit!  We decided it would be best to do that at the end of her semester and not “interrupt the experience”.  As I write this column, I am on an airplane high above the Atlantic, and we are on our way home from our great adventure.

Of course while we were there, we looked for places and story ideas that you might find interesting to read about.  The first one is coming soon in our Gotta Get Away travel feature.  It’s about our visit to Denmark.  Additionally, we visited several places in Germany, and we also got in a one day trip to Salzburg, Austria (but more about that later).  We look forward to sharing these with you in upcoming months.

Over multiple cities, four countries, and languages too numerous to count, I’ve learned the following things:

1) The world is getting smaller and smaller;  2) In general, people want to be helpful, even when they don’t understand you;  3) Smiles are universal–Euro currency is not;
4) American music is everywhere-even in taxis!  5) And speaking of taxis, cab drivers in New York and Mexico are not the scariest drivers I’ve ever been with—the German cab driver doing 106 mph (170 km) with my precious family in his car WAS!  (I have his name and cab number, so you can avoid him if you decide to go to Munich.)

In the meantime, as son Marshall enters his senior year of high school, he’s already planning his Study Abroad semester in Oxford, England.  Sounds “jolly good” to me!

Until next time ~ Karen

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