Joshua Stowers (student at Austin College):
"When my adopted brother wanted to visit his biological siblings in Bavaria, my parents decided that this would be a great pretext for a family vacation. After checking the prices for airfare however, my father suggested that perhaps this could be a “boy’s week out” (and mother) and promised my sisters something special for another time. It wasn’t long before the wheels of our Boeing 747 touched the ground, my first time over foreign soils.
The week which followed was perhaps the most exciting in my life. Everything was different. The food tasted funny, the people spoke oddly, and the landscape was beautiful everywhere I went. (Unlike the dead Texas landscape) Eating out was always interesting. The menus had foods listed which I had never even heard of so I was constantly asking for help deciding what to eat. Most every restaurant we visited had either a playground or other form of entertainment for us children. One place even had a magician come out and show off some neat tricks.
Our family would go hiking and sightseeing around different areas of Bavaria every day to see views too rare in the United States, and to visit one of Ludwig’s many elaborate castles. Every stop we made we picked up souvenirs. Using the money I had saved up before the trip I purchased a large wooden chessboard to talk about while playing with friends. Purchasing a chessboard when out of the country became a family custom from then on.I will never forget my first ever trip to Germany. The time shared with friends and family was only part of what made the experience such a delight. I can’t wait to return again with a better understanding of the German culture and language."