Hello er’body! 😊
I feel like the only appropriate way to start this blog is to say how much I love Germany. Every time I go there I have the best time! It could be because when I go there it is Christmas, or New Year’s, or I’m 10 years old; I get to eat home cooked meals, be with really fun people and go to weddings. It could
be because of all of those things, but I think it’s just Germany and all the people in it.
My latest German adventure was Jana and Andreas’ wedding! You may remember them from back in January when I got to spend about it week with them in Düsseldorf over New Years. Jana lived with our family for five months in 2000 while she was doing her year abroad. Luckily for me, her wedding just happened to be while I am spending my
year abroad, so I got to go up to Minden, just for the weekend, to go to the wedding. I flew from Sevilla up to Paderborn NOT on Ryanair. Can I just say how wonderful it was not to be flying Ryanair? Yes, yes,
The Garden House
Jana's Dad's masterpiece!
Ryanair has magically low prices but they are sort of tricky. One time I noticed on my ticket that it said “Mr. Devin Schultze” instead of “Ms. Devin Schultze” I went online to change the name on the ticket and it was going to cost 110 euros; 110 euros to change the “Mr.” to “Ms..” Needless to say I took the risk as Mr. Devin Schultze and they didn’t even notice, but still, I was pretty peeved. Not to mention the fact that when my friend Blair came to visit he told me how scary the flight was and he really questioned the quality of the pilot. Which got me thinking…when your ticket to Paris only costs 15 euros, Ryanair probably can’t afford any "Miracle on the Hudson" Captain Sully.
After my wonderful Air Berlin flight where I got a drink, for free, (I forgot that even existed!) Andreas’ sister Olga picked me up in Paderborn and we made the drive to Minden. I met Olga during my time in Düsseldorf; she’s just a few years older than me and a lot of fun to hang out with. We had to drive pretty slow since it was
absolutely pouring for some of the way so we had lots of time to catch up and for me to hear about her trip she made to the US, including a stay in Miami at Santa Barbara Hostel, which is the same hostel I found for my Clemson friends a year ago for spring break. That place should seriously cut me a check for getting them so much business and I’ve never even been there before.
Olga and I made it to Jana’s around 1:30am to find Jana, Andreas and Britta and Emiel still awake tying red ribbons around menu cards and napkins, Andreas’ idea, which was a very good idea and they turned out beautifully…thanks to Britta’s
wonderful bow tying. Haha! It was actually supposed to be Olga and mine’s job for Friday, but thanks to SuperBritta (really they should change her name to that because she was super on top of everything) Olga and I got a new job: cleaning beer bottles out. It didn’t take long though so Olga and I spent most of the day together back and forth doing random tasks around the house to get it ready for the garden party
Finally Ready :)
Britta and Jana make sure she is all ready to go!
after the ceremony. One of our tasks included protecting the new bathroom floor of the garden house Jana’s dad built…by himself…from scratch. It’s beautiful. It’s got a little kitchenette, couches, a loft with a bed in it (where Jana and Andreas slept since the house was packed full of people) and a bathroom with a really beautiful stone floor, which is still beautiful thanks to Olga and me. 😊
Finally, Saturday arrived. Jana was up around 6:30am for hair and makeup to be done at 7:00. The stylist did hair and make-up for Jana, Olga, Jana’s Mom, Andreas’ Mom, Britta and myself! Jana didn’t actually have a “bridal party” so-to-speak. Britta was her maid of honor, but she didn’t have any other bridesmaids, when it came to helping out it was a group effort of the family and some friends.
Pictures were done right there at Jana’s house because it’s out in the country and now that it’s Spring everything is green and blooming. When Jana was walking out to meet Andreas in the garden she couldn’t keep herself from crying so Olga and Britta started chanting “Oma und die blaue hose! Oma und
die blaue hose!” meaning “Grandma and her blue pants! Grandma and her blue pants!” to keep Jana’s mind off of crying. The pictures went beautifully and thankfully we evaded the rain that day.
The ceremony was held in an old train station just a few minutes away from Jana’s house. It was a small ceremony, maybe 35 people or so and very nice. Although, there was a small hiccup where I thought I may have just ruined Jana’s vows. During the photo session, Britta had to go and get her hair and make-up done, so I was holding Jana’s extra shoes, glasses and makeup in case they needed them. When they moved from the backyard to a small meadow down the road I set the glasses and the make-up in the entryway so that I didn’t drop the glasses and break them (because knowing me that is something that would happen), however, I didn’t mention it to anyone. Jana left for the ceremony without her glasses, and make-up. Just before it started Britta asked, “Devin, do you have Jana’s glasses?”
“No, no I put them on the table in the entry way during pictures.”
Notice the red shoes :)
well, Jana needs them to read.”
Oh god. There wasn’t enough time to run home and get the glasses before the ceremony started. The wedding got started and when it came time for the vows I just prayed and prayed that Jana could read her paper. Thankfully it looked like she sort of had them memorized. It was in German so I couldn’t actually understand what she was saying but she didn’t stutter, or stammer or hold the paper super close to her face, so I took that as a good sign that the most important day of her life was not ruined. After the ceremony I apologized to Britta again and she was really nice, “You know what, its ok. She was able to say her vows and it looks prettier without the glasses. But when we get back to the house we need to find those glasses and the make-up because she’s been crying, haha!” Thankfully glasses and make-up were right where I left them in the entryway and crisis averted. Note to Heather: wear contacts on your wedding day. 😊
After the wedding was the garden party held at Jana’s house with all the guests
from the wedding plus a few more where they had a large variety of hors d'oeuvres and the cake. We had a slight scare when the boxes with the table clothes arrived without any tablecloths in them, but they had arrived just before the wedding and where set out with some exceptionally beautiful clean beer bottles with flowers in them as center pieces. 😊 A pretty cool idea Jana and Andi had was to have their photographer stay throughout the garden party and take pictures of the two of them with each of their guests!
Finally, it was time for the reception with dinner and…dancing. Jana’s Mom had been saying that Saturday night they were not going to go to bed; they were just going to drink, eat and dance. She wasn’t kidding. There were definitely drinks to go around and a super yummy buffet. At the place where the reception was held I guess their specialty is “spargel” it took a while to figure out what spargel was but finally Jana’s Dad and I got it: asparagus. White, not green. I’m not a huge asparagus fan, but this was alright, probably because it was made in
Germany and only in Germany will I eat things like white asparagus and red cabbage.
You may be wondering, “Devin, how did you talk to anybody at your table if you don’t speak German?” Good question, they spoke English to me. I really did try to use some of my German throughout the weekend and sometimes it was actually pretty good! I can figure out how to say things, but I really can’t understand very well. This is where I sort of get in trouble. I happened to be able to understand the general idea of a story Andi’s Dad was telling about the Amish people in the states, he took that as “Ah, she understands German.” Just the nicest man you’ll ever meet and he made such an effort to come and talk to me throughout the weekend…in German. I felt so bad I couldn’t understand most of what he was saying. Thankfully the old trick I learned back in Paris continues to serve me well: smile and nod. Since it was a wedding there was nothing that he could possibly say that a smile and a nod wouldn’t work for so, I got through it.
The very wonderful dinner menus and ribbons Britta did.
After that I made it super clear to people that I understand almost NO German.
Knowing this, Britta took the time the day before the wedding to explain to me some of what would be going on. Part of that was a little presentation she and her boyfriend Emiel had planned for Jana and Andreas. You see, Jana and Andreas love to travel and they’ve already been all over the world, so Britta and Emiel prepared a video about their relationship which focused on their travels but set it up sort of as a promotion for the airline “JanAndi Air” and dressed up as a pilot and a stewardess to present it. It was SO cute. I couldn’t understand it but I still thought it was SO cute!
Really everything at the wedding was so cute; especially
the menu cards and napkins with the ribbons around them. Since I had seen all the work Britta had put into them, I just didn’t have the heart to undo the ribbon, actually it is still in my room here in Cádiz, with the ribbon still intact, just how Britta did it. 😊 I didn’t expect anything
Emiel the Pilot and Britta the Stewardess!
less than a cute wedding though. Jana really pays attention to detail. I kept remembering when Jana lived with us and she was going to prom; she had gotten her nails done and she noticed a tiny chip in the nail polish. At the time I thought “no one is going to notice that, it’s so small.” But Jana knew it was there. Sort of like the ribbons. People, who didn't see Jana, Andreas, Britta and Emiel up at 1:30 in the morning still tying those ribbons, didn’t think much of them, but it’s a small detail that they worked really hard on and just made the wedding nice. Lots of those little details Jana pays attention to add up.
The rest of the evening was dancing. Just dancing, dancing, and dancing. It was a TON of fun; they had a live band and so much good music! Even the German songs were fun! Olga, Karen and Martina would just interpret them for me! I didn't wear my watch but I think somewhere between two and three in the morning my feet hurt so badly I could do no more dancing. Yes world, it’s true, Devin does
not have bionic feet, my feet hurt so bad from my heels I couldn't bear wearing them anymore. And they weren't even that high of heels; nothing compared to what I wore to Bret and Ellee’s wedding. I've decided to invest in a pair of flats for Heather’s big day. Plus, I got some weird looks when I just took my shoes off and tried to dance, so I got the feeling maybe they don’t really do that in Germany.
Just to give you an idea of how late this dancing went, I was the first
person to go home (along with Andreas’ sister-in-law taking her three-year-old son, yeah, I’m that pathetic) and we got back just a few minutes before 4:00am. I had to be up by about 7:30 to catch my ride back to the airport. Needless to say everyone was still asleep by the time I had to leave except for Jana’s Mom and Andreas’ sister-in-law. Jana and Andi figured that no one would be in good shape to drive me the two hours to Paderborn, so they actually hired a car service for me to drive me there. I was pretty bummed I had to
leave. If I had it to do over again I would have just skipped classes Monday and stayed an extra day, but with things winding down and exams coming up I probably did the “right” thing.
By the way I haven’t gotten to mention how beautiful Jana looked. Her dress was mermaid style and her hair and make-up where done simple, but elegant, plus she wore red shoes! I thought of Heather when I saw them. 😊 She looked great! And so happy, but Jana is generally a super happy person and fun to be around, so it made sense that her wedding was just as joyous and fun. I’m SO glad I got to be there. I think it’s really neat that after twelve or so years, we are still in contact with Jana. I feel so lucky she got to come live with us and she’ll always be my German sister, and Andreas is of course now a part of our family too. 😊 Congratulations to Jana and Andreas and thanks so much for letting me be a part of your wedding!
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