I had lobbied my parents every year of high school to allow me to try foreign exchange, and the response was always something along the lines of “you don’t want to graduate a year late” and “everyone does study abroad in college, not high school.” Unfortunately, most study abroad programs offered by the University are prohibitively expensive and few are geared toward the sciences. As such, I was thrilled to get an email through my Orgo 1 professor about an opportunity to focus on organic chemistry research abroad. After convincing my parents to get on board, I began working in Dr. Arduengo’s lab and attempting to learn German. January 6th came at once slowly and much too quickly. The days before my flight to the fatherland were full of packing, subleasing my apartment, and crashing on my parents’ couch. When the day finally came, a three hour jaunt to Atlanta was only the first leg of a very long trip.
Early Saturday morning, following an eight hour plane ride next to a toddler who bawled throughout, Frankfurt flughafen was a welcome sight. As we drove on the autobahn out of Frankfurt on the way to our new home in Eltville, I found it impossible to convince myself that I would be spending the next three months in such a picturesque country. My most immediate concern however was sleep, which had not been the main activity on the plane (see toddler reference above), so when we finally got settled into the apartment, and took care of a little shopping, I passed out and didn’t wake up until well after noon on Sunday.