So this was my first destination, with my great friend Tine and her family, Biggi, Gerd, and Saskia.

Tine, I met her through a penpal-type program, god, 5 years ago maybe? I can’t even remember… in my earlier years in high school…. we wrote every single day, e-mail, then we chatted and phoned and sent packages and you know, the typical penpal stuff… I really wanted to go meet her, but couldn’t afford one of those highschool exchange programs, so for christmas in 2006, my parents gifted to me a Germany Travel Guide, and inside the book was a flight ticket.

… one of the greatest presents I’ve ever received!  So in February 2007, my dad and I packed our bags and I went on my first international adventure, spent one week travelling through Germany, and I got to meet Tine and her family!

We went to Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Köln (the city I will later fall in love with), Erfurt, Wiesbaden, Speyer, Wuppertal, Würzburg, and of course the lovely Bielefeld and Lage!  Who knows what other small villages we stopped in during that one week of pure bliss.

While in Lage with Tine and her family, we went to a soccer game, true german-style, D.S.C. Arminia Bielefeld vs. Bochum… sadly, we lost, but spirits were still high!  Then, we were in Germany just intime for Karneval.  For those of you who don’t know this, its a great festival in Köln, Germany, where there is a few kilometer-long parade, everyone is drunk, happy go-lucky, smashing beer bottles on the ground, everyone’s dressed up in costumes, and throwing candy all around.  Its a great time, and I can’t wait to go back!

But back to the picture…

[This was taken at Tine’s dad’s 300 Party, him and a few other friends were all turning 50 at the time, so they got together and held a 300-party…it was a great party, lots of fun, and lots of people!  Tine.  Oh, dear Tine.]