Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 11--Leipzig

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It seemed like a good idea. Me, driving by myself for 484 kilometers from Stuttgart (south west Germany) to Leipzig (north east Germany) to meet up with Taylor because it was a straight shot and I'd have carefully printed directions. What could go wrong? :)

1. I don't read German. Which poses a small problem when you're trying to be navigator and driver all at the same time. It also meant that I got all confused trying to get out of the airport after picking up my car and drove an hour (a good portion of that is stop-and-go traffic) before I realized I was heading south-east. Lovely.

2. I don't speak German. Which meant that when I finally realized I was headed in the wrong direction I realized that it's kind of hard to ask for directions. I know that not everybody speaks English, but I was surprised that it took me awhile to find someone who did and could help me out. It ended up being a very nice taxi driver who not only gave me directions, but also his phone number and told me to call him if I got lost again.

3. And since I don't speak German it also meant that I didn't understand any of the radio stations that I spent seven hours listening as I'd forgotten my ipod adapter.

4. It was being half way to Leipzig calling Taylor to give him an update and get more specific directions about where we were meeting rather than the vague "we'll meet at the Leipzig train station" that I'd been working on, only to find that the number he's given me doesn't work. A few earnest prayers may have been offered as panic set in.

5. It's calling Emily and having her find any other possible contact number in my email that by some small chance would know how to contact Taylor. Then getting a list of names and numbers, praying that 1. someone would answer 2. that when they did they would speak English. Someone finally answered and spoke English--sort of.

6. It was having Google maps not giving the correct exit name and so in looking for an exit that didn't exist I drove past Leipzig.

7. It's finding out after I've stood in line for 20 minutes that you pay for gas AFTER you fill up.

8. It's finally getting into Leipzig and having Taylor trying to give me directions and not being able to navigate and drive at the same time worrying that I've committed some driving error. Before finally deciding that since Taylor knows Leipzig better than I do, and it's been a stress seven hours, that my best option is to pull over and have Taylor find me. HIGHLIGHT is that without knowing it, I stopped on the street where he'd lived as a missionary so Taylor knew EXACTLY where to find me! Answered prayers are the best.

But what I learned from my seven hour ordeal was:

1. I LOVE, LOVE , LOVE driving on the autobaun. I was shown the the joy of a truly wonderful driving experience. Everybody on the autobaun plays this well choreographed game of leap frog which equals no congestion, no tailing, and no aggressive behavior.

2. I love going fast! One day I'll drive the autobaun in a car made for driving, but until then I was kind of excited to drive like the Germans at 220 kilometers (130 mph).

3. If I can get lost and navigate myself, for the most part, in a foreign country I can do it anywhere.

4. In dyer circumstances the Lord really does answer prayers and sends tender mercies when they are most needed.

I came to learn so much about the people and the areas Taylor served in, but it's something else to finally meet someone in person as you feel like you already know them.

I was looking forward to seeing more of Leipzig, but my little adventure didn't really allow for that. :) Leipzig was both a beautiful (great buildings and parks) and a very stark/run down city (evidence of the bombings and years spent under communist rule).

The Elder's apartment in Leipzig.

Frederike Wittmaack (this fun German sister who servedwith Taylor and who teaches German at the Preston MTC), Taylor, me

Taylor and Frederkia with this adorable investigator family.
The little girl made me draw her all of these pictures and kept
wanting to have her picture taken with all of us.

St. Thomas Church
Bach wrote a majority of his works in this church where he served as Cantor. It was closed for rehearsals so we weren't able to go inside.

I love the bicycle parking complete with meters and fees.

Some of the beautiful buildings of Leipzig.

Taylor had this gelato place that he loved so of course
we had to stop and get some and of course getting gelato became a daily ritual.

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