Lessons From Winnie the Pooh

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I’ll always be with you.” ~ A.A. Milne 

Last night I got to catch up with Kinsey! We talked of life and the future. I miss her. Kinsey I know you are reading this so I’ll say it to you… I MISS YOU! I would give just about anything to be reunited with my name twin! – Also shout out to the parents for naming us because it was an instant bond! Kinsey was my first friend at Michigan and we have been able to stay in each other’s lives! First friends play such an important role in your development and your direction in a new place. Every place I have moved my “first friends” have been the ones who have impacted my life significantly. Not to say that others haven’t…of course that just not true, but these are the people that you associate with your new adventures! 

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” ~A.A. Milne 

Ain’t that the truth Pooh! Pretend “your corner” is Sankt Augustin and “the Forest” is Cologne. Today I had planned to take Pooh’s advice and go into the Forest early and explore and make myself some new friends. While at breakfast, my family offered to take me into the city. I was so.thrilled. – to me this meant I didn’t have to try and figure out the DB (Deutsche Bahn – literal translation meaning German Train) and that we would leave in the next half hour or so and get there even earlier than I had anticipated – However my arrival into this glorious city turned into a rushed and confusing expedition. With three kids, two dogs, and a slight translation barrier, my 30 minute arrival ended up being 2 and a half hours.

I hate being late. I mean H.A.T.E. it. It’s ingrained in me. It’s actually probably some kind of sadistic leftover from all those years with Mr. Layton in band…. Still to this day I hear him haunting me… “If you are early you are on time, and if you are on time you are late.” Well I was LATE. AND I was meeting someone for the first time. I was meeting a man named Andrew. He is a 25 year old American who attends the church that I was looking at attending today and graciously offered to meet me at a local coffee shop and give me some insight into Germany and International travel.

He enlightened me as to why my family laughed at me when I asked for iced coffee. Apparently here, that means coffee with ice cream… Doesn’t that sound just delicious? America should catch on. It’s probably better that I didn’t know that was a thing because now I might pretend to be ignorant just so I can have an excuse to eat ice cream. It’s basically going to evolve into my European froyo obsession. We all know how much I love froyo. I pretend it’s healthier because it has the word yogurt in it and then I just end up eating more. I mean it’s delicious. Orange Leaf, Sweet Frog, you name it, I’ve had it. Maybe I should start a chart of everywhere I’ve had Froyo! Ok, this is getting out of hand…side tangent over.

We shared some laughs and then the waitress came for our check. We each paid and I had no idea how to tip this waitress. I looked helplessly and I think I tipped her about the equivalent of 11 cents. Why Can’t I Just Be Normal? I’ll have to go back and order again sometime and make it up to her. I am just mortified. I tried to prepare and read before hand but nothing prepares you when there are slight differences to the process and you don’t understand the language as well as you thought and you have no idea what the money is in your hand you just ask for grace and try to do better next time. We left and headed off to church where our lesson ended up being on grace!! I felt more comfortable walking into this building with someone who knew the area. It gave me a sense of peace. I quickly met Andrew’s friend, Emmanuel ( A Nigerian – I believe- refugee.) He was incredibly kind and asked me what I did. He seemed very concerned that my time here in Germany was only three months and insisted that I look for full time work. Ha! I wish Emmanuel, oh how I wish. Another man sat down next to me and he sang like an absolute angel. During the meet-and-greet portion of the service, we were introduced and his name is Dave and he is from Manchester/Essex in the UK.

After the service, Andrew served as our friendly tour guide around the city. The best part about this tour is we were 4 people from 3 countries, here for 2 different reasons, and all came together for 1 purpose, to worship God. We began sharing bits of life together. Dave is an engineer for Ford ( my dad is an engineer and my grandfather worked for Ford,) and Andrew went to school in Michigan and so did I. It’s amazing to watch pieces of your life come together when you least expect it. It was nice to have some friends no matter how temporary or permanent they might be for my stint here in this foreign land that I’m trying to call home. At least for a few hours, I had some friends to share life and create memories with and for that I’ll be forever grateful. They may never know that impact that they had but you always remember your first friends.

We hopped off at the DB at central station and there sitting right in front of me was the Cologne Cathedral. My jaw actually dropped Hollywood Style and then I began jumping and pointing like a sugar-filled three year old seeing Mickey Mouse in Disney World for the first time. I know I know I’m embarrassing sometimes. Hopefully the possy either didn’t see it or ignored it. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. Speaking of the possy… can we talk about how it always ends up being Kensley and the Guys… I mean seriously. (not complaining just observing.) Think Keith, MGYM, Camp Laurel – I mean I was in athletics and all of the department heads were guys except me I can’t help who they hire!!! What’s a girl to do? Kidding! I enjoy every minute of it… but it is slightly comical to me that this freckled little ginger from Bama always ends up being a Bro – Thanks for that one Cody – rather than a dainty southern lady…. Now don’t you go blamin’ my mother either. She tried. I swear she really tried. I’m just genetically engineered to not be normal. Sorry side tangent over… again!

The Cathedral! So, the Cathedral is the last standing piece of history that wasn’t completely destroyed by the bombings in WWII. The original delicate intricacies towering over the timeless moments and the last bits of untouched remnants of Old Germany really causes one to pause. Construction began in 1248 and underwent several reconstructions til the mid-1800’s. We went inside and you have the option to climb to the top. Originally, I was not too keen on it. I had surgery barely two weeks ago and my scar tissue is still extremely sensitive to lots of movement. But Alas, I did not want to be left behind on this journey with my new friends. And so we climbed. And climbed. And Climbed some more. 533 steps to be exact. For reference that’s almost double bunker hill. I was sore… oh so sore but I said nothing… well I think at one point Emmanuel was giving me a hard time for being slow and of course I had to defend myself but other than that not a peep. And it was worth it.

  
  
 From the top, there is a 360 view. I don’t wish to describe it in too much detail because I’m afraid of creating a false image so I will just leave a picture.

On our way down, all 533 steps back down, the recurring C’s cradling my $7.50 Coach thrift store shoes began blending in with the revolving C of the never ending spiral staircase of this masterpiece. I watched as carefully as I knew how because we all know that I would be the first to make the news for slipping and taking down a gaggle of people from all different countries and simultaneously starting a 3rd World War or something to that extent. I made it wobbly legs and all like a deer standing up for the first time.

Outside there was a group of people from many nations doing the cupid shuffle. I love to dance. It’s one of my favorite hobbies. Line, swing, salsa, you name it. This scene gave me hope of finding a community as eager to dance as I.

“I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” ~A.A. Milne

Andrew and Emmanuel dropped me back off at the Central Station but not before taking a selfie at the Cathedral ( I wish I had a copy but maybe I’ll get one soon!) The directions back home were supposed to be simple but as with most things in life they, weren’t. The Boggrefe family has a German phone for my use to get around the city. They charged it up for me and I did not use it at all that day so that I had a way to get home. Well wouldn’t you know it died. I went to the platform hoping for good luck and in the process, missed two trains, got on the wrong train, circled back, got off at the right stop finally and then took the long way home. I’m pooped. I walked over 15,000 steps today. I deserve some chocolate people.

I hope your Sunday was full of blessings and laughter!

I’ll leave you with this last Pooh quote for my friends near and far as I head off to bed!

“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.” ~ A.A. Milne 

Love Always,

Kens

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