• Joaynna Cook

R n R in Frankfurt.

We flew into Frankfurt on the 25th of September after a layover in Paris. It was a long travel day for me, considering I got zero sleep on the plane and was battling some illness.

I was a massive mess for the entire 6 hours, I spent most of it out of my seat and going back and forth from the empty row behind us and the bathroom. When you aren't feeling well, and you stuck in airspace with nothing you can do but suffer and you moving away from home for the first time to go across the world, emotions tend to arise. My anxiety and pessimistic attitude took over, and I was in full-blown "I'm going to die on this plane" mode within 2 hours. During the flight, my situation got so bad we talked about skipping our plane from Paris to Frankfurt and finding a doctor ASAP.

Thankfully, after feeling a little better in Paris, I decided to get on the next flight and try my best to make it to our final destination. Cale was a saint during all of it. He keeps a close eye on me but gave me space so that I wouldn't feel embarrassed about being sick. Despite what I was telling myself on that plane, I live to tell the story, and we got to spend 2 days in Frankfurt, Germany.

We arrived in Frankfurt around 12 pm, we were in contact with our Airbnb host who we hoped would let us check-in before the scheduled time of 3 pm. We just wanted to get out of the airport and to a cozy place as soon as possible. Or at the very least ditch the humongous bags that carried three months' worth of crap in them so we could spend our time wisely. Our luck was not in our favor, and we couldn't get into the apartment until late in the day. Being exhausted, bogged down with baggage, and still feeling the effects of being sick, we decided our best bet was to chill in the airport until 2:30 when it was time to head to Airbnb. We lugged ourselves up and into an airport restaurant where we ate our first non-airplane meal in what felt like 1000 years but was really only 18hours.

We decided that we would continue to take a stake in the restaurant until we needed to leave, our luck again was cut short when the floor that we were on closed and we were quickly rushed out by the airport police. Our next move…sleepy sitting on the floor next to the exit, counting down the minutes until we could call an Uber. 45mins later… we both couldn't take it we called the Uber and headed to the Airbnb 15-20mins early to stand outside and wait for the host to check us in.

Our Frankfurt Airbnb was lovely; it was within walking a distance of a good shopping area and enough places to eat. It was a cozy studio with hot water and a functional kitchenette. It felt like home for the 48hours we were there. After chatting with the host, we pulled the bags just inside the door, took a shower and passed out before the clock struck 5pm. The early bedtime was less than ideal for the jet lag, but I tried my best to sleep through the night, waking up only twice at unreasonable hours.

Once the clock struck 6:30 am, I figured that was an acceptable time to wake, and I slowly rolled out of bed. Taking a slow morning felt good, and after a couple hours, we decide to find our way through town to eat and find SIM cards. We got through both breakfast and the phone story without much trouble, but I immediately felt overwhelmed.

We sat down in the bakery that we ordered breakfast from; moments earlier, I had biffed the name of the order I wanted. It made the gal behind the counter laugh, and most of the people in the line behind us if I'm being honest. All I wanted was to eat, a simple pretzel and coffee, yet it was like pulling teeth to get through the language barrier. A lot of pointing and holding up numbers on my fingers to get to the right menu item that was hung on the wall.

Not being able to communicate effectively hit me like a mack truck at that moment. I realized for the longest time, I have planned and rehearsed every single moment in my head to protect myself from being misunderstood. I was knee-deep in my biggest fear of not being able to fake it. I have lived in this mentality that I can fake it till I make it, continually pretending to know exactly what to do and when to do it in every moment. All that goes to hell when you don't know anything about your environment. I sat in silence, eating my pretzel, and drinking my coffee while continually choking back the culture shock tears. I feel as if anyone who travels aboard for a long time knows this feeling, the contrast between I am having a great time, and this is a fantastic adventure verse I want to go home and back to everything I know.

Frankfurt was just the beginning of this feeling for me. How I entered this adventure is nothing I ever planned to experience. I thought that I would be in peak health, navigating not speaking german at all with grace and barely homesick. I slowed my roll the moment I realized that I wasn't handling the situation well.

I took time to just rest in the Airbnb, I stuck to the rituals that I have had a home when life gets hard. At the end of the first day, I dry brushed, masked, and washed the day off with an alternating hot/cold shower to flush my systems. Following all that, I got a good night's sleep. I woke up feeling my strength again, feeling the passion and desire to see the world again.

Frankfurt was slow, we didn't see a lot, but we definitely took time to rest and relax. I am learning a lot even just in those first few days, just knowing how to tune into yourself and find home right where you are.

P.S. I Didn't take any photos in Frankfurt. I honestly can't tell you why. Yet, I did save one photo on my phone. It's a quote that kept me from booking the next flight back to Detroit. Here it is...

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