Wuppertal, Day 1

Wuppertal’s students were in school one last day before a six week break, and Elizabeth and Julia were invited to join Pinar for those last few hours. Sophia graduated a few weeks earlier, so she intended to join them later.  While Mike and I slept in, Elizabeth and Julia grabbed breakfast in the hotel and met Pinar outside at 7:30. We chose Hotel Zur Krone because it was near the school, so they had an easy walk that morning. 

Pinar wearing the Hard Rock Chicago shirt she bought when we all visited the Windy City last fall

Gymnasium Sedanstra├če

After school, the girls tagged along as Pinar and her friends went to the Brauhaus to celebrate the end of a school year and then walk around town a bit. 

This place is packed during soccer games (when we original planned to go the previous evening), but it was quieter for the girls’ lunch

Shopping Wuppertal

Elizabeth, Julia, and Tuffi (more about him later)

Meanwhile, I hauled all of our dirty laundry to a launderette. The hotel gave me a map and marked where they thought the laundry should be, but they were 3 blocks off. Thus started 30 minutes of me wandering into different shops with my incorrect map asking, “Waschen und trocknen kleidung?” It took me a while to find someone who could point me in the right direction, but I eventually got there and our laundry got a much needed cleaning. We all met back at the hotel to rest. 

At 6:30, we met Meltam, Pinar’s cousin, outside our hotel. Meltam will be out guest student this coming October. She was younger and obviously nervous about meeting us, but she and her mother were very friendly completely wonderful as they walked us across town to the Sahbaz residence. While we waited for Pinar to return from practice, her family showed us the home and the backyard animals we had heard so much about. 

Elizabeth, Meltam, and Julia

After a few photos, Elizabeth and Julia rode with Pinar’s family while Mike and I rode to the restaurant with Meltam and her brother, who is now finishing college classes and still remembered quite a bit of English from his younger schooling years. The grandparents live in a separate part of the apartment complex and came out on the terrace to wave and say hello. As we all piled into the cars, they said something to the group which we were later told was, “Make sure you take them to a good restaurant!” 

Indeed they did. The Sahbaz family treated us to a wonderful dinner. We all tried a variety of different kebobs, rice dishes, meats, drinks, and desserts. Pinar and Meltam’s brother sat in the middle of the group and worked as the main translators  for everyone. Despite not sharing a language with much of the family, we were able to share a great meal with them and learn more about the family and the town. As we walked back to the car, Meltam’s mother told me that she was a little unsure about Meltam going on the trip, but now that she had a chance to meet us, she felt good about her daughter staying with an American family for those weeks. That was a lovely compliment, and we will certainly do our best to make her daughter feel welcome this fall. 

Before going back to our hotel, we stopped by the Sahbaz home for Turkish coffee, treats, and more pictures. Pinar’s sister, who had visited Milan several years earlier, also come home in time to visit for a while. We didn’t stay too late because the whole family planned to leave early in the morning to visit grandparents living in Turkey. We were very appreciative of the family’s generous hospitality during our visit. 

Julia tries the Turkish Coffee


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