01 June 2014

Germany Getaway: Flight, Arrival and Polterabend

Hubby and I left for the airport at 6 o’clock in the morning on the 3rd of May. We had already checked in online the day before, and although our flight was at 8:45am, we decided it was best to leave the apartment when our girls were still sleeping to avoid any drama.

Our taxi ride to Terminal 3 went by uneventfully, and checking in our luggage, getting our boarding passes, and going through Passport Control went smoothly…although the queues were pretty long because there were so many passengers. Walking towards the gate took a while as well because it was at the other end of the terminal, but it was ok because there were many things to look at.

Finally we heard the call to board, but we didn’t queue right away. We let everyone else fall in line while Hubby and I took pictures and called home to say goodbye to Caila and Sophie.
The flight took 6 hours, most of which I spent watching movies to keep me entertained. Having booked the Seafood Meal in advance, Hubby and I were one of the few passengers who were served our food before the others, allowing us to dig in while the ones beside us looked at us in surprise and waited hungrily to be served.
teriyaki salmon...it tasted much better than it looks here
There were a few instances when we experienced turbulence, making it a bumpy ride, but as long as we arrived in Dusseldorf Airport in one piece, that’s what mattered.

Departing from the plane, we followed the other passengers. There were 2 kinds of counters to queue at: the first was for European Union citizens, and the other was for non-EU passport holders which was where we went. At the Police counter (their Immigration/Passport Control) we presented the Formal Obligation paper and our passports, and then headed to the luggage carousel. 
After getting our luggage, we walked to the exits where we immediately saw Dad waving at us. We exchanged hugs and kisses and talked a bit while waiting for Michaela and Sebastian’s friends who were also arriving some time after us.
A while later, we were on our way to Essen, and after dropping off Yvonne and Jon, we headed to the place we would be calling home for the next 10 days.

Irene, Kuya Raul and Ate Tess had arrived the day before and were having an early dinner with Mom when we arrived so we joined them immediately after another round of hugs and kisses.
When we had our fill, Mom showed us where our room was, and then we all got ready to go to church, which was a few minutes walk away.
Upon seeing St. Marien Church, I felt a wave of nostalgia as I remembered it was one of the churches we had mass at during our visit back in 2005 prior to the World Youth Day event. And when the priest came out, Irene and I couldn’t help looking at each other because he was the same one who took care of our entire group that time. The mass was very solemn and nice; it was in German, but we were able to follow it. And when the time came for the Lord’s Prayer, all the kids were called in front to hold hands with Pastor Pingel. It was really cute! The hymns were also in German, which we did our best to sing using the 2 different songbooks that were available for everyone, and which were all returned at the end.
After mass, we all walked back home to get ready for the pre-wedding party. Mom and Dad told us it was going to be a very cold night, so we made sure to dress very warmly and comfortably. And before leaving, they gave us some crockery which they wouldn’t be using anymore.
Just like how we went to St. Marien, we also walked to M&S’s place. As we approached the venue, we saw people throwing bowls, plates, and mugs in the middle of the street. Joining in the fun, we did the same thing with the stuff we had brought. This was actually the German tradition “Polterabend” and it’s supposed to bring luck to the couple.
As more guests arrived, more porcelain was thrown into the street. We all looked on while drinking juice, beer, and champagne....and taking pictures.

Finally, Sebastian and Michaela started clearing the broken pieces. No one helped them; we all just looked…as we drank more juice, beer, and champagne.

According to Mom, cleaning the mess by themselves symbolizes that the couple need to work together to solve any problems or difficult situations when they’re married. When the street was clean, we were led to the back where the party began. Delicious food was spread out for everyone to help themselves to, non-stop (English and German) music was blaring, and you could drink as many alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks as you wanted. And most of all, there was dancing, dancing, dancing. All the guests really loosened up and had a great time, and we couldn’t help doing so as well.
The five of us non-Germans went home at around midnight, but we were told the last guest didn’t leave until morning the next day...and that’s normal for them! Now that’s partying till you drop!

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