Jana and Saskia, the note-in-the bottle girls from Germany, arrived last Thursday, several hours after John and Mary left (In between the two drives to the airport and carrying a big price tag, a replacement for our blown-up air-conditioning unit was installed. It was a busy day!). Jana and Saskia are 18 and 19 years old, respectively, and we were a little nervous that we wouldn't know how to entertain them, since, truth be told, we hardly knew them (see my 6.17.08 post). We needn't have worried. They are fun to be around and are excellent house guests.
Their first impression of this country, on this their first trip to the United States, is that everything is so BIG, compared to Europe: big buildings, big stores, big houses, big cars, etc. Right now, as I write this, they are at the Mall of America, the BIGGEST shopping-&-entertainment center in the country. Tomorrow they fly with Jerry to Denver, where the three of them will start a 12-day road trip adventure in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and then back to Colorado to fly back to Minnesota. There's plenty of big stuff out in those states too, though at least most of it isn't man-made.
Yesterday afternoon I took them over to a German restaurant in St. Paul, the Glockenspiel, to watch the Euro2008 soccer final match between Germany and Spain, which would have been more fun if Germany had won, but it was a packed-house full of enthusiastic, German-speaking fans. Jana, smiling, said to me at one point during the game, "Right now, this does not feel like America!"