This story happened back in 1997 when the internet still was in its infancy and people were only just beginning to trust this new medium.
I have always wanted to meet people from different countries with different cultures to share ideas and to learn so I posted a message on one of the various Pen Pal Websites.
A number of months passed and I had already forgotten about my posting when I received an email from an American by the name of Kim Knoblauch.
Now, "Knoblauch" is a German word meaning "garlic" and I was curious to know when her ancestors went to America and if she still spoke any German.
We started exchanging emails and Kim told me that she was from a little town in the Mid West where there live many Americans with German roots and no she didn't speak any German but Spanish because this is the most important language in the US apart from English of course. Kim had worked a year in Spain where she was able to experience the culture and practice the language.
In December 1997 I decided to invite many of my non-German friends for my birthday and amongst the guests was an American couple who were living in Germany. When the party date approached I wrote to Kim "Why not come over to Germany and strengthen the American delegation at our party" -- and I intended this invitation to be a joke as there were only 10 days left to the party date.
Little did I know about American spontaneity and determination: You may imagine my surprise when I received an email from Kim reading "I'll arrive next Friday morning, can you pick me up from the airport or do I take a taxi?"
At the party all my friends wanted to get to know Kim and asked her lots of questions about her trip, if this is her first visit to Germany what she does for a living back home and so on.
Kim was very impressed by the city of Leipzig with its combination of beautifully restored old buildings and the modern infrastructure and she said that there are quite a number of differences between her hometown and Leipzig.
You want to know how Kim is doing these days? Well, for a start she changed her surname when she got married to Brian Niehaus and in 2002 their family grow with two new little Knoblauch-Niehaus girls arriving in Wisconson. If you want the latest you should ask Kim and Brian.
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