Some days all Germany has alloted me is being cold and tired, or so I thought. One of these such days was the 23rd of September. That day was the last day of the Late Orientation camp for AFS exchange students in the Northern Germany region. When the last activities were finished and the last discussions had, we all said a sad goodbye to each other and my host dad picked me up. I slept most of the two hour way home and when I woke up I felt even more tired (müde). However, my host parents had the idea to go on a short trip to the lighthouse at Westerhever (Westerhever Lechturn). Arriving there, I dreaded getting out of the car feeling the freezing air (Kalt) against my thin jacket (I have a better one now). I hoped the walk to the lighthouse would be short and slowly made my way out of the car.
What I was confronted with was a longer walk than anticipated and possibly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. On both sides of the path were oceans of grasses waving in the omnipresent breeze and thickets of –. I was a little startled when my host dad picked up a piece of it and ate it without hesitation. After he explained what it was and that it was most definetely not poisonous, I enjoyed eating handfuls of it too. Now I know how to survive if I am ever stranded in Northern Germany without any food or money. 😉 The lighthouse was ever in our view, motivating us to continue walking through the cold headwind.
Once we crossed all of the bridges and finished our 45 minute walk, we finally made it to the lighthouse. Although it was shut up for the winter and we couldn’t get in, the view alone was worth it. We could see the sea far to the right and the stark difference between the sight of the flat landscape and the tall lighthouse was imposing. Surrounding the lighthouse were the fluffy white sheep so typical of Northern Germany, one of which let me pet it. The clouds themselves looked like little sheep running across the late afternoon sky and that only added to the surrealism I felt at being in Germany after dreaming about it for so long. I walked around the lighthouse and behind it I found a display about sea pollution (pictured below). As someone very interested in environmental conservation, this display broke my heart. It contained various trash that had been found at the beach lying below the lighthouse, and it astounded me that a place with so few people could contain so much trash. This goes to show just how far humanity’s influence has gone, as shown in this articles:
and this video:
The first story is about how a camera recording the depths of the Mariana Trench, the deepest place in the ocean, caught sight of the plastic bag that grocery stores and consumers alike seem to love so much. The second is a very recent story about a beached whale in Indonesian that was found to have Kilos of plastic in its stomach. It is truly depressing that our love of single-use plastic has gone on for this long, and these sights should be a warning of the catastrophic effect we are having on our planet. So, I ask you, whoever you are reading this, to be a little more mindful about what you are consuming and subsequently throwing away in the process. One plastic bag, straw, or bottle might not seem like much, but to one innocent creature who ends up eating, being choked, or being entangled in it, it means the difference between life or death.