When the border crossing at Roggendorf opened we were among the first to go over. It took us about three hours to cover the 25 kilometres to Ratzeburg. At the border, people handed us bananas and oranges in our car. We were afraid that the car would break with all their knocking. The atmosphere was incredible.
In Ratzeburg we simply followed the masses that were on their way to the bank. There was a long line but we were used to standing in queues. By the time we got our Begrüßungsgeld (welcome money), it was already late and our daughter was hungry. We didn’t know it would take so long so we didn’t bring anything with us. We went to Arko and bought a bar of chocolate. As we were standing in the market about to indulge in our chocolate, a gentleman came and whispered in Karl-Heinz’s ear: “Would you mind if I invited you to dinner?” Our daughter heard that and immediately shouted, “Yes! ” She clearly had nothing against it! Of course it was a bit uncomfortable for us to be invited by perfect strangers to have dinner with them. Nevertheless, we went to a Greek restaurant with the gentleman and his wife. We ended up sitting there until midnight talking a lot and enjoying ourselves.
It went on to become a lifelong friendship. What a stroke of luck. We got along well right from the start and it didn’t matter that we came from the East and they from the West. We talked about ordinary everyday things and found we had similar views. It was like hand and glove. The also helped us adjust to the new ways of the west. We could ask them about anything like insurance, education, taxes and so on. They really stood by. We had a lot of fun together. We often cooked and ate together.