Getting into Germany was a bit of a disaster. The stereotype of ”German Efficiency” is clearly a myth so far as the trains are concerned; it took a considerable amount of trouble just getting into Paderborn, and once there I soon found that I had made some unfortunate (though, fortunately, not costly or overly-damaging) mistakes when packing, and that the EU-USA power adapter I had brought along no longer worked.
Thankfully, by the second day, things had gotten into a much nicer groove. The get-together at the end of the night was definitely the high point so far, though it did suffer a bit from a lack of things to do (playing games, alas, ended up being less feasible than expected due to a lack of controllers). In particular, I was pleased to discover that despite my sensitive (i.e. extremely wussy) palate, beer cocktails suited me fine, which made me feel much more in tune with the area.
There is still some culture shock to deal with as of this writing, chiefly the bizarre ”QWERTZ” keyboard layout of the area & the tremendous amount of hassle involved in getting a glass of water without carbonation. For the most part, though, things are shaping up much better than it initially appeared they were.