This video. It’s all so true. A fellow exchanger posted it to Facebook and I had to share. A lot of this, wouldn’t make sense for those who haven’t lived in Germany. But, you can still find it funny, just knowing all what they talk about, or at least most all of it, I have run into.
Hello world! I hope you are all well on this lovely…ish day.
Today, something amazing has happened, it rained. Which means, SPRING IS ON ITS WAY! Or, at least I hope so. I am such a typical American, or an American from the south. I wanted nothing more than snow, but soon realized that the snow this year was weak and the equivalent to a Charlotte snow, and those are lame. It actually was not really cold enough, then it got WAY TOO COLD in about two days, so there was no time for real snow to come. We were bellow freezing for about three weeks. Yesterday or the day before being the first time above freezing, it felt so warm, but we all know if I had been in Charlotte and it hi 32 degrees I’d be complaining in a hot second. See, I am learning to adjust. Well with the coldness, we had a week filled of iceskating. It was lovely. Now, rain, and hail, have returned. I can’t help but get that feeling back from when I first got to this country, and it would not stop raining, ever.
I remember back to a day the first week, and a perfect double rainbow appeared one afternoon. I knew then that my year here would truly be magical. It has proved to be so, and continues to do so.
Yesterday, Valentine’s day, was also my host sister’s best friend’s birthday. She has also become a great friend to me. She turned 15, which just makes me feel so old, knowing I’ll be 17 in April. Franzi and I, along with five other friends from the village, went to her house to have cake and just spend time together. I love when in a group, I understand what is going on. It was so hard in the beginning, and not really anyone would talk to me, because I was so slow to speak and understand. My German has improved so much, and because of that that I feel apart of life here now. Mid-way point, right?
Next week my sister, Pressly, comes for a visit! I am beyond excited. I will have to take a three hour train after school to Düsseldorf to pick her up, then turn right around for a three hour home. She knows not a word of German, and in the case she missed her train, or misses her second train, she’d be in trouble. I will just take my homework and have some nice study time on the way there.
Charlotte, my other sister, has also planned her trip to come see me. She’ll be coming in March!
Well, not a whole lot to say now. I’ll write again after Pressly comes!
Our attempt at hockey?
I lasted until 3:30, then decided to go to bed. The German TV played the SuperBowl… but with German commentary, which obviously wasn’t as accurate and they didn’t ever show replays with explaining with the yellow marker on the screen, therefore I usually had no idea why they were reshowing it. Kelly was awesome, Madonna was not. Why couldn’t she have been halftime? I lasted until the end of the third, and unfortunatly went to bed. Should have know the fourth would have actually been good. Turns out a lot of Germans watch the SuperBowl. But when you ask if they understand it…. nope. Yeah, me either most of the time. But I am American, and I wanted to act it and watch the SuperBowl. I found a live stream online, so I could watch the commercials, which weren’t even that great this year.
What a bummer.
I want to start with saying Congratulations to everyone who reads my blog that made semi-finalists for next year’s CIEE-CBYX!! I remember this exciting, and stressful, time. Feel free to add me on facebook and ask questions about the program and such.
Now, to my cold life. It has been below freezing every day this week. The ponds are all frozen, and yesterday we went ice skating at a family friends. I personally had never been ice skating on a pond before, it doesn’t get that cold in Charlotte, or hasn’t in my lifetime. We skated for a good two hours, played some hockey, and all fell. I fell a couple times, I am not the best ice-skater. But, getting better and better. Today we had lunch at the grandparent’s and then we came home to skate on our pond! My host mother is out of town for the week skiing, but I think Franzi, my host father and I are going to go skiiing sometime this week. There’s a smaller mountain about an hour from here. It’s no mountain from the Alps, but I figure, that may be better for me anyways. Let’s give it a shot!
SUPERBOWL SUNDAY. I personally never really care much about the game. I watch for the National Anthem, halftime, and of course, the commercials. It actually is played here! Sadly, without the wonderful commercials. The broadcast starts at about Midnight. And I plan on staying up the whole time. No sleep night? I think I’ll pull another night like the night I didn’t sleep on the plane, so I made about 31 hours no sleep. I think I can totally stay up the whole time until after school tomorrow. I have a free period, so I’ll just go buy some coke. It’d be worse if I only got two hours of sleep, then I’d never wake up on time.
Short post, I know. I just felt like writing something.
So I got an email from my father the other day, saying I needed a new blog, and that he had checked about seven times that day. I don’t really have much to write about, but here we go.
After midyear, I was sick. We were all sick. I think the majority of us missed at least one day of school. I would have missed about three, but one of those days, Monday, I was traveling home after my not-intended-but-extended American weekend. Look at me go, I can rhyme. Anyways. I missed Tuesday and Wednesday of school. My host mother did a wonderful job of trying to get my better without medicine. See, I am full-blood American. When something is wrong or I don’t feel that great, I have lots of great friends such as IBProfen or NYQuil to take good care of me. Here, they don’t really exist. When I have a headache, the automatic response of my host mother is, “Do you want me to massage it?” or when I have stuffy sinuses, there is this creme she says to massage on to your face. Back in like October, she made Franzi massage my face with it, she more-or-less just tickled me the entire time. I never have taken that route of “medicine” again. Medicine just isn’t used here like it is at home. I have probably complained a few times about this on my blog, but you know, it is a problem. Another personal “favorite” of “medicine” here, the Asprin. After I say no to a massage for my headache, I take the only other method of medicine and healing, Asprin tablets that drop into the water, fizz, are absorbed, then I drink it. It takes horrible. I end up with a stomach ache instead of a head ache. Brilliant, or?
Enough about complaining. Yesterday was WANDER TAG! Which translates directly to hiking day, but we actually do no hiking, it’s a field trip. We went to this castle thing that was used as, basically, the SS headquarters. There was also a form of a concentration camp there in the day, that was run by the SS, but it was almost on the same level as the Nazi camps. I personally did not understand everything our tour guide said. He liked to joke a lot, or I assume so because everyone laughed a lot, and I am still a tad bit to slow at understand to get the joke. Sometimes I do understand the German, but don’t get why it’s funny. All a process. But our day was quite interesting. There was this one circular room in one of the towers, that if you stood in the middle, when you talked it was as if a bubble was around you. And if you stood on the edge, you could barely hear the person talking to you from the middle, but if they were directly opposite on the edge, you could hear them whisper. So sciencey and cool.
Among other news I finished a book today. A friend from CIEE gave me one at mid year, The Glass Castle. It was very good. I read too fast, though. Now the only book I have is Ulysses, which my host mother gave me for Christmas. Do you know how long that book is? I will be on it for weeks! How lovely. I hate not having anything to read. I also now have a book to read from my fifth grade German class. It’s not too difficult, but I forget what I have just read, because I am too busy trying to figure out whatever sentence/paragraph I am on. It’s going to be a slow process.
That’s all for today!
Hi everyone! I am currently, as I write this not post it(NO WHERE has wifi in this country, only Starbucks, shocker, it’s American), sitting in Hagen Hauptbahnhof (main train station) waiting for my connecting train to finally go home. This weekend I was near Bonn for my midyear seminar with my exchange organization. It was easily one of the best weekends of my life. I cannot explain how amazing it was being with 47 other American kids, some of my favorite “grownup” Germans from our original language camp, Max, one of the heads of our group from the CIEE department in America, and even the head of our program, Experiment, got to come some. It was, needless to say, simply amazing. It was great to see all these American friends I lived with for three weeks this summer. I became better friends with some, and it was simply perfect reuniting with others.
We got there on Thursday. I skipped school on Thursday, and my train left from Warburg at about 10:30. I had to switch trains in Hamm, in Köln, and in Remagen before I reached my destination. Luckily in Remagen I ran into some friends. I wish I had known that they were on my earlier train from Hamm, because I was bored for about an hour, but that is okay. I had my computer to type up a report on my first half year, and with no internet, I got it done fast. Anyways. I ran into a bunch of friends and we walked to the Youth Hostel together. We moved into our rooms, had dinner and all met in the big room to start the program. The entire program for the weekend was in German, but more English than should have been spoken was used. Honestly, pretty much every conversation was just a mix of languages. It got even more confusing when everyone had something to drink on Saturday.
Thursday night was just for everyone to catch up. Friday we had program things all day. Meetings, small groups, games and a lovely walk along a river. Friday night we all just hung out with friends. We had quite the fun night, and I ended up not being able to sleep for some reason, even though the beds were actually really comfortable, so I woke up Saturday on about three hours of sleep. It proved not to really do anything to me until way later. We went into Bonn on Saturday. We split up, had lunch and did a little shopping or whatever to kill the time, then too the U-bahn as a group to Haus der Geschichte, which is a history museum about Germany from after WWII until 1995. It was really really interesting, and I understood all of what the tour guide was saying. But about an hour into our two and a half hour tour, the lack of sleep really hit me. It was not a nice feeling. It became a little hard to pay attention to understand everything, so I just looked at all the pictures and artifacts. It was easily the most interesting museum I had ever been to.
After that we split back up and went to shop and have dinner. We all met at Bonn Hauptbahnhof and trained back to Arhweiler, where we were living for the weekend, we all went together to a local bar and had fun as a group.
We all hungout late into the night in our rooms. I had such an awesome night. All together this was seriously the greatest weekend ever, and we were all sad to leave Sunday afternoon, but a little problem ensued for me. One of my trains was fifteen minutes late, when I originally only six minutes to make my connectiong. Let me just tell you, I NEVER travel by train, or at least IC or ICE trains, which are the fast ones that only go to bigger stations, without problems. It’s just ridiculous and DeutscheBahn should get it together. After quite a bit of freaking out, being told by the ticket machine there were no routes from Köln to Paderborn, where I needed to be to be picked up by my host mother, and a lot more freaking out, I decided to go home with a friend I was with instead of jumping through train stations on routes that I knew nothing about to try to get home. My host mother didn’t want me getting home so late, and not really knowing where I was or how I was getting home. So I continued to Düsseldorf and on to Geilenkirchen with my friend Melissa(read her blog!), who’s host mother was so awesome to let me stay with them. In the end, I ended up basically in Holland, she lives next to the border, and just hours from where I wanted to be originally. The train system is really good north to south, but when you start trying to go east to west, it gets messy, no idea why. I woke up early this morning, caught a train to Hagen, and am now on another train to Warburg. Total traveling time is five hours. I had forty-five minutes here in Hagen, and am on just a Regional train, so to insure no lateness, even though they are slower since they stop at more stations. It’s no big deal, I just had an extra American day. I hope Experiment doesn’t get mad, but there was nothing I could do, and I didn’t want to end up alone in some station.
The weekend was just great. It was awesome to see so many friends, we really are just family, and then to see Max, who was there at our DC orientation, and get to hear about America from the other side of the pond because he was just here for the weekend.
Speaking of CIEE, I know my blog is on the CIEE website. So, this goes out to whoever has applied, this is an incredible experience, but it’s also a popular one. Many people apply for this, and if you are in the Southeast, we are populated states. In a few weeks letters will go out inviting some to interviews, congratulations, and those who don’t make it, don’t give up, try again next year. They can’t take everyone. There are other chances to go abroad, in college or later in high school or a gap year.
CIEE and Experiment are amazing. Thanks to Laura, Max, Juliette, and whoever else in those two organizations that I don’t know. Thanks to our awesome teamers/teachers from language camp, and to the few that could come this time, and thanks to the new teamers we had since only three from the original could take of work.
And especially thanks to the 47 Americans who are here in Germany with me, who I love very much so. We are family. I cannot wait until Berlin in June, even though that will mean we will be going home soon, I will still see everyone together again. I am hoping to be able to travel so see some friends, but there are enough weekends to see everyone.
It was the greatest weekend ever, even though I am now sick. I think we will all end up sick, honestly. And “thanks” to my train situation, I have now had a five day weekend instead of four. Hopefully tomorrow I won’t be sick anymore so that I can go back to school.
I hope all is well in America.
Well, last post was about Christmas. Here comes everything else included in my lovely break from “school.”
The day after Christmas, well the 26th that is, Franzi and I headed north to spend a week with relatives. We had been there before, so it was nothing new and awkward for me, just keeps getting easier. We had an eventful week that included lots of eating, walking, and excitement. We went to the zoo, which was my favorite part of the week. My host aunt and I were the only ones that wanted to go to the outside part, because it was cold and slightly rainy, but what fun are fish in an aquarium when there are ELEPHANTS? Naturally, we went outside instead. It was great. We saw all sorts of animals, but many were inside their “winter homes,” but you can still go see them. Another day we took the S-bahn train up two stops to buy firecrackers and such for New Years, and my host aunt told a little while lie. She said that it is against the law to take firecrackers on the trains, so we have to walk home. I was up for it, it was a nice 45 minute walk, in which I read “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” out loud in English for Franzi the whole way. We hooked arms and she made sure I didn’t walk into any puddles or something. I thought it was a nice walk, all the boys were sour about it, and it turns out she only told us that to make us walk. I thought it was hilarious. Another day, my host aunt and cousins went north to the grandparents for the day, and Franzi and I went on a shopping adventure in Hamburg. There are just so many sales after Christmas and I have discovered I have inherited some of the Charlotte Blackley traits for finding good things. I have discovered an actual liking for shopping, something I usually found boring at home. I can hear Charlotte getting excited and my mother groaning. With Charlotte going to school in Charlotte next year, I know I will be begging her to take me shopping next year some. She has good style.
Back to Germany. New Years is a huge deal here. Friends of the cousins and parents came, and there was an abundance of food. At midnight, it sounded like a war zone in Hamburg. There was so much fog and smoke we couldn’t really see any fireworks, so we just shot of our own. But just because we couldn’t see them doesn’t mean they weren’t there. It was a constant stream of bangs from all around us for a solid hour. I felt like it was the Fourth of July at Lake Norman.
We came home New Years day, just to pack and wake up at five thirty the next morning to start the next adventure. A six hour drive later I was in the Austrian Alps with more snow that I had ever seen in my life, and it just kept coming. Skiing was… interesting. I was in ski school for the week, and learned a lot, but a big storm that came in on Thursday ended the prospect of actually going up the mountain. We had to leave early Friday instead of staying through the day to ski. We spent an hour digging the cars out of snow and then were on our way out, and not too soon either. We heard on the radio that just a few hours later we would have been stuck, as so many others were.
I had a great and exciting winter break. Now, day after tomorrow, back to “school.” But, I’ll be real, I don’t do enough in school to complain about having to go back. Life of an exchange student is pretty awesome.