Thursday, March 31, 2011

It's been a long time

I can not believe it has already been 7 months I have been living in Germany. To me, thinking about it just makes me sad. I can not get over that in another 5 months I will be already back in the United States, getting ready to apply for college and working out my SATs. Just the thought of that makes me nostalgic. Nostalgic on the culture that has embraced me, nostalgic for the friends that I will miss deeply and for the adventures that will be just memories. But, with another 5 months to come I can also be thinking on the positives. What is to come next in my adventure in Germany? Well, that is something that I am willing to find out.. With nice weather, a positive attitude, and friends... the next few months will be wonderful, and probably some of the best memories of my life will be made.

As I live in Germany longer it is easy to see how there can be positive and negatives in every culture.. and how every land has there problems. But, with that comes the understanding that perhaps how I once viewed America is not how it is always how I will understand it. I can remember before coming to Germany being very pessimistic while regarding some of the regulations or laws that our government had in place... or what it did not have in place, not helping to prevent unsafe situations or give certain people those certain rights they deserve. But now I can see myself better understanding how the United States, for a lot of reasons, is a very, very open land and one that when living in another country I realize is deeply misunderstood. In English class this year I have heard some of the most outrageous things; like in America we are called a melting pot because we melt away the culture of every person that comes to be an American. Sure, maybe I can see how people could get that impression, but really I do not see it at all. I feel that our land is really the land where everyone is American, despite their background... each of us have a family history and the family history did not begin in America... making us truly an integrated land. Sure, I could say lots and lots of things to contradict my statements but, as a whole I think that in some ways America should be given a little bit more credit...

Each day I have lived in Germany I begin to understand a little more why the Germans to the things that they do. Each thing, from opening the window each morning, to how they talk about politics can really be linked to their past.. and can in some ways predict the outcome of their future. Why do they open the windows every day you may ask? Because, airing out the house, is a very healthy thing to do. All the bad smells, and all the bad bacteria goes out.. So make sure after you are sick or just after a good night sleep, a person needs to a get a move on that!

So, it´s been a few months after all... what else do I possibly have to say? I think that this year has changed me. Perhaps I am just thinking too much of myself but I think in some ways it has.. And in many ways I believe I now better know myself and what frustrates me better than ever... I also know how to really cherish what I love. I realize now how lucky I am for my family, for my friends, and for the location of where I was brought up.. It is also in this point in time where I realize the different values and ideas that growing up in such a liberal, (yup! the l word!), taught me. Living in this new place, tests a lot of skills. But it also allows a person to break free of all the misconceptions and allow a person to be who they are to be. And make the friends who are going to last a lifetime.. but moral and values will always be something I carry with me throughout my life. Yes, my parents have taught me well. I have also realized that a person always, I mean always, really needs to have some sort of positive attitude on how things will play out. Perhaps, sit down and relax. For those of you are out there who know me... well, sometimes I stress out, and when I mean stress out... I do it a little too much. Each day I am here I just need to learn well... the world rolls on as it rolls on and most of the time (shrugs) I can´t really change what is going to happen. So I might as well not worry and just enjoy life (carpe diem!)

I have always found in interesting to be living in a family that is not really, your own family to say (now you all must realize I am not saying I have any problem with that... I love my host families, they are loving and amazing people but I am just musing on thoughts). Whenever I move into a new host family it takes a while to understand what a person can do to be most helpful, and how a person balances school, family and friends.. Kind of like home just a little bit different. And a lot of the time it dawns on me how deeply grateful I am to each host family that has hosted me. Not every person has to host and the fact that they are willing to allow someone to see them at their bests, their worst, and their everyday lives is something I will never be able to truly say thank you for. Sure, I can try, those occasional thank you´s! or that meant so much to me! But, I don´t think I can every really tell them, from the bottom of my heart how wonderful it is they do that. The same goes for friends here.. Starting of in a country, alone without anyone to know friends are some of the most important aspects. And having the best of friends ? How do you thank them for being there for you in even the most frustrating of situations? (funny or just hmm.. drat)

So plans for the future at the moment? Studying in Germany? Perhaps may be a must. But let´s just see first how everything goes (=
So updates in my normal life:
- I will be switching host families for the 4th time in two weeks.
- School is becoming so hectic and I am like whaaaaaat! But, everything will work out!
- There is something called Penneball this weekend that is orginized from my class so I get to go there, help set up and do all this fun stuff! I am so stoked!
- I am going to try to blog more!

Greetings from Overseas (=

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Schwarzwald... GOLLY! So much, how to fit it in?

Germany = Amazing, Wonderful, lovely, exquisite, and every happy optimistic word a person can think of. As time goes on blogging becomes more and more difficult. As more time goes on I seem to get busier with school (studying.. oh man!!) hanging with friends, and then.... rotary.
Rotary. Now let me tell you how awesomely amazingly cool it is!
Last week...
Basically that translates too... Blackforest, a week of hiking: It was AWESOME. The week began by meeting
23 exchange stude
nts! Why yes, I was included in that number! Woohoo! I almost feel that I am part of a team. Hmm so the first day of that we went hiking around 6 hours. And it was incredible. I think they told us maybe it was something like 15 km and sure, that doesnt sound like a lot but when one just keeps increasing the incline it does get a little more intense. BUT. THE VIEW (and the fun time getting up their of course) MADE IT ALL TOTALLY WORTH IT. From where we stood we could see the Alps! We were even above the clouds! I looked across the horizon and saw where the clouds were, it was kind of a bizarre but totally sweet experience. After seeing that we took a nice long walk down the hill and to lunch! Spaghetti! Yumm! Besides that that entire week consisted of us exchange student eating only...wait for it...... schnitzel and pommes or spatzle and pommes!!!!
pommes = french fries
Schnitzel= does it really need explaining?
Spatzle = Something made from flour... and normally put in some sort of sauce. Difficult to explain!
Then... we went in the trees! I am not sure at all what this is in English but in German we went to a Klettergarten! It consisted of us going to these super hard obstacle courses in the trees (yes, there were safety devices involved) And guess what! I chose to do the hardest one... number 5! It was ridiculous! And.. there were quite a few times that I thought I would quit.. but that would also involve me going back the same way I came and well, I was not having any of that! Hehe, it was a good day! I ended up conquering my fear of heights... which I hadnt quite realised I had until that time... After that... we celebrated by everyone having some German chocolate cake with cherries! There is a special name for that cake but at the moment it evades my mind! Vielleicht Kirschetorte auf Deutsch...
THEN... THEN. WE WENT SWIMMING!!! OH MY GOSH ARE GERMAN SWIMMING POOLS COOL! My love for them is unending! They are almost like a sauna.. actually lies, they do have saunas in them! It was awesome! We went swimming... and well there were so many things to choose! One could choose the louder place and there use swimming boards, go down a huge slide (yes, the one that gets dark then light.. then freaks one out and BOOM at bottom!) Or... one could just chill in the more quiet place and enjoy the salt water while it works at making ones skin all nice and clean... Playing games in the water with other exchange students and taking pictures underwater... also totally priceless! I enjoyed it so much! I cant wait to go again to a swimmbad but this time it may just be strictly for swimming, oh yes... this will be fun!
Lastly while I was there (okay, so maybe not lastly because we did so much I just can not write about it!) we visited a ton of fasnet museums!!! It is basically Karnival and is suppose to be crazy and absolutely a ton of fun! I am already excited! So, ciao from Germany! Loving it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A typical school day. Well, for me anyway (=

The German school system is so much different than in America! For me, I also find it a much better school system. Most days I get to come home for lunch (and stay home till the next day) and that is absolutely awesome! The school system here I also feel is a little bit more laid back. I am not inferring that the course load is less work... because if anything it is more. But, the people and during the school day one is not so stressed out. We have time before periods to make sure to get to our classes on time unlike at home where one practically sprints to the next class.
So, a look at my schedule

Stunde 1. English
::::5 minute break::::
2. Math
15 minute break::::
3. Biology
::::5 minute break::::
4. Biology
::::10 minute break::::
5. History
::::5 minute break::::
6. History. (so my school day is over by 1 o, clock (= )

1. German
::::5 minute break::::
2. German
(see break yesterday)
3. Free period
4. Free period
5. English
6. English
1 hour. 10 minute break
Mittagschule (which basically translates to afternoon school)
7. Sport
8. Sport

So that is just a look at two of my school days, and that is basically very typical for me. I still cant remember all the classrooms yet or where I need to go on each individual day but I feel very shortly that will come! (=
Sport here though really makes me day. I love sport! Unlike at home it is not a joke, but like, you really need to try! The first day we had it we played volleyball. Only then did I discover I had no idea how to play! So, the gym teacher came over and was like.... this is how you do it! I feel that I really improved even though it was still pretty pitiful!
During that time I also got to bond with people who were also not quite the best and even the really awesomely talented people also made my day. AH! Sport, I can not wait. It is just so awesome!!!

During the school day here it is also different because most people bring snacks and eat them between periods. We have plenty of time so perhaps you can go to the cafeteria, and buy yourself a whole baguette! Or a whole sandwich.... a HUGE (and I mean HUGE) slice of pizza! I know, I really should be taking pictures of this stuff. They will come soon enough!
Well, enough for now.
But loving it here!!! (= Even school is super fun.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Picnic, bikes and loviing it!

Germany, oh dear Germany, do I love you!

The last week was awfully busy and filled with excitement!

My host family and I (the last week of summer) decided we would go on an adventure through the wilderness with our bikes! Okay, well maybe not hardcore wilderness but it was going through some fun forest! I really enjoyed it although midway through the bike I was riding kind of broke... which I must tell you was pretty funny! I ended up for a little while sitting on the back of my host sisters bike but then her sister and I switched places! (= .....and after that WE HAD A PICNIC! I love picnics... it was bread, meat that was in a can (it was awesomely tasty but looked like whoa!)

Since then.... school has started. School, the first day was kind of confusing I was looking all over wondering where the heck I had to go! But, the Germans... are AWESOME and whenever I had a question were like so helpful telling me where I needed to go! Oh yes, they did tell me in German! So, I love the way German school systems work. Today I had two periods free... but not like at home... we actually dont have supervising teachers here and can basically do what floats our boat.. so I choose to randomly say hey to people (favorite part of my day!) then we also get long pauses before different classes which is an insane amount of fun! AND we still get out earlier than in USA! Ahhh, I love Germany. Haha, I say that so often and yet, I just can not seem to say it enough!

Random stuff:
1. We normally get to come home from school for lunch!!! That is just so cool! Or, if we are in the school during lunch than we have around an hour and fiften minutes. Makes the 25 at Madison seem ridiculously short. (=
2. We DO NOT have our classes every day! The longest I have a subject I think is 4 periods (=
3. They have bettflasches.... which are basically something that semi looking like a whopee cushion and you put water in it.... then it is really warm and you can keep your feet warm when you sleep... that, makes me happy! (=
4. My english since being here is becoming increasingly worse... I begin speaking Englisch and automatically go to German! Ahhh, confusing! ( =

Anyways, Greetings from across the sea!!! (=
chao! (yes, oftenly said!)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Its official. I am in love with Germany.

Oh my gosh is it just the most beautiful place! The people, the food, the sights and language are everything I hoped for... yet at the same time couldn't have imagined!
I am now living with my host family and their house is beautiful. In the back is a large garden with various sorts of berries (which the mom makes jam from!) and other beautiful views that I just love to take my computer outside and sit.
In the last week:
1. The autobahn.
The autobahn.was.awesome. Despite the contrary idea that the autobahn would be very dangerous, fast and perhaps a little bit of hectic it was not. The autobahn works sooooo efficiently. People that want to go really fast go around you, in the other lane... but go right back in front of you (or a few cars above) because they know there is always going to be something faster coming. Enjoyed it thoroughly.
2. Town Seeing.
AMAZING! I LOVE IT! They also have this amazing castle (schloss) and it just makes me happy everytime I see it.
3. People.
I LOVE THE GERMANS! They are just so wonderfully nice, talkative, and welcoming. For example. when you walk in a store you say hello perhaps a howdy do and you ALWAYS say goodbye. so great, love random conversations with people. (=
Anyways, perhaps that is all for now. But I am loving it here. I can already tell I am going to be ridiculously sad when I go home.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Marburg, continued?

Marburg, well! Basically, it still rocks.

The school that I went to was interesting. What Guenter does everytime he goes to the school is talk to kids about what they want to do when they get older. Kind of like in the US where we go see our guidance counslers and they say "what do you think you want to do?" etc...

Following that I got to visit Elisabethkirche (pronounced with no th.. just the t!) and it was beautiful. The church was enormous and had a few sections to it. The main sanctuary, then behind it to equally open rooms just smaller in size. They contained what I would expect to be a smaller prayer area.. One that, I could not get into. o.o Something about no ticket?

During the week I was able to see a really cool show called regenplatz (i believe that is the name) and it was people who were doing acrobatics. A very comedic group and it was really entertaining to watch. I may not have understood it all but their actions were enough to explain the hysterical parts!

Other things I have done consist of visiting other castles, attending a church service and eating some gelato. (amazing!) Something we did do though was visit friends of who I am with... and that was an awesome time. The town that we went to was amazing! The name yet evades my mind but, we took a very long walk, perhaps 2 miles and saw the town! All around were cows, large fields and to the other side of me a large forest! This is how Germany is so different from the US! One moment there is Marburg, the large Universität Stadt.. and the next minute I am in an area that is almost like a blast to the past! The houses can be from the 14th century and the farming since then hasnt changed all that much. Germany... I have fallen in love with.

1. Waking up nice and early.. going to Frankfurt!
2. Taking the ICE train (den Zug?) to Ulm!
3. Host Family.

Bis spätter! (=

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Marburg, just a glance!

Today and yesterday I have been to Marburg! It is absolutely beautiful! I love it so much!
Although, Germany is kind of super cold! (by my standards at least!) Perhaps... it is around 50 degrees fahriegnheit and I need to wear a nice winter rain jacket and stuff when I go out! So perhaps not that cold but... for those of you who know me I love that hot weather!
But, the city, view and everything else really make up for it!
So Yesterday.
Yesterday I woke up bright and early! Haha, just kidding, I totally woke up around half past twelve, had some tea and went off to the city of Marburg!
It was beautiful! First, we went in the Marketplatz (market place) and waited until the tour began! The tour, mind you, was in all German and I could understand quite a bit of it! What I could not comprehend though... was who some of the historical figures were because I had never heard their names before! At the end I had managed to learn that this woman, Elizabeth, was basically an awesome lady who helped the poor and was cantonized as a saint (sankt) in the catholic church! (everyone really considers here a role-model in these parts!) I also understood that when people had no indoor plumbing they just through all that stuff out the window! it was, needless to say, a good time!
Later we went and bought a pretzel (bretzel.. in german) and well it was absolutely amazing! Different than the ones in new york city but still.. pretty awesome! (and better.. if i do say so myself!)
One thing too, I am really beginning to like is that the people I am with love to randomly stop for tea in the middle of the day! Tea break time! .... my favorite! (=

Then today.... was a busy day! We went and explored the Schloss! (the castle of marburg) and I got to see all the history and the fun stuff that surrounded it! It was a magnificient view that I just can not get over! mmm, everything here is so old and beautiful! Awesome.
After, we walked about the town, saw some art museums.... (which were cool. we saw old art in addition to some modern art!) After that I went and explored the town alone for a little while! So many pretty shops and all the people had stuff outside too! People also played instruments, sang along with it, sat down in parks and chilled with their friends. It is really a very different mood than it is in the U.S. (at least I think!)
Random stuff!
1. People are super serious about the enviornment! Composting and everything!
2. I feel like they eat a little later than my family does in the US. (7/8 or so)
3. Tea & Coffee = daily must

Anyways! Tomorrow I get to visit a school with Günter and see what is all going on there and then later... well, not sure!
As they say in germany... bis später!