This is my documentation for my family and friends so that we can keep in touch while I spend a year half way around the world. I will do my best to document the good times, the bad times, the happy, the sad. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In the Spirit of Thanksgiving...

First off I am thankful to have my parents, my mom for always supporting me and the choices that I make, and for allowing me to hop on a plane and go half a world away for an entire year. I am also really grateful to have my dad, for always being honest and pushing me to make my dreams a reality. If it weren't for them I wouldn't be the same person that I am today, and most of all I wouldn't be living one of my biggest dreams if they hadn't let me come to Germany. Naturally, I can't forget my sister, yes we have our moments like all siblings do but you have always been there for me; even when you are ranting on about your stories of you when you were younger, I am still thankful to have you in my life. Second, would have to be my host family, they opened up their house for me before they even knew me, they have taken the time to show me what Germany is all about. I couldn't ask for a more perfect host family and I am utterly grateful that they have allowed me to be a part of their lives. Third all the people that supported me back home, friends, teachers and just friends of the family. From the bottom of my heart thank you for good memories and most of all for the encouragement. Fourthly, I am thankful for my new life here in Germany and all the friends that I have made, because you guys are what have, and will make this year unforgettable. Lastly, the internet. What would I do without you? Being able to keep in contact with people back home and well yea thats all. I wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving! Eat up :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rules and Top Ten Reasons for Studying Abroad

Rule #1: It's not a good idea to speak English in public, and if you decide to do so be prepared to encounter some odd situations.
Last Saturday I went to a soccer game in München with some Americans that are studying abroad here and well they couldn't speak German and it's nice to be able to speak your mother tongue every once in a while so naturally we spoke English. I never knew that doing a simple thing such as speaking English was seen as an invitation for strangers to come up to you and just start asking you random, off the wall questions. Not saying that this will always happen but it is a good possibility that it will happen especially when in a bigger city.
Rule #2: Expectations aren't exactly your friend... don't be fooled
If there is one thing that being here as taught me I would have to say that being flexible it one of them. It's always really easy to just expect people to react a certain way but at the end of the day it is and will always be better to just go with the flow. Expect anything expect the unexpected. The people, culture and custom are often times different and you can't really understand 'why?' but just go with it because that is just how it is.
Top Ten Reasons for Studying Abroad:
1. Learn a language in the country that it is spoken.
Studying abroad is the perfect way for you to becoming fluent in a language. Immersion is the only way to become fluent in a language and not to mention you don't have to memorize vocabulary list :)
2. Learn about yourself and gain independence.
Many people spend a lifetime trying to learn about themselves and fail to realize that sometimes in order to see yourself in a different light you need to change your surroundings and take a journey to a place that is different from what they are used to.
3. Traveling/Studying abroad is a life-altering experience!
Experiencing life abroad is truly an eye opening experience. You are able to think different due to the fact that you have seen the world through different eyes; which is far better than any movie, and magazing could ever portray.
4. Gain perspective on your own country and culture.
When the average American thinks about Halloween, the first thing that comes to mind is trick-or-treat. Do you know why Halloween is a holiday? Most don't, so it's ok but going abroad can aid you in learning so much about your own culture, things that you haven't even thought about before.
5. See the world (or at least a part of it).

There is so much to see in the world and yea you could take a week or two vacation to another country but when it comes to the differences in cultures you won't really be able to see that. Well, lets be honest here most tourist are trying to see as many sites as possible you aren't able to see just the every day to day life.

6. Make connections that can last a lifetime.
Everybody knows the saying "It's not what you got, it's who you know" and well the connections that are formed while on an exchange between your host family or even the friends that you make are connections that you have never been made had you not traveled to another country.
7. Resume builder.
In today's competitive work force it is always helpful to have a little something extra under your belt. Global unification is becoming increasingly important and companies seek people that are able to provide a positive working environment with people from other cultural backgrounds. Studying abroad shows that you have these qualities that they are looking for.
8. Experience hands-on learning.
The amount that is learned from from you actually being there and doing it yourself is so much more worthwhile than reading a book or watching a film; Instead of hearing about somebody else's experiences you get to form your own.
9. Programs work with any academic program.
There is a program that is perfect for you. Can't afford to miss a year of school? Then you can always do a summer program.
10. International travel and study are fun and exciting.
I think this one is pretty self explanatory.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oktoberfest und Orchester

So on the 2nd of Oktober I went with my host family to Oktoberfest because that was the last weekend that it would be going for this year. We drove to Munchen which is actually only like an hour away to my surprise and I got to see tons and tons of fields where they make beer. Pretty much it was like a HUGE carnival like yea beer was a part of it but I mean there was a lot more too it than that. Not everybody wears Ledershosen und Dirndls although a good amount of people do. I am glad that I was able to experience it, oh and the Bier tents aren't impossible to get into assuming that you are willing to wait a long time in line, and the line isn't even a line its more like a big bundle of people that are crowded together... I must say they are very dedicated because I know it had to be really sweaty standing there. There were tons of rides too but they are really, really expensive and there is no such thing as buying a day pass... it's kind of like the way that there are no refills (which sucks by the way).

The day after that I went to the Junior Classic Orchester (Orchestra) that plays here where I live and it was really nice, I enjoyed it alot and since I didn't have a violin yet the teacher let me use his.

On Sunday, Oktober 3, I went out with my host siblings. We went bowling and well I suck at bowling but it was fun.

Dienstag, Oktober 5, my host mother and I went to the Geigenbauer and I got a violin!

And now it has been a little bit over a month since I have been with my host family and well I think my German is getting better, I know that I can understand a lot more than I could before. Some days you feel awesome because you understand most things and then there are days when you feel like you haven't learned anything so it's pretty up and down.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Second Sunday in Bayern

Today was a good Sunday :) this morning I went in the city (well I live in the city but like in the center, I guess I should say) with a girl from my class. We walked part of the Donau which is the river than runs through my city and it was awesome and very pretty. For lunch I had some of the best pizza EVER. Eventually when I returned home me and my host parents went cycling and got some Italian Eis (ice cream) and es schmeckt gut :P and then we went sight seeing because there is tons to see where I leave. I saw a lot of old churches and I learned a lot. When we returned home I ate and I don't know what it's called but it was out of this world and then my host dad helped me with homework... which consisted of me reading outloud, saying what I thought it meant and then him telling me what it actually meant... it took over 30 minutes to read 2 pages :( but I learned the material and I guess that is all that matters. Anyways it is kind of late and I have school in the morning so Bis spaeter :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Schultüte und Schule

Yesterday my host family gave me a Schultüte or some call it a Zuckertüte either way I got one because well yesterday was my first day of German school :). I haven't opened it yet because it looks too pretty to open but all of the candy (that I can see anyways) are delicious because well lets just say that I have had way more than my fair share of candy while I was in Hedersleben.

So today was my first real day of school and well it was ok, school will always be school and it was just school in a different language basically. They speak so ridiculously fast like some of them I can understand but when they mumble there is just no hope. Today was more like rules for every class and what you should bring but in Geographie und Physik we actually talked about something. Oh and then in Sport we did play Fußball so that was fun. The locker rooms are really different because it is just one room and you just change no lockers or anything. Sport is only on Wednesday so you just bring your Sport clothes with you on Wednesdays it's not that bad. I could actually understand that teacher. I am kind of considering getting out of some of my classes because it seems that I am one of the only that have 15 classes here where are some others have like 10 or 7 or something but then I kind of want to experience all of school and it's not too much because they don't like expect me to write essays or anything so I think I will be fine but it is a thought. Daniela (my oldest host sister) will be going back from Egypt tomorrow and depending when I get out of school I might be able to go with my host dad to go pick her up in Munich, we shall see.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention, this morning I totally took the wrong bus to school, I totally figured it all out though but still it was a crazy morning and I got to school like 2 minutes before the bell rang. At least I know now, so hopefully that doesn't happen again any time soon. Servus

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Host Family

So I didn't really write about my host family last time but in a word they are amazing and I think they are the perfect match for me. I was greeted by Elke, Richard and Nicole at the trainstation in Regensburg and to my surprise it wasn't awkward at all (thank goodness). They are constantly speaking German to me which is a good thing and most of the time when I don't understand they just say it in another way but in German of course. Normally in the evening I walk the dog with my host dad but the evenings are normally free which is nice. Uh actually they have a Handy for me so YAY!

Well I don't know what else would be interesting but since today was my first day at school I think that I will talk a little bit about that ok so. We I have never felt as lost as I did today at the beginning when I had to go ask the secretary in broken German what my schedule was and other random need to know questions. In language camp there was always somebody there that could speak English if you get stuck when speaking German but here NO you pretty much just have to go with it because if not well nothing gets accomplished and there is nobody to ask questions for you. Anyways though there is a girl that sits beside me in class her name is Maria and she helped me the ENTIRE time because only understood probably 10% of what was going on so she would explain to me what was going on in German but I could understand. The teacher talked so fast it is insane like by the time I realize that I knew a word she said she is already in a whole different sentence. Not to mention the students talking I just sit there, and anybody that knows me knows that I love to talk well that has changed I still talk which I know what is going on but I don't think I have ever been so quiet in my life. Anyways even though the language was a no go the day was good. I got tons of books for all my classes, all fifteen, yes I said 15 and its whatever... for now. Oh I was hoaxed into introducing myself to the class and our Klass Lehrerin is also my English teacher so she said that I could speak in English also. So it was more like German sentence, Englisch sentence and so on but apparently I speak English too fast so they couldn't understand and I got blank stares... which is actually how I feel everyday here. My school is really nice it is modern and just like WOW. I shall post pictures later. I like the fact that people are willing to help and are really patient with me because well it's difficult not understanding what is going on but I know it will get better in time so I am not too worried about it. I will try and write more often about whatever and post pictures later too. Bis dann.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Another long update

I arrived at my host family's yesterday but I will make another post for that. I am just going to talk about my last weeks at language camp. In short language camp was a blast and went by quicker than I imagined. I made some friends and got a good foundation that I can build on this year.

27.8.10 Today we went to the Feuerwehr (fire station), who ever imagined that a fire station could be so fun. First they told us about what they do and all the jazz but later we went to two other cities and visited their Feuerwehr. The last one had some type of childrens program so there were tons of kids and this one in particular gave us a tour and attempted to practice his English. Before we returned to the Kloster the Feuerwehr treated us to Würstchen which were really good. Grammar is such a pain and it seems to be never ending, not to mention complicated. Just so happens that you need it in order to not sound like you are stupid anyways though it's going to take some time.

31.9.10 We went to a German BBQ and it was indoors and just very different from the BBQ's I have been to. After the game we watched a game of soccer it was the Americans vs. Germans. We won one of the games and the other we lost (by a point!)

2.9.10 Went to Halberstadt we went by train, which was a first for me made my stomach hurt but it was still awesome. I bought a new dictionary because I lost my other one. We got a tour of this old church can't remember the name of it but the tour was in all german and I understood most of it. I fried one of the fuses in my convertor. Opps. kind of random but its ok because there was an extra fuse.

4.9.10 A guy named Max came to talk to us from P.I. so we didn't have morning class (YAY) but we got homework (BOO). We have had alot of people from PI come to talk to us they all kind of say the same thing though haha. I am starting to become scared of going to school here like I probably won't be able to understand anything.

7.9.10 So there are only 3 days left here in Hedersleben and only one day of class left and tomorrow we have finals. I am currently sick and I didn't go to class today but Juli bought me some medicine and tea so that was nice. I did go to evening class although I was coughing the entire time and blowing my nose. I am pretty sure my nose is raw. It is weird knowing that I have almost being here for a month and it seems like just last week I was getting off a plane in Frankfurt.

8.9.10 The finals went well and I am very proud of my ability to make up stuff on the spot and I figure this will be a very useful ability throughout the year.

9.9.10 Madgeburg day we went to see one of Hundertwasser buildings and he is a very famous architect and the building looked like candy land or something. We got a tour of this big Dom called the Madeburger Dom and it was a big cathedral. After that we got to watch the Sachsen-Anhalt Government in action and well it was just very different that any government. Some people were eating, some were walking around, people were constantly going in and out of the room and this one guy was on his phone. Shortly after watching them we were able to wonder around and by that time it was almost 14:00 so the first place we went was to eat and I had a Döner and it was so amazingly good OMG!

10.9.10 Today was pretty much a free day in the morning we cleaned up our class and Juli said goodbyes she told every individual person something. She also handed out T-Shirts from PI, candy and a card that included three pictures and a certificate. I really enjoyed that class and now it's over but I definantely have some good memories. For dinner we have a medical dinner and it was out of this world. I am really nervous now about my german skills or lack there of but it's a little to late to get cold feet. There was a talent show at 20:00 but I wanted to run to the store so India and Jenny went with me. When we came back all the doors were locked and everybody was already in the AULA (the room that the talent show was held in) so we were stuck outside for like 20 minutes until this guy from the Feuerwehr who came to see the talent show came and he called somebody that was inside to open the door. But the talent show was still epic even though I was 20 minutes late to see it.

11.9.10 Had breakfast and then took a bus to Madgeburg and said goodbye to everybody which was weird because well I have been around them 24/7 for the last month. But I will get to see them again in Januar. Anyways I am kind of in love with the trains and I am wondering why there aren't more and better ones in America. I got to have a 6 hour train ride on the ICE :D