Friday, March 2, 2012

I was bored...and it was time for a new one...I guess

So, Hello.
       I spent every weekend this month in Berlin.  The first was leaving for italy, the next coming back, the next a Hard Rock Cafe visit and shopping, the next LEGO Land with my little host sister and the last was seeing Hugo, also with my little sister.   Sometimes Emilia can drive me nuts.  And by sometimes, I mean almost always.  So I started bribing her with the rare opportunity for the two of us to go on the train together and do something fun.  The best part is when she doesn't make it, I go anyway and do something else fun (like see a movie or something) and that's really fun too.  I've been doing a lot of the whole "go to school, come home, play games with Emilia or edit pictures, go to bed" and sleeping.  Man, Since September, I've been EXHAUSTED!!! And I get so much more sleep than I do in the US. Why?  Well, the distance from where I live to the next village is the distance from where I live in the USA (in between Harner Farm and the High School, in Stonebridge development) to Park Forest.  And because my luck is THAT great,  my friends live in a village about an hourish drive away.  Which means we are really only able to do things on weekends.  WHICH means I get to go to bed at 8 when I'm that exhausted!  Sometimes I go over to our neighbor's houses.  That's fun but still, I'm asleep before ten every night. Which is good seeing I have to get up between 5 and 6 for school.  This past week due to illness and testing, I only was at school one day this week.  Which was awesome, except for the fact I was sick the whole week.  So, awesome. Alright, that's all I really have to say! :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Did you miss me?

Hello friends!
       I realize it has been well over a month since I last posted.  So here I go!  Fast fill in!

       Christmas was a blast!  In Germany, they celebrate on Christmas Eve but we have to wait the entire day to open presents.  I must say, I prefer waking up and doing it better, even if ts a day later.  We had a goose for dinner with red cabbage and then headed to an afternoon church service in which I played Mary.  The 25th I called home and spent 3 hours on the phone while my family opened presents.  The 27th, Maxwell came for a week visit and was a hit with the family.  They asked when he'd be coming back.  Haha!  January weekends were busy, which was great.  I spent on in Frankfurt, one in Potsdam and one in Italy!  I gave a presentation about State College that went well and I'm glad to have it over with!  I got a Dirndl (the dress that is worn during Oktoberfest where guys wear liederhosen for those who don't know that that is) and I was very very excited when it arrived! I also spent a week and a half in an Elementary school that was so much fun!  January I went to the pool once a week followed by a trip to McDonald's.  I've eaten more McDonald's in Germany than in my entire life in America! On the 28th of February I flew to Milan, Italy for a week long visit with the Paynes.  I should say a week short visit because it went too fast.  I enjoyed a break from German food which is full of sandwiches, for every meal. (But Germans don't call them sandwiches, but bread.  Which I eat a lot of.  I really have had bread and water for dinner) I enjoyed Bacon, hot dogs, PB&J, Kraft Mac and Cheese, a Cheeseburger from Hard Rock Cafe, and home made Lasagna. We also had some handmade Raviolis and real Italian Pizza.  That's even a shortened list.  But (believe it or not) We did other things besides eat.   I slept in, watched movie IN ENGLISH, watched TV in ENGLISH, spoke ENGLISH, and visited Venice and Milan.   It was seriously the best week ever and gave me a wonderful break right in the middle of my exchange year.  I cried on the plane coming back because I just had SO MUCH FUN and didn't like that it ended so fast!  I still want to go back, and I got home two days ago.  Well, I'm halfway now.  If the second half goes as fast os the first, I'll be home in no time!  But its probably going to go faster seeing its a bit easier now that I'm fluent.  Alright, see you soon!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A little update (and a LOT of cheating)

Hello friends!  I've been again "busy" but thought I'd take time out of my "busy" life to write a blog post! I wrote one today on my iPad but then it got lost somewhere so now I get to rewrite it!  I have been making photo books in iPhoto every month and then ordering them.  This does two thinks.  A) documents my time here and puts my photos an preservable format and B) keeps my parents happy to see my pictures and share them.  If you find my mom, you might even get to see them too!  It also does a third thing: lets me cheat on blog posts.  Every day I write what I did in past tense, preserving thoughts and feelings as well with keeps my activities and and pictures organized.  

Last week: 

On Sunday I thought we had nothing planned but I could not be more wrong.  My host family took me to ride a train and see St. Nikolas.  It was cool and a great idea for children.  We then drove to a little Christmas Market where we walked around for a little bit.  On our way home, we stopped at an art gallery.  We stayed much longer than intended and Emilia and I were anxious to get home.  We got home, played some games, hung out, baked cookies and then went to bed.  A very fun day and packed full of German culture.  Monday I went to an AFS activity in which I watched a presentation on Malaysia.  It was very cool.  Tuesday was St. Nikolas day and we woke up to find our shoes filled with yummy treats.  We then went to Emilia’s school and enjoyed a cute little Christmas show.  Wednesday I was feeling sick and got to bed early!  Thursday I got my visa, went swimming, and enjoyed theater practice.  I had such a busy week.  Friday Emilia was at a sleepover, Sammy was due home very late, Sven was working overnight, and Edda was at her Mom’s.  Needless to say, it was quite and relaxing.  Absolutely perfect.  I went to bed and got ready for a full day Saturday.  Saturday we picked up Emilia and her friend Maxi and went to a Christmas Market.  When Emilia is around her friends she shows off.  This results in an annoying, crazy, horrible form of Emilia that leaves us all ready to kill her.  Now this combined with a tired Emilia was no picnic and Maxi was no picnic either.  What’s worse is I sat in between them in the car.  At least the Christmas Market was cool and set in older times.  I enjoyed some almonds and looking around.  We made Angle ornaments and then headed to the theaters to see Puss in Boots.  We returned home and collapsed.  It was a fun day and we all got to sleep smoothly! 

This week so far:

Sunday morning Emilia went over to Annette’s to play with her grandson, Sven went to work, and Edda stayed with her mom.  Sammy was reading in church so we went to support her and then came back and enjoyed the quiet.  We spent the day relaxing until there was a problem with the train and Sven had to come home early with Edda.  No more quiet girls day for us! Monday I only had 4 classes at school and was home early.  I wasted time on Facebook, at snacks, and napped.  It was beautiful.  That night we went to Theater practice.

Wow, that was easy!  I'm currently awaiting a package from my mom and grandma that I thought would arrive today.  I think now that its the holiday season (or as they say in Germany: Christmas season) mail is a bit slower.  I got my Grandma's christmas card today and my Aunt Julie sent me a Christmas Email.  Its not the cute Baby Pictures and the endless letters from people I've never met but my parents know but I'm very happy to have that part of Christmas still.  Well, I have Theater practice in two hours.  I could A) take another nap B) work on sending out a photo email C) nap.  Hmm

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I wish I could say "I've been too busy" but I just can't

Hello and welcome to my long overdue blog post! I promised myself I would blog every week but I haven't and I'm sorry. I'm also sorry for any poor English you discover while reading any of my blog posts. My English (and German) are truly horrible at this point and my brain wants me to speak and type in a mixture of both. So the past month...

My host mom turned 40 and had a big birthday party. It included lots and lots of cleaning and bed switching (luckily I got to stay put but Sammy slept in my bed for a night too) The day after the party, I went to Berlin to visit a friend of mine in Berlin. I met him through AFS and he's American. We went to McDonald's (because we wanted American food and it was our best option) and we spoke English. It was nice complaining to someone who understands the complaints and knows that they aren't real complaints it's just everything is so different. We compared notes which was nice and had a fun day.
Then I went to school everyday and followed PSU news daily. The next week my family and I went back to the Zoo we had already been to. The that week was BREATH TAKING as it always seems to be. My entire family went to church and I had my first German communion which was different. My church in America does Grape Juice, what a fantastic idea.

On Thanksgiving my class took a field trip to Berlin to watch movies in English. I saw Arthur Christmas and had a great Thanksgiving. Now onto the best part. German Christmas Season. It is fantastic! I went to a market (there are lots and lots more to go to) and it was beautiful! My host family also took branches from a Christmas tree and put them in a vase. Then we decorated them with little ornaments. I loved it. After making it, my family went to support my little host sister and host dad in a little play the put on in our church. The next day, I made Thanksgiving dinner, BY MYSELF, and did a pretty great job. I'm still proud of myself.

So now my little sister is cranky (yay fun night!) and I have two hours before I am socially allowed to go to bed. It's been a good month. My mom also sent me some screen shots of Modern Family and The Middle so I've been able to get a taste of home whenever I need it. Time sure is FLYING!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trick or Treat? No Neither is not an option!!!!

Week 7 started with a trip to a zoo. We drove to one near Berlin. It had few live animals but a Dinosaur Garden with a Volcano and a huge carnival type place. I ha a bunch of fun with Bumper Cars and small spinning rides that made me sick. I came home exhausted and was in bed, sick at 7:48pm. I stayed home from school the next day with Sammy, both of us sick and tired. We watched TV and hung out. A very nice day.

Wednesday my Host Father, Emilia, Edda and I all went swimming. We went to a pool in which was salt water instead of chlorine. It was super warm and super wonderful. They had a beautiful fountain outside and it was s blast. I had a great time.

Saturday came and I went and got some Horse Back Riding lessons. What an adventure! I was thrown off my horse and just got right back on and have a few more times in which I had to stop my horse from flipping out. It was scary but luckily I did not find myself too hurt.

I also received a package from my mom with movies, TV shows, winter clothes and lots of food. I was super happy and it made my “I miss America” blues subside. I was pretty upset about the thought of no Halloween but I'm headed to a Halloween party tonight with an older neighbor and that should be fun. Usually I'd turn down the party but because it will be older people but I think my chances of being the only sober one is very slim. I have some candy corn to share (I don't like the stuff but it's great for atmosphere) and will be dressing up tonight (who knows what yet) so at least I'm getting something close to my favorite holiday! I'm super pumped. This weekend was surprisingly warm. Sorry for sending our coldness towards State College but I hope you have a wonderful White Halloween and be sure to send me pictures! I just LOVE Halloween costumes!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Week 6

Week six started with a trip to “Kletter Wald” in M├╝ritz. It was a place in which offered multiple different high rope courses that included rope ladders, zip lines, thin bridges, wires to walk across, and swinging foot holds to walk across. It was a blast and I was sore from holding onto ropes with my arms and climbing such difficult obstacles. I was very pleased I had bought some gloves! I had an absolute blast and was very happy. We stopped at a little country store and restaurant. It was very cute and awesome for souvenirs!

Monday school started back up again and I was determined to fully participate. Thinking my language development had come a long way and equipped with school supplies, I had the fast realization that I didn’t understand all but 10 words in each class. I was, however, given some 7th grade German homework by my German teacher which proved very tough. My French/English teacher made me level one German sheets which were much more manageable but just as challenging! She was an awesome help and gave me something to do other than read on my iPad. It was also helping me figure out the German language and was neat because I wasn’t learning the same curriculum as I did in my German class in the US. Very cool, and a great week. I also had my first conversation this week. It was about Harry Potter and Breakfast and was in German. I was so happy.  

My host family also welcomed to baby guinea pigs that were born to one of the ones they already owned. It was very exciting and every day we went to check on them. We will keep them only if they are girls. We don’t want anymore babies so no boys allowed! Very exciting. Friday night we went to a Laternenfest where honestly I was to oldest kid there. We walked around our village behind a fire truck with homemade paper lanterns that were lit either by candles or special electric lights. We finished with a hugh bonfire and party where there was waffles, french fries, wurst, and steak. There were also plenty of alcoholic drinks, hot wine, and soda. It was a blast (but a tad chilly out). I had a great time and enjoyed a little hot wine to warm up. The next morning, there was frost on the ground! Brr! 

After a late breakfast, Emilia and I went to a family friend’s house where we cleaned their horse and rode it from Kunow to Beckenthin. It also was a lot of fun. I rode Tamera, the small horse, there while Emilia walked along and then we switched on the way back. It was again, a blast! It was a crazy week but it went fast and then there was my month and a half point! My German is improving and that is good. I had a bit of homesickness Friday afternoon but as all my homesickness did, it passed.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Berlin Abenteuer!

So I just got back from Berlin. First of all I love that it only took a simple train ride to get to Berlin. It's great how easy it was to get there and how casual it was being there. My sister kept saying "what's touristy that would be fun to show you?" haha! It was great.

So for a while I had planned with friends to go October 11th to go to Berlin. One of them was sick so I went with just one. That was fun but the weather wasn't amazing. It was literally the only day I have been here that it has RAINED and I mean RAINED. Lucky me right? She took me to the Ritter Sport store and to a HUGE book store, where I bought Harry Potter 6 in German. She took me to The Brandenburger Tur and Checkpoint Charlie, where I got to see the Berlin Wall. That was awesome. We walked around a lot, in the rain, and ate at Subway. You know how Subway always has that same strong smell every time you walk in? Well so do German Subways. I shut my eyes and imagined being back in State College at a Subway there. Then I met back up with Samantha, my host sister, and we made the adventure to her grandparent's apartment. We got lost. Very lost. We looked outside the street train and saw forest. That was bad. You shouldn't see forest in a city, typically. We made it, and right before it got really dark. We originally planned to go to a movie at midnight but decided we didn't want to get lost. We were asleep before 11 so maybe it was a good idea.
The next morning, super pumped, my Host Grandma told us all of the places Samantha HAD to take me. Once we got into the heart of Berlin, we went to see the Neptune Fountain and look inside a church. Churches here are BEAUTIFUL but after four or so I've noticed most are the same looking, except the Cathedral I went in. That was amazing, breath taking really. If I sat in a service there, I wouldn't be able to pay attention. I'd literally be staring at the ceiling, mostly because it's amazing.
We were both happy that it was a beautiful sunny day. Our next mission were some new shoes for Sammy. She had only brought heels and her feet hurt. Our dad had warned her before we left but being the typical teenager, she didn't listen. We found some shoes in Alexa, a HUGE mall like building. It was in H&M where we found some cheap, nice, flat shoes. On our way out, we ran into a Build-A-Bear. The five year old Emma inside me jumped up and down. We made a bear named Felix. He has a shirt that says "I love Berlin" It was a blast and Samantha promised not to tell anyone. She laughed at me the entire time and took pictures. We had fun. We went to the Cathedral I was talking about and it was amazing. It was free for me (yay for being under 18!) but Samantha had to pay 4 Euros. Upon leaving she expressed that it was 4 Euros well spent. I believe it was called Dom. Pronounced Dome. It had a big Dome but the signs said "Dom" and had "Cathedral" in italics underneath it. I am throughly confused. So the sanctuary was breath taking. The Organ was so amazing, with paintings and statues and gold details all around. The dome was magnificent and the entire church was the most beautiful church I ever saw. I was so taken away. Samantha lead me down stairs where they had a whole ton of caskets of famous people in History for Germany. We're talking really old caskets here. Most were very intricate and gold, with intricate mini statues all over. It was incredible. I did not take any pictures, mostly because I wouldn't want someone taking a picture of my casket. One thing I was weirded out by was, those people are still in there. It's not just an empty casket. Weird but interesting. Now when I read all the plaques I regreatibly had no idea who the people were (Sorry Mrs. Saylor and Ms. Delafield) except I did recognize "Nameless Princess" and wondered if it was a famous one that was there or just "a" nameless princess or "the" nameless Princess. I'm not sure. These plaques were in German and my reading is much worse than my speaking, which isn't saying much. Sammy translated most things for me. Another name I recognized was in a rather ordinary casket. It was a simple, dark gray rectangle. Otto Von Bismark said the plaque. Now I thought it was incredible when I was near the Berlin Wall, but this was amazing.
We then walked up a BILLION stairs and got super sweaty by the time we reached the top. The staircases kept getting smaller and smaller until we reached a spiral staircase in which was steep and got smaller and smaller as you climbed. At the top was the base of the Dome. The view of Berlin was INCREDIBLE. That was worth the climb, even with my cardboard build a bear box and back pack.
We walked around for a bit, wondering what to do next. I can't remember what all we did but it wasn't too exciting. We went back to Alexa and looked for a poster for Sammy's boyfriend. We looked at a lot of scarves (Sammy's obsession) and rings (my obsession). We looked a movies and shoes and what not. It was nice bonding time with Sammy. We talked a lot (in English) and it was just nice walking around. We decided to go see a movie and went into the Kino, deciding to see the next movie showing. It was "Kill the Boss" or as Americans know it "Horrible Bosses" It was AMAZING! I didn't see it when it was in America so seeing it new and fresh was amazing. Now that I'm understanding a bit more, it was so much fun. Sammy was laughing more though, getting all of the jokes. A few times she had to lean over and translate a joke for me. That was great.
We headed back to her Grandparent's apartment, not getting lost this time. We got there and they were excited to hear about our day. I was excited to go to bed. They enjoyed hearing about Build-a-Bear and Samantha enjoyed telling them. Having not eating lunch and not feeling like eating dinner, they were feeding me cut up fruit and were insisting. Something about Grandparents it just great right? It was amazing being around them, especially because I miss my grandparents so much. We watched TV and I finally had to excuse myself to bed. I am just so tired all the time without waking all over a city and climbing a billion stairs!
The next morning (which was this morning) we went shopping, agreeing to meet Oma and Opa at a Chinese restaurant. We went shopping and Samantha picked out an outfit for me. It included a scarf, gray shirt, gray sweater, and stretchy dark jeans. It was comfortable and looked great. I also found myself a new ring. Its super fun! We had lunch and headed home, missing our train. The next train was 45 minutes away so naturally we went shopping. We walked around and looked a rings and scarves. I found another ring I loved but resisted, and I'm starting to regret it. We got on our train and headed home.
I had a blast!