Saturday, July 30, 2011

In the Past 3 weekss...

I really don't know where time goes..its crazy.. I remember when I was at the Rotary Conference in the beginning of june(miss all you guys SO much), and thinking "ughhh about 5 more weeks I have to wait!" But now im sitting here, and I have one day left. One more day to eat delicious food (no offense mom), to be with my host parents, to be with Rafa's friends, to semi-understand a language that I didnt know before I came here, and just to be in this beautiful place. I feel like I've adjusted, I've learned so much of the language, the culture, and I feel like I somewhat fit in, and of course its time to go. At the same time, I miss sleeping innnnn, seeing faces I know, and hearing a conversation that I don't have to pretend I understand. Being here makes me want to take my friends and family here SO bad, to show them what I've seen and how much fun it is here! To sum it all up, the biggest lesson I learned was that everyone is the same. No matter where your from, what language you speak, where you've been,  we all have so much in common. Laughter and dancing is something I've shared the most here... when I'm at the disco and dancing with Rafa and her friends, or laughing about something funny with Rafa, I forget we are from different countries, or that there is even a language barrier, its a beautiful thing.

So, to sum this adventure up, in the past three weekss I...
*went to 6 cities :Frankfurt, Regensburg,Nuremberg, Neumarkt, Erlangen, and Munich!
*met/hung out with a girl named Mika, from Argentina, she is living with one of Rafa's friends for a year..we're the same age, and we were both in the same boat, so it was nice to have her :)
*met a girl from spain that was staying with a family friend of Rafa
*met Rafa's adopted, beautiful, ethiopian relatives in Munich
*met/hung out with a boy from chili who knew my host brother from Rotary cause they both spent a year together in the US and were re-uniting! :D
*tried alottt of traditional German food
*tried German beer
*spent wayyy to many euros..
*saw harry potter in english/3-D
*met a boy from Argentina that spent a year in Australia with Rotary
*got the most exercise I've ever gotten in a three week period..
*been on every form of transportation I think possible
*learned alot of German!
*went to discosss(lovee!)
*met a cousin and aunt of Rafa from Munich, her cousin was in the USA for a year with Rotary(he speaks beautifulll english), they shared they're crazyy traveling stories/experiences, and we all laughed and talked for hourss
*learned that Germans are very friendly and warm people :)
*wore mostly fall clothes cause of the weatherr!
*got sun-burnt! (the one day it wasnt raining...haha)

...and the biggest thing I did the past three weeks was learn. I learned that if I can accomplish about a month by myself, in the un-known..that I can do anything! Once you experience one place, you want to go EVERYWHERE! This is my 3d time out of the country, but being much farther (and on my own) than the other two times is exciting, and I'm already planning the next place I want to go! It just seems so easy now, and I know that I can do it :)

Its now Sunday here (12:05am), and I leave tomorrow :( 3 weeks was the perfect amount of time. After the first week I was getting so emotional and thinking, "how am I going to leave these people?!" but, now that time has passed, I am definently ready to be home, in my bed, with my family...and with Rafa :) I can't wait to see what America is like for her! Her life was verryyy different for me, so I know it will be a change!

I will be back one day...I can promise you that.

Auf Weidersehen Deutschland<3

Monday, July 25, 2011


The one thing alot of people don't realize is how hard this process is. Think about are literally going to another country, living with people you've never met,trying your best to communicate, and its up to YOU to become friends with a stranger, fit into their lifestyle, and hope that everything works out!?!? thats crazy!! When I was about to land on my way here..thats what I thought. and I freaked out. I give MAJOR props to Ari Carr..idk HOW a year in another country can be easy!

Some people  told me before I left to "have fun on my vaca"..well..newsflash..its not like a vaca! Yes, its so much fun, and I dont want to leave! But... trying to fit into someone elses world, doing what they do, eating what they eat, getting on their schedule, trying to be friends with their friends, and going the places they go...its challenging!

I've learned that people here are very structured..I look for sleep whenever I can...cause I'm lackingg..hahah! They never sleep in too late here, but they don't mind staying up into weeee hours of the morningg having a gooodd timee..they are always on time..if they say they will be there bet they will. People are always helping eachother out, no matter what it is..which is nice to seee. Another thing is that every public facility here is CLEAN...haha I ask all the time "Is this new?" "did they just build this?"  cause they don't trash stuff like you see in america! I like to think that I've adapted here, but I'll always do something a little different than the natives, but thats perfectly okay :) I'm learning the language, its not that hard, and everyday I'm embarassing myself by throwing a phrase or some of the little input I can share in This whole thing is a huge learning experience in every aspect. Rotary prepares you the best they can about how different life will be, but in the moment you're too excited to think about the reality of everything new!

All in all, this is a HUGE learning experience for everyone learn what you can accomplish on your own, what you can teach others, what they can teach you..and the biggest thing I've learned is that someone thousands of miles from home is just like me! I think EVERYONE should do something like this if they have the opportunity :) I can't wait to show Rafaela what my life is should be fun!


Friday, July 22, 2011

What I've been up to..

Hello! I'm sorry for the lack of photos, the only way I can do it is if i use my host-mothers comp, and she takes it to work and its hard to find the time! I have done and seen so much, its crazy!

Well, in the first week, I went into the town of Neumarkt with my host mother while Rafa was at school. Its beautiful!!! It is kindof like i pictured, but better. The buildings have flowers in the windows, and they are each a different color, and look so pretty together :) The town has a huge church called St. Johannes, or St. John. At the veryyyy top, is a balcony which overlooks the wholee city. My host mother said "do you want to go up there?" and I responded with a "yes!! but how?" and she winked at me and told me to follow her. We then went to the like "office" of the preist, where people arrange meetings, do paperwork for him, and so on...My host mother, maresa, got us the key to the balcony and explained it was forbidden, but today was our lucky day! we climbed atleast 12 or 13 flights of stairs, and when I thought I couldnt climb any longer...there it was! A absolutely beautiful view! I could'nt believe my eyes. I stood there and took it all in, and enjoyed my moment on the balcony :) Neumarkt is a combo of the old and new. The buidlings are old, and date back to many years ago, but the stores are so modern, and theres a lot of shopping to do! They have an H&M, boutiques, jewelry stores, bakeries, restaurants, ice cream shops, clothing stores...everything!

The next place I went was Regensburg with  Rafa. We took a train after she came home from school, and let me tell you...the trains are fun! haha..they remind me so much of harry potter..they're really clean, and some of them have two levels, bathrooms on them...they're really nice! Regensburg is the famous city containing "the dom", which is the St. Petersburg is soo massive and intricate, its nuts! I couldnt even get far enough back to get a full picture, cause its so huge! Regensburg has brick roads, veryyy narrow alley ways full of shopping, restaurants, and history. I walked on the famous Danube pedestrian bridge that I was googling images of a few months ago... :) Regensburg has so much to do, our few hours spent there was not nearly enough! I hope to go back again soon!

The next place I went was Nuremberg. This is where my host father works, so he was our tour guide! It is similar to Regensburg, but theres alot more history here. There is a famous road the Nazi's marched on that he showed me, and A castle called Kaiserburg, and the view from Kaiserburg overlooking Nuremberg was breath-taking...also, the famous artist Albrecht Durer's house still stands in Nuremburg, and we went inside! He was one of the most famous painters in europe during the 14-1500's. I've been to Nuremberg 3 times once to see the town, once to shop with rafa, and the next time to see harry potter :) It was in english, and 3-D! woo! the movie theater has like 5 levels, cafes in it...its crazy! def not like americaa.

This past tuesday, me and Rafa went to Erlangen, and stayed with my host brother, its where he goes to college. The town is hugeeee! and has a mac store :D and just so much to do! It kindof reminds me of wilmington(but 20x bigger) because half the population is college students. My host brother, Nico, explained that 30,000 people go to his college, but its different, its like spread out, into different campuses, because theres sooo many students! Me and rafa went out that night with Nico and some of his friends, and had a good time :D

That is basically what I've bee up to! tomorrow morning, me and rafa are leaving for Munich to stay with her cousins and seeing the city saturday and all day sunday! I'm sooo excited!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Things I've learned..

Some things I've learned since I've been in Germany...
-The only type of bottled water here is matter where you go
-Your legs and your bike is the most common type of transportation here
-If someone does you a favor, no matter how big or how small, you buy them a gift
-People here are very independent and responsible, at a young age,they cook, clean, and take care of their things
-Everything is clean and well-taken care of here...which is nice! haha
-The trains are so fun! they are above ground, and theres 2 levels to sit in :D
-"Kaput" means  "no good"
-that I should have taken my german phrase book out wayyyyy before the other night...hahaha
-Alot of the houses look the same, but Rafa thinks they look different!
-That Neumarkt is beautiful, and the veiw from the Wolfstein castle(Volfstein) is unrealll
-That I miss home much, but then I realize I will always have my family, but I may never always have these people I'm with here :/
-That the people here are very friendly, and you always get a "hallo", when you see someone on the street
-The food is SO GOOD! They eat very healthy, and fruits and veggies are like 90% of their diet!
-That they loveeeeee hispanic music as much as I do<3<3<3
-That they get the words "laugh" and "love" in english confused..hahaha!
-That they like to dance and have a good timeee!
-That Italian owned ice cream shops are verryyyy popular..and delicious!

...everyday I find myself learning something new, some German words, phrases, some type of food, a store, a tradition...always something new..

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

a walk means a hike...

Hallo!! When i first arrived here, I got off the plane, followed the crowd through customs, and then there was Rafa and her dad with a sign saying "welcome lindsay!" We then sat down, while Gehard got some coffee, and we talked a little...then it was time for the 3 hour drive...but I slept most of it so I was good :DWhen i arrived to Rafa's house, I got a tour, theres 4 floors, its veryy modern, and just so different..but I like it! Its very cozy, even though its so different..i then proceeded to take a 3 hour nap (sorry everyone who told me to stay awake to help with the time change!) hahaha..but Im adjusted to the time change :D
I started to unpack my bags..and then I had a little moment of panic..Im in another hit friends or native english one I places i recognize...and right when I was feeling down, Rafa walked in my room with her lederhosen(traditional german dress) on, and said " you want to go to a bavarian festival?" "yes!!" i was just what I needed!
So, we went to her friend Anny (anna) 's house, and other girls, Anna, Nina, Laura, Kersie, and Mika, who was an exchange student from Argentina, and  a fellow english speaker, met with us :D
We started to walk and walk and walk, and all the girls were in heels, and their outfits, and we walked about 300km( 3 miles) to the festival!
When we got there,it was just as i expected! There was a crazy band who was singing loud and the lead singer was stomping his foot, and all the people were clapping, jumping, falling, laughing,  and clanking their HUGEEEEE beersteins... I met alot of Rafa's friends, and they were all very nice! :)
The next day, tuesday,  i slept in :) Maresa, (my host mother) took me into the town of Neumarkt,and it is sooo pretty! all the buildings that the stores are in are different colors with flowers in the windows, and we got ice cream from an italian-owned shop..SO GUTTT! then, me and Rafa climbed to the top of the mountain to the castle Wolfstein (volfstein, wolf and stone it means) , the castle is in my album on the top of the mountain! The view was unreal!! You feel like you are ontop of the world, yet you feel so small, and its a good feeling, i could stand there for hourss!
And today, I went to schoool..that was very interesting...Rafa has shcool from 8 to 1 every day except tuesday. We rode the bikes, and its so funny to see business men in suits, and women in very nice work clothes..on  a bike..haha..but EVERYONE takes a bike here..its crazy! and we are like part of traffic..we have to wait at the light, for it to turn green, along with the cars! We arrived, and the school has like a parking garage..for bikes only... haha..its so weird!
But, then, we went to Rafa's classes, and I sometimes knew what was going on, and in spanish I knew! that was the easiest class to understand! The teachers really didnt notice me..except for the spanish teacher..but I guess  thats better than "HERES OUR EXCHANGE STUDENT EVERYONE!" ...right?
So, I decided that Im only to go on mondays, wednesdays, and fridays :)
Its 1:00am, so I better get to bed! tomorrow, we meet up with Rafa's brother, Nico, and were going to a concert in Nuremberg! :D
Guten Nacht! :D chow!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A little bit of everything

Sorry, I lied! There actually may be a few more posts before i leave :) 

Today, I skyped with my host sister Rafaela. We skyped for an hour and 30 mins..prob the longest I've skyped with her so far! At first its "how are you?" "what did you do today?"..then after that, its  questions galoreee!!! "what do you do on weekends usually?" "whats your/our curfew?" I find myself laughing alot when I skype with her because we tend to play pictionary, since its hard to understand what eachother says or is trying to explain sometimes.Therefore, i find myself drawing, motioning with my hands, or getting my german phrasebook out (I pronounce it wrong, so I'm back to square one), so to say the least, our skype convos are 10% talking, 90% laughing :) 

My mother is a high school history teacher, a sweet woman that I've also "met" via skype. She doesnt speak too much english, but enough to make small talk with me. I learned today that she plays tennis on a team on the weekends and loves it! A few weeks ago, when I last skyped with Rafaela, her mother  came in the room up to where Rafaela was sitting and said "Hi! You are welcome as our daughter in our home" she gave me a big smile, and I thanked her and said the same about Rafaela...she seems so sweet!

My father seems like a very smart man. For one, hes a business economist. I also "met" him on skype, and after he said "how are you?" he went on and on about the history of his town and wars and battles, and something about the He knows sooo much!  I hope to learn alot from him :)

I also have two brothers. Ones name is christian and he is 26. Hes on his own and hes a lawyer, so I do not think I will be meeting him. My other brother, Nicolas,  is 19. He speaks english beautifullllyyyy! haha! when I first got my host family, I called the house phone and my host mother picked up, and when she heard my english, she handed the phone to Nicolas. He is very smart, along with Rafaela. He plays piano, tennis, and he just left for college in May, but comes home some weekends, so I'll get to meet him :) 

Another thing i forgot to menchion! When I made that first phone call to my family, Rafaela was on a trip, but Nicolas informed me Rafaela would be in school until July 29th, and I panicked! I instantly thought "HOW in the world is this going to work?!! She can't miss school and I have to leave for college august 25th!"  3 weeks is the minimum amount you HAVE to do in your country and vice -versa. So after talking to Rafaela, she said I could go to school with her for fun! oh boy! Then my next thoughts were "Are they gonna think I'm weird?" "Are they not gonna like me cause I'm American?" "Are they gonna talk about me in German?" ahhhh!!! But, like everything else about this trip, I'm realizing, this will be yet another way to experience Rafaela's lifestyle, her friends, teachers, classes, EVERYTHING. 

So, Im trying to calm my nerves day by day, and focus on all the things I'm looking forward to :) 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The beginning...

Hello! :)
As most of you know, I am embarking on an adventure to Germany this summer. I plan on blogging on here everyday so I can share with everyone what Im going through! 
 I find alot of people ask me why Im doing this, why I want to travel to another country alone,living with strangers, not being able to communicate that well..well,when its put that way, it sounds horrible! I know Ill be confused, a little nervous, feeling alone at times..but thats the beauty of this. I feel as though I will grow up alot and learn alot about myself. I have to give alottt of credit to Ariana Carr! She's the one who told me about this! :D (thanks girl ;D). I see the wonderful time shes having in Brazil and its making me soooo excited! 
 This past weekend, I went to a rotary conference with inbound(international teens that have been living here the past year), and outbound(students who are going out on exchanges this summer,includes me!) rotarians and we stayed at a hotel together in Titusville. There were 13 of us, Terra, Stephanie, Katie, Becca, Tim, me, and Ellen were all americans going out this summer, and the inbounds were Fernanda from Argentina, Eray from Turkey, Euginio from Mexico, Stefanie from Germany, Ludan from France, Maria from Denmark, and Zoya from India. At first, it was a little awkward, trying to understand them with their accents and finding conversation topics. But the last night in the hotel, I looked around, all 13 of us hanging out in one room, playing "never have i ever" and "truth or dare", laughing, dancing, and taking pictures, I realized, "wow, I have SO much in common with all these teens, its amazing!" I found that someone from across the globe listens to the same music and laughs at the same things I do! So cool!
 It really made me excited for the friendships I'll make in Germany, but also I feel sad, cause I had to watch some tearful good-bye's after the conference, since some of them will never see each-other again :( Knowing I may never see my host family again after my experience, makes me tear up sometimes, even though I haven't even gone yet! But, the biggest emotion Im feeling right now is excitementt!!!! I leave July 10th, but Ill actually get there July 11th in the morning. My host sisters name is Rafaela, and she will come back with me to the states :) Ill be coming home August 1st, and she will be here until the 21st!! :D
  Well, this will probably be the last post until I leave for Germany!! :) Auf Wiedersehen! :D