Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Winding down

So my time here is drawing rather quickly to an end.I've been meaning to write for a while, but somehow just haven't found the time. Lot's of things have happened since I last wrote. My class threw me a surprise going away party, I've been to three other going away parties, I've had my own going away party, I've seen my rowing "family" here for the last time, there have been lots of tears and laughs, and one of the girls in my class here has even come back from her exchange year in the U.S.
As I think about the fact that I'll be flying back in three days it doesn't seem real. Ith's funny though becausse in a way my mind is preparing me for going back to the U.S. Sometimes I think of a word in German and then it just comes out of my mouth in English (ok so this does happen vice versa as well).
As I think back on this year and that it will soon be over, an overwhelming sense of thankfulness sweeps over me. I am so thankful to have had this chance. It has been and continues to be an amazingly rewarding experience.
My advice to any new exchange students or exchange students to be is just to put your all into it. You'll get even more back.

The 25 things I've learned in Germany

1. I'm more of a child than some people ever have been.
2. I'm more of an adult than some people ever will be.
3. A new life can be built in less than a year.
4. Rowing is my constant and the people I row with will always be family to me.
5. Riding is still important and makes me just plain happy.
6. I can ski.
7. Skiing is fun.
8. To be a "normal" and "abnormal" teenager.
9. Life isn't always about the big turning points. A lot of time it's the little things that make the difference.
10. I'm lucky.
11. The thing I find most in my good friends is support.
12. I may be one of the least cooridinated people on this earth, but I can finally scull!
13. There is a point where nothing is embarrassing anymore.
14. German stubbornness has new meaning.
15. The more you have to say goodbye the harder it gets.
16. It's not saying goodbye that's hard, it's going on living normally without those people afterwards. Sometimes just knowing that you can and will live without them.
17. I am religious.
18. In order to find yourself you might have to temporarily lose yourself (or part of yourself) first.
19. I'm not a "typical" American in German terms.
20. I have a very German family in the U.S.
21.American's are not as concentrated on outward appearance as our soceity thinks. Germans are (generally) much worse in this sense.
22. Handwashing and disinfecting wounds are not normal healthcare or everyday procedures in all "modern" countries.
23. I'm sorry that I've lost contact with so many people, and I won't let it happen again.
24. I'm happy in Germany and in the U.S.
25. The more you put into something the more you'll get out of it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

4 weeks

So, it's finally that point.
I fly back to the U.S. in exactly 4 weeks.
It feels like an eternity since I've seen my room, my school, and my friends.
Yet at the same time it feels like yesterday that I stepped off that plane, and came into my school knowing hardly any German.
Neither of them are exactly true, but I feel as though both of them are reality. They are my reality.
It's hard to think that I'll have to leave. I really have a second life here. My own life.
I've had a good time the whole time I've been here (with the exclusion of the whole biking accident).
I've felt like I've been a part of my family here and an integrated friend in school, at rowing, and with the other exchange students for a long long time.
There is something about this last month, however, where everything has just seemed to be going so perfectly. I don't even have to think twice when I do something. A new sense of belonging.
I can finally scull here for example. I'm getting used as an example for the younger kids on proper rowing form. I get comments now from my coach like "You can really scull now" and "I'm pleasantly surprised by how much you've improved!"
I can finally ride European style. I get comments from my trainer there too like "You ride correctly now" [correctly European that is ;) ]
Today one of my friends at rowing told me that it's a shame I have to go so soon.
I don't know how I can just pack up and leave, how I can give all this up. I've truelly built my life here and to have it seemingly deminish over night is a terrifying thought.
I know that I'll still have contact with my friends here and the other exchange students, but it's just horrifying knowing I worked so hard for all this and then just having to give it up.
Yes, I can come back and visit, but will I have the same relationship with my friends here?
I know that when I come back to the U.S. I'll be happy to see my friends, to be back in a school I like, but at the moment the thought of coming back is crushing.
I know, however, that going back to the U.S. is inevitable. All I have left to do is live up every moment I have left here, and that is just exactly what I intend to do.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


So to put it shortly I took over 400 pictures of Rome although I only spent 3 nights there............
I'm not uploading all of them to the blog, but I'm planning on a pretty big number.
I'm also not going to be making captions for all of them.
I will, however, just start out by giving you all list of all the stuff we did/saw there:

-->Roman Forum and Palatines

-->Pantheon (twice)
Rafael's grave

-->Military Parade in front of the Capitol(wasn't planned, just happened to be the day we arrived)
Special Forces Unit
Horse Unit :)
The Capitol

-->Piazza Navona

-->Vatican City-Vatican Museums, Sistene Chapel, St. Peter's Cathedral
The pine cone courtyard
The Octoganol courtyard
The birth and death of Jesus, Michaelangelo's first and only signed piece
The dome of St.Peter's is high enough to fit the Statue of Liberty inside of it with 90 plus feet to spare....
Swiss Guards
St.Peter with the keys to Heaven

-->St.Angel's Castle (I'm not sure that's translated correctly, oh well)

-->Lots of churches (most of which names I don't remember, I know we were at least two St.Mary's and St.Ignatius Loyola)
SFA (St. Francis of Assisi)

-->Trevi's Fountain (twice)

-->Spanish Steps
St.Peter's from the Spanish Steps

-->The Jewish Ghetto from WWII