Saturday, December 29, 2012

Coffee and Cigarettes

Here's to a fantastic November!

I've made great friends who I can't even think about leaving, School is getting better, my host family is amazing as usual, and I have a social life once more!

Every weekend & Freitag night I've gotten together with one or more of my friends and hung out. Almost every time has begun on Freitag night, and ended on either Samstag or Sonntag morning.

My deutsch is getting better by the day. I write 90% of the time in deutsch with a few englisch words thrown in. I'm not entirely speaking yet, but when I can I do. I can understand more than ever, but class is still incredibly difficult to decipher, as as of yet I haven't done much in any class aside from Englisch, simply because I can't figure out what's going on.

It's getting colder and darker, and during every pause my friends and I all go outside to the bus stop to smoke and it's always eiskalt!!!!! I'm becoming an avid train traveler, though I haven't been on a bus in Pulheim yet. I walk pretty much everywhere I go, Bahnhof, town, ect.

I ended up going to the doctor last week after my wrist had been hurting for a solid week. Found out I have a ganglion cyst (i believe that's how you spell it) and since then I've had to wear a wrist brace, which I'll include a picture of. Now I've noticed a similar bump on my other wrist and I'm a little worried. I go back to the doctor next week so I'll have him look at my other wrist while I'm there.

On the 15th I'm going to Koblenz to meet up with my very first family. I'm very excited, we're going to a Christmas market!

Last week on Donnerstag night I got a little ambitious and took a pair of scissors and cut my hair shorter, it looks really good, I'm very happy with it.

In other news I'm switching to a different Englisch class where three of my friends are, hopefully. I still can't really read Deutsch, only conversational Deutsch and simple things. I'll try to get a picture of my scheduled posted at some point, it's pretty crazy.

So now since I have Phsyik frei I'm going to get some things done, mostly reorganizing my binder and the massive pile of papers on my desk I've been meaning to sort through.

And a quick shout out to the WONDERFUL Jordan who sent me a box of goodies including RING POPS(!!!!!!), a sweater, and something to write it!!!! I LOVE it, danke sehr!!!! 

Guten morgen all those in the USA!

Fairly Deutsch ;)

(bad quality sorry)



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Time Skips

You might hate me for what I'm about to do, but honestly I don't have the motivation/time/energy to write out the whole story so I'm summarizing.

Fehmarn: Final Days

So after hearing that news from my area rep I spent the next day pretty much avoiding everyone in the house, which didn't work too well since that morning, as usual, we all ate breakfast and it was unusually quiet.

On Tuesday we got a call from YFU saying they wanted me to leave on Wednesday. My host mother and I both said that was impossible so we settled for Friday. I would have moved to Itsaho, about 2 hours from Fehmarn to the north see. The father was a minister, and the mother a nurse, if I remember correctly. They had a daughter and a son also I believe.

Well I wasn't too happy about the situation because I was scared of the religious aspects of things, after speaking to various people I decided I would give it a try and see how it went. The next day (Thursday) about twenty minutes AFTER sending BOTH my suitcases to this new family they called and said that they decided they didn't want to have me. So there I was, staying in Fehmarn, where I'd started to get close to my host family, while my suitcases of ALL my stuff traveled to a family I wasn't going to.

The week finished and on Wednesday we got another call from YFU saying that I was leaving on Saturday for a family in Willich, by Dusseldorf. That friday night was one of my most memorable nights in Deutschland, and will forever be.

I've always thought it's odd how at the strangest times in the strangest of situations you bond with some of the most unlikely people. That was proven to me once more as I chased my host sister through Bisdorf as she drunkenly kicked out street lights for half an hour. It was that night that I really, really felt like I'd found a family.

The next morning was, as expected, complete chaos. I woke up at seven something and ran around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to get all my crap together and into the car. Breakfast was nice and soon I was saying my goodbyes to my host father, brother, and grandparents. I can't help but reflect on how much my host grandfather on Fehmarn reminded me of my recently deceased grandfather.

At the train station/stop in Burg me and my host sister, and mother stood around waiting while the train sat there. It was around 9 in the morning and I think I had about 3-4 bags, it was ridiculous. When they flagged the train and said it was leaving I got on and was the only person in my car. I waved to my host family as the train rolled away, and I was crying in a matter of seconds, before my car even reached the end of the platform. I continued to cry until we'd cross the bridge roughly fifteen or more minutes later. The ride was long to Hamburg, and after half an hour at Hamburg, it was another long ride to Dusseldorf in a tiny cramped train. When i stepped off the train in Dusseldorf all I wanted to do was get back on and go back home to Fehmarn, I actually almost didn't get off...

My host family found me quickly after I just stood awkwardly in the crowd for a minute or two trying to catch my breath.  My host mother was a doctor and my host dad a teacher, i had two host sisters one my age 16, and one 17 turning 18 in nov or something.

I'm not going to go into detail about this family as it was the darkest, most stressful part of my year. Basically there was a lot of problems personality wise between me and the family. I attended a  Catholic private schule, that i biked to every day, most days in the rain.

Classes I was taking in Willich:
Infomatic (Computers)

I stayed in that family for 3 weeks before speaking with my area rep and coming to the conclusion that I needed to move. So after a week of hearing nothing my host family call YFU on Friday and told them about their travel plans for wednesday and how I needed to leave before then. So on Monday afternoon I got an email from YFU telling me about my next temporary family, and that I'm leaving Tuesday. So I spent all of monday packing all my stuff back up.

Tuesday I ate breakfast by myself and loaded all my stuff into the car, then said a few awkward goodbyes with my host sister and got into the car with my other host sister and my host father for the 40 minute drive to Pulheim (24 minutes outside of Köln).

When I first arrived I was a bit surprised to find that my family was Turkish, but I almost instantly felt better when I saw the evil eyes all over the house. I met my host sister and my host mother since my host dad was at work still. I knew from the start that I really liked this family. My host dad and I bonded over Turkish music and bellydance, while me and my host sister bonded over 'teenage stuff'. My host mom and I bonded over cat & dog stories and tea. My german is getting much better since I actually speak it much more now.

When I first arrived here I arrived over the first week of fall break (2 weeks) so I had a week and a half to settle in before school started up again. The first day was chaos, especially because the schule didn't know I would be coming. So after a first week of chaos I've settled in. I have the same schedual as my host sister until after winter break when I'll get my own time table.

Classes I'm taking:
Kunst - Art
Geschichte - History
SoWi - Politic I think

So I know my mother will be emailing me to inform me that this is not NEARLY enough details for her, but I'll address that in a later post seeing as it's 8:32 at the moment, and I'd really like to inhale another cup of tea and some chocolate.


Just another Pulheimer

Monday, September 24, 2012

Far too much...

I know, I know I haven't updated in ages, but before you start freaking out on me I have a damn good reason, and quite a few things to cover in this post, and possibly more.

First Day Of Schule #1
Written Aug. 28

 First day of school was interesting. Of course I was scared beyond belief, so nervous I was shaking for a good portion of the morning, almost threw up as I got in the car. My host mom took me to class and stayed with me outside the door until the teacher showed up. I walked into class and was instantly the shiny new toy.

We all sat in a circle and had MMK which is basically a big meeting to plan the week and stuff, I guess, I'm not really sure, a few people came in late. They figured out pretty quickly that I don't speak German, which was a bit of a shock to some of them. They struggled through going around the circle and saying their names and hobbies for me. I caught 2 names out of 21. Then they had a big discussion about Mallorca vs. London for a class trip. After that we had double biology. They have 45 minute classes here, and a double lesson is when they have two of the same in a row, so it's a 90 minute lesson. After the first 90 mins is a 15 minute pause, and then after another two is a twenty to twenty-five minute pause.

Turns out staring is different here, I found quickly that German's stare at you and they don't hide it, have no shame in doing so, and no matter how long you stare back aren't prompted to look away, where I am anyway. That was a fun discovery.

Half my class was too freaked out to talk to me, a third was so enamored with me that they are either always staring at me, calling my name (everyone pronounces it differently, and most people can't even say it at all), or giving me the third degree. It's quite entertaining to say the least. Finally the last third who are a group of girls that I follow around and who are very nice. They were the first to help me around, and they translate sometimes if they can. Turns out that for the guys my name is a song. At least twice during/between classes I hear "oh heather" being sung to me from a few seats over, or from across the hall, it's really strange cause they literally sing it, it's quite funny though. It's Peer's (a guy in my class) way of hiding that he can't say my name right, others have picked up on it and use it as well. I don't mind.

My school is the only one on the island, a little over 1,000 kids go there, Every single one of them knew who I was when I walked into the building, it was really freaky. Like EVERY kid grade 5 + knows me. So weird.... Everyone in town knows I'm the exchange student too, they all watch me while I'm walking down the street with that look, I don't like it.

Anyway back to school! In Englisch I've become the teacher's 'assistant' which I really don't like having the title of, but I'll put up with it. My chemistry teacher doesn't speak Englisch, neither does my math teacher, or my physik teacher. My other teachers have a few sentences but that's about it. Mostly they have just introduced themselves said hi, then basically ignored me. That leaves the 'guys' as I call them, to explain it to me, which only words a third of the time. My klasse is great though, very fun, very funny, and highly entertaining. Turns out I'm older than all of them, the opposite of what I'd originally thought. They're all very outgoing.

I get out of school at 1 in the afternoon can you believe that! I have to get up at 6:05 every morning though which is kind of a bummer, but I'll survive. On Tuesdays I stay till 3 because I have sport, a class I'm quickly learning to despise. I never did like gym. I have to take the bus home everyday, about twenty minute ride where I'm not guaranteed a seat. Nobody has asked me to hang out yet, but tomorrow I'm gonna put a thing on facebook, everyone in my klasse has friended me now, maybe someone will wanna hang out. I dunno.

I found out today that in November the ONLY movie theater on the island closes for 4 months for winter, and most of the stores close as well. That was a little hard to hear. I'm really wanting to make friends and hang out. I dunno... I might join an art workshop this painter in town gives. That should be fun. I'm looking for clubs to join but there aren't many. It's a little lonely having an entire afternoon with nothing to do. All the homework so far has been huge chunks of text with words my little dictionary doesn't have in it and google translate doesn't know. Plus the teachers just kind of ignore me in a lot of cases so it doesn't matter if I actually do it or not since they don't check it. So far I've just been copying everything they write on the board and translating it as best I can at home. I did the English homework though! Very proud of that. Turns out they don't even get much homework at this school, it's really weird. I'm ok with it though.

I NEED PEANUT BUTTER!!! and more schocolade...

At the Inselschule Fehmarn the classes I was taking were:
Wipo - Politik
Movie class - can't remember the word
Sport - 2 different classes (normal, and step aerobics - it's required)

Schule was great for the two weeks I was there. I had friends, people talked to me, I even hung out in Burg with a few people some days after schule. I went to bellydance every friday night at 8. It was great, my host family was wonderful, I got along with them really well.

Then on September 2 my whole world came crashing down around me in one simple sentence. You have to move, the family doesn't think it's working out. When my area representative first said it I couldn't comprehend her words. Couldn't add them up right in my head to make any sort of sense. When it finally sunk in all I could do was cry.

Will be continued in another post, it's very late at night and I'm exhausted.

Sorry I'm so late.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Train Tracks *posted 4 days late; written sunday*

Saying goodbye is always hard. I cried my eyes out on the plan to DC leaving my mom, and I cried on the train leaving my first family.

As bad as this sounds, it was harder to leave my first host family than it was to leave my mom. Now before you start thinking I'm a terrible person, see it this way. I left my mom knowing I would see her again in exactly one year. I left my first family not knowing when I would see them again.

It's so much harder when you know how difficult it will be to get back to see them. I know I will fly back to the states in a year and I will go back to school as 'usual' and I will see my mom every day. I will have to seriously work to see my first family again before I leave for the states, and they're only 6-7 hours away by train.

As you can guess Friday night, und Saturday morning were terrible. It was so hard to say goodbye and get on that train all by myself. But I did it.

I got on the train with my little suitcase with the package for my mom strapped to the outside, my backpack, and my little plastic bag with a pound of chocolate my host family gave me, and a blanket. I found myself a seat and stayed there for the next hour and a half to get to the Frankfurt station.

At Frankfurt I got off the train and hauled myself through the bookstore almost crying when I saw something in English, then changed my mind and hustled myself to the other side of the station where my next connection was, an ICE to Hamburg.

Turns out YFU reserved me a seat on the ICE. Wagon 1 seat 77. I never did find that seat... I got to wagon three and I was so tired of hauling my self down the entire train that I just stopped at car 3 and sat in seat 31.

Three hours to Hamburg, and the train was 20 minutes late. I only had a 31 minute gap at Hamburg so you can imagine my state of panic when the train was so late. Everyone said 'oh Hamburg is easy, hamburg is easy' well no, it most certainly is not easy. I got off the train to a wall of people. Maneuvering through that I got myself up to the platform after much trouble, and many stairs, then made a mad dash for platform 7b.

By that point I didn't even know which train was mine, I just got on the one sitting at 7b that said Lüdbeck on it and hoped it was the right one. It was thankfully. I sat for another 40 minutes, sweating to high heavens, with an aching shoulder from my bag and weird looks from those around me. Finally my stop came. I grabbed all my stuff and stepped off the train right in front of my very excited host family holding up an American flag scarf, I was wearing a German flag scarf around my neck.

We all, minus Jonny who was fishing, went to the car and started the hour drive to Fehmarn. The bridge was sooo long. It's really beautiful here. Perfect weather too.

I share a room with my host sister Sarah, and both of us share a bathroom with Jonny. We have the top floor, the middle floor is the main floor, and my host parents bedroom is there, and the bottom floor is the 'mudroom' and front door. I only have pictures of my room right now, but others will follow soon!

Now I start school tomorrow so today I'm off to get school supplies in the city.

Train Savvy ;)


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cooking Fiasco

It's safe to say that when I cook I'm usually winging it. That's exactly what I did on Wednesday.

With the lack of Velveeta, or cheddar cheese I ended up using three little packages (very little) of those single slice pieces of cheese. It wasn't terrible.

I made the pasta first, then added a bunch of milk and put the cheese in, adding butter and milk as it melted. It was soooooo creamy and sooooo cheesy, and probably a thousand calories. But my host family liked it, and I liked it so it was deemed a success.

American Chef ;)

Monday, August 20, 2012


Food. It's pretty great right? It brings people together, 'breaks the ice', fills your stomach and gets it to stop growling. Well in Germany they like food, a lot. Which is great, because so do I.

The YFU staff always told us 'oh host families love it when you make food from your country for them!' So I decided to make a very American dish, good old mac n' cheese. This would have been much simpler if:

A. I had measuring cups with me.
B. Could cook.

Turns out I won't need measuring cups. Why, do you ask? Because I won't be needing to measure cheese, because much to my surprise, Velveeta isn't a thing in Germany. And they don't have cheddar cheese. This is quite problematic.

No worries though because it's processed food to the rescue!! Dun da da dun!!! On Wednesday I will be attempting to make mac n' cheese with those Kraft single wrapped slices. Very American right. ;)

Wish me luck! I hope this works! Pictures are sure to follow after this whole event.

Non-Chef Wisher

Monday, August 13, 2012

Pen & Ink

With all this German surrounding me I can't help but find myself beginning to loose some of my English. It's not a bad thing, it's just frustrating because as I'm loosing English I haven't really been gaining German to take it's place. I'm starting to feel like I don't have a language anymore. Sure I can speak English, and a little very broken German, but neither really feels like it's mine. More that it's just a passing tool in communication with the world around me. I'm not sure if that made any sense but I can't better explain it than that.

This wouldn't be such a big deal if it wasn't for the aching fact that I'm a writer, and what do writers do best? They write. Not having a language that I can control and mold to my story is really starting to take it's toll on me. That constant itch to write is coming back stronger than ever and as I haven't really a language I'm finding it difficult to scratch that itch.

Not to mention that as I've been told time and time again, it's difficult to be learning a language and still using your native tongue so much. I don't want to be making it harder for myself...but I have to write.

Coo-Koo bird

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chocolate & Solar Panels

Germany is know for it's chocolate isn't it? Well it's also known for it's green energy solutions. Did you know that Germany has more than half of the world's solar-power generating capacity and has invested over $14 billion in green technology last year? I didn't either when I signed up to come here. Sure I knew Germany is among the leaders of technological advancements, and that it has a fantastic recycling system. But I was not at all prepared for the number of solar panel "fields" as I call them, and turbines that litter the countryside. It's quite beautiful actually, that so many people are using green energy.

That brings me to wonder if the chocolate bar I'm currently eating was made in a factory that uses green energy... It probably wasn't, but it would be cool if it was. On that note it's quite alarming the amount of chocolate I've gone through in two weeks, and the number of digits my weight has not gone up, but rather gone down. It's quite a peculiar set of events. I'm eating more bread here that I ever had in my life, and not that normal bread. This is nutrient packed, grainy, thick bread that tastes amazing with a slice of Gouda, and some butter. Mmmm I'm hungry thinking about it.

I'm quite curious what my physical situation will be at the end of this year, I feel like I'm eating more than ever, and doing anything active even less that normal. Yet I'm loosing weight. How can this be? Well I'm done asking stupid questions, I'll just enjoy it while it lasts!

That's all for now folks! It's like 11 and I'm exhausted. Long day of language school ahead of me tomorrow.

Contempt Chocaholic

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cologne vs. Koln

So as you might have already guessed I went to Cologne on Saturday (Yesterday). It was about a two hour drive and both of my host sisters and myself fell asleep in the car on the ride there, AND the ride back.

We set off at 8 sharp in the morning and after about an hour were on the autobon. We were going 130 km/h and I was having a small heart attack as we dodged cars. I have a picture to prove it. After a while I was finally able to relax, my host family thought it was hilarious. I did not agree.

Cologne was hot. The parking garage under the city stretched on for over a mile, it was crazy. We first got on what they all called a 'bimble-bong'? I have no idea, it's one of those little trains all the tourists take that shows you the city. We got off at the Dome, which is so beautiful. Inside was even more beautiful. I lit a candle for my grandfather, and my father. Ironic isn't it? In some sort of twisted way.

We went down into the treasury and say all the really old statues, cup things, and the scepters the pope had. It was pretty cool, but we couldn't take pictures which was irritating because the elevator was really cool.

Then we went shopping. I swear to god it was like being in NYC. The street stretched forever, and shops lined the sides of this really narrow little street. Stores I've never heard of,  to H&M we went in almost every single one of them.

For lunch we went to Micky D's and boy was it different. First of all it was packed, and I mean packed like you had to scope out who was leaving and time it perfectly to get a seat. We got a booth thanks to Lena's keen eye and speed walking. It tasted so much better than in the US, or maybe that was just me embracing American fast food...I'm not sure. Either way I got a special edition Olympic glass Coca Cola cup out of it, which I will be sending home to my mom soon...ish.

After that we walked around some more did a little more shopping and the like. I bought a Berliner (which is a little doughnut like thing with marmalade in the center and it's COVERED in sugar, and I order it all in german. I was very happy, the guy behind the counter was really kind of done with me after I said the first word. hahahah it was amusing though.

After that little snack we headed over to a costume shop, of course, and I'm pretty sure we spent and hour and a half inside hahahah. Anyone who knows me, is aware that this is not unusual.

After that we made our final destination the chocolate museum, which I have to say was a bit disappointing. I was expecting to be able to eat more chocolate. You didn't get to.  But it was still cool.

The ride back was long as well and in the car we were all exhausted and beyond. All in all it was a fantastic day.    :)

Oh an by the way. Over six hours of shopping in Cologne, I bought 2 things. And they were both from the costume store!

Kitty Cat

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Locks & Doors

Apparently a closed door doesn't have to same significance in Germany as it does in the US. In the US if your door is closed it means 'don't come in' or 'knock before you enter'. With much confidence I can say that is not true here. In Germany, or my household anyway, you close a door when you leave a room no matter what. And  knocking is done as you open the door. I've been caught multiple times in strange situations where I'm changing or the like and my door opens, giving me no warning whatsoever. Luckily every time so far I've been able to quickly pull a shirt on or hide under a blanket.

I live in the basement of the house, I have my own room and a little bathroom across the laundry room, very little. Nobody ever really comes down here, and to me closing the door to the bathroom means it's occupied, don't come in. Well not to everyone, and I don't lock the doors because the one time I did, I locked myself out of my room and it took me ten minutes to get back in. Besides, why should I need to lock a door if it's already closed? Well I learned very quickly today that I do indeed need to lock the door to the bathroom when it's occupied.

My host sister opened the door on me , that was quite embarrassing, for both of us. But it's okay, because then about fifteen minutes later I accidentally walked in on her changing and she was unable to shield herself. We called it even and agreed never to speak of it again.

So the lesson in all of this? No matter how difficult the lock is to get back open, if you're in Germany and you're in the bathroom, LOCK THE DOOR.


Hopeless Door-Opener

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Beginning To Hit

Today when I got home and went into my room and cried, really cried. Cried for the first time since I got here. Cried because I can't understand anyone, and because they don't understand me no matter what language I'm speaking, because I miss my cats and my mom, I miss my bed, because I miss my stupid pink room, and being able to sleep till 9. I miss being able to communicate with people on a basic level, I miss not living out of a suitcase sitting on the floor that I have to fit my clothes all perfectly back into at the end of the month, not have to carry around a dictionary everywhere I go. I cried because I'm scared as hell, and I'm so mad at myself for doing this. Why the hell did I think I could do this? I have no idea. I have the constant fear that I unknowingly offended someone, or that I got on the wrong bus, or knocked on the wrong door. I cried because I have no idea what day it even is, much less what time it is. I cried because I got what I wanted...something completely foreign. I got my escape and now I want nothing more than to go back home and curl into a ball on my bed.

This is ridiculous. I know I can't wallow in self pity because it's not going to get me anywhere but at the same time how else are you supposed to cope with not understanding a damn thing around you?

Red Eyed Alien

Monday, July 30, 2012


Einkaufen = Shopping 

First off Mom I made a fantastic discovery, too bad Grandpa isn't around to hear it he'd get a kick out of it. They have Aldi's in Germany :)

Now back to the real story! Me, my host mother Anja, and my two host sisters, Lena and Dana piled into the car (which i have yet to get a photo of) and drove two towns over to a bigger one in the area. There we first stopped at what I can only can the German equivalent to Walgreens. They had Axe! hahaha Lena had seen my Axe deodorant and then made a point of, very enthusiastically, pointing out every single Axe product they carried at the store hahah it was all good fun. They only use spray deodorant here! How strangely different! First store, I didn't buy anything.

After this little adventure we went to the store next door which was a clothing store. We walked in and guess what song is playing! Call Me Maybe hahah I had a good laugh over that. Every song that played while I was in that store was American pop music. 

Anyway we hung out there for a while I found a bag, which I will add pictures of later to my gallery post, I have several. I also found a gift for my mom but I won't be adding a picture of that it would ruin the surprise! :)

Next we went to the last store of the little shopping area we were in which was a shoe store. Well long behold I broke down and bought a pair of the cutest shoes I have ever seen. I have no freakin' idea how I'm going to get them into my suitcase...

Dinner was pizza, and a movie, Aurthur Und Die Minimoys (German edition so the voice was Bill Kaulitz) My whole family thought it was hilarious that I was so excited to watch it. 

- Day 2 end -

Sunday started with a start as I realized that I, like an idiot, set my alarm but forgot to turn it on *facepalm* I woke up way too late to take a shower like I had originally planned which sucked, but I didn't miss breakfast! Which was 1 large grapefruit, sans sugar, and a cup of black tea. Yummmi!!

At 11 we all piled into the car and drove for twenty minutes to a town I still don't know the name of. There we parked and walked for a little bit to a station with the little enclosed chairlift things. We took those up the 'mountain' and at the top got off and walked over to this huge statue, don't worry I have pictures. Then for half an hour we walked around to the next station which was chair lifts back down the mountain on the other side. At the bottom you got on the boat which took you over to the castle, Rheinstein Castle, a medieval castle. I bought a little sword :)

We walked up the huge hill to the door and almost right after we got inside my camera died so you'll have to google it if you're interested. Then we got back on the boat and headed back up the river, passing three or four castles and walked up this super famous street that starts with a D. It's more like a narrow alley FILLED with people, shoppes lining both sides, and live music everywhere. It was so cool I wish my camera had still been alive!!

After finding the car again we drove to the second down over from Oberwallenmach and got ice cream, it was like going to a five star restaurant. It look like something you would get at one, but it was super cheap! I got some sort of kiwi sunday thing, I don't even know. I'm so full from it.

Tomorrow I start my language course and I get to ride the bus for the first time by myself ever. Should be interesting seeing as I have absolutely no idea where I'm supposed to get off hahahah

For now I leave you my gallery to be added as soon as it uploads!

Blatant Tourist

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recent Discoveries

1. They only use spray deodorant here
2. They have Aldi
3. Just because I wear size nine does not mean I should measure the American size 9 to the German sizes on the little chart. Shoe sizes are vastly different
4. Clothing sizes are different
5. No matter how much I think I understand the clothing sizes I will be always wrong
6. Ice cream is very different here
7. They have patches!
8. I have no idea how to operate a shower
9. I'm so awkward!!!
10. When the cashier asks you a question in German giving him a blank look doesn't get you anywhere. You have to say 'American' along with the blank look.
11. Water has bubbles now
12. Everybody speaks German; I do not.
13. When you don't talk for a long time from lack of any language knowledge your voice cracks awkwardly when you do say something.
14. I'm no longer afraid of heights
15. They drive REALLY fast
16. Converse are NOT walking shoes
17. The speedometer does not measure in miles, it measures in kilo...somethings

That's all for now

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mayhem; Airport eddition

Let me tell you that when you're jet lagged from a flight to DC and you never get the time to recover, well you don't recover very quickly. Tuesday was a very long day in DC that consisted of mostly meetings and speeches, not very interesting.

On Tuesday, the hottest day in history, we all walked around The Mall in DC all the way from the Smithsonian, museum of Natural history down to the Lincoln memorial, which is an incredibly long walk when the humidity is 99.9% and it's 92 degrees outside. It was pretty cool though, I got a bunch of pictures of ducks at the WW2 memorial.

We got to Dulles airport around noon on Friday, after being at the Smithsonian, and waited for the check in stations to open for over an hour. Finally we all got our bags checked, I only checked one bag at the check in and it weight 22.6 kilos, you're overweight if it's 23 kilos. I did a victory dance along with almost everyone else in the same boat.

We bypassed the long security line, but I did have to go through the radiation scanner, which gave me a splitting migraine that I did not enjoy. I ended up getting a pesto panini which was amazing, then had to gate check one of my carry-ons, which thank god, was free.

First time ever on an international flight and I almost had a panic attack when I saw my seat. YFU bought our tickets and so of course they picked the cheapest ones. We were all spread out in the very middle section. Luckily my whole row of 4 was YFU people, unfortunately I was stuck in the middle, and my headphone jack on my seat didn't work so I couldn't watch a movie at all. But I dealt with it alright for the most part.

My plane left DC at 3 in the afternoon on thursday. I did not get more than 20 minutes of sleep on the plane, which wasn't great. Eight hours later we landed in Frankfurt at 5 in the morning. We bypassed customs which was a relief, and then had to accompany the rest of the 19 people catching another flight, I was one of the two who didn't have to. The lady leading us around had no idea what was going on it was rather frightening.

Once we got our bags we found out we still had three hours to wait before the next flight came in and everybody else showed up. So we waited...and waited...and drank coffee...and tried to communicate with the thai students, failing pretty epically.

Once everybody was there we carted our bags, (we each had at least 2 rolling suitcases and a heavy backpack) through the airport only to find that the escalator down to the train didn't work. So we lugged our 50 lbs bags down two flights of stairs and landed in a big tangled pile at the bottom. It was entertaining to say the least. We piled ourselves onto the S train and all fell over when it started moving.

We got off at Frankfurt main train station and hung out for half an hour for the regional train that would take us to Koblenz(?), and me to wherever it is that I got off. I got off half an hour early and met three fourths of my host family. They are great! Driving back to their house was a little nerve wracking since it was a twisty little narrow road and we were (I swear) going faster than 30 mph which the little dashboard said.

Ten minutes later we pulled into the tiny little village, there's another one about two hundred yards down the road/hill hahahah I found that amusing. Dinner was good, I'll post pictures!! I've got my own room and bathroom which is really nice. My family is great! :)

Shopping tomorrow!!

Another new thought, they drink soda water here, like instead of's so strange.

Jet Lagged Teen

check out my gallery! (in the process of creating and uploading)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

D.C. Adventures

I'm right now laying on my top bunk in the 4-H youth conference center, where I will be residing until Thursday afternoon at 3.

First time ever flying alone on a plane? Pretty well! From Minneapolis to Lansing Michigan was by far the bumpiest, granted we were trying to out run a storm, but still. From Lansing to DC I managed to get about ten minutes of sleep, which was quite a big deal seeing as I haven't slept for quite a few days.

At the baggage claim I ran into my friend Gabriel and he hung out with me while I got my luggage then saw me off to my shuttle which brought me to where I am now. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had lunch waiting for me.

As it turns out every other single flight was delayed a few hours. My flight was the ONLY one that got in on time, and mine was early. We are still just hanging around waiting for people to show up. So far it's me, this girl Margret, and four guys.

Tomorrow is packed! And I'm sleepy so I'm curious how this is gonna go down. I feel like I'm being antisocial sitting in my room, but at the same time I hurt because I'm so tired...well whatever I've got an eight hour flight to look forward to, plenty of time to socialize then.

Till then!

Weary Traveler

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

13 Days

Thirteen days till take off! Suitcases are almost all packed, my house is in chaos with bags and lists EVERYWHERE. The cats are starting to suspect something.

My flight's all worked out, along with my shuffle to the 4-H center. Things are getting real man! I couldn't be more excited. :)

Packing Genius

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Placement time!

Ah here we are! I've got about a month till I leave and I haven't even started packing yet, if you know me then you know what a chore packing is. If you don't then I'm sure you'll get to read all about it in a later post.

I got a letter in the mail a couple days ago which contained my permanent placement for the year. I was shaking like a leaf when I opened it, it was terrible. Turns out I'm going to be living on an island right across the sea from Denmark! How exciting! The town I'm in is Fehmarn and from the little blip about it on Google it's got a population of something around 12,00 I think, I can't remember for sure though, but it was big. This is totally different from my first host family since they live between the Rhine river and Frankfurt much further south, in Oberwallenmach. I'm gonna live on the coast! This will be pretty awesome because I've never seen the ocean before, except where it meets Puget Sound in Seattle.

My permanent host family consists of my host mother, who is a dance instructor, my host father who is a sales manager, my host sister who's 15, and my host brother who's 14. Again I'll be the oldest, this certainly will be different for me, an only child. I'm so excited to meet them!!

I'm getting a little better at the language thanks to Rosetta stone, and the little yellow post-its adorning my entire house.

I had a huge realization a couple days ago, one I should have had quite a while ago. I'm going to Germany, and I leave in a month. I bet you have no idea all the things you would do to prepare for a year abroad. Unfortunately, neither do I, which has lead to many long arguments and conversations about what I will, and won't need. I've been in freak out mode since about last Thursday.

I've got faith that I'll put it together before I leave, after all I have to prepare to meet our congress.

I'll leave you for now with a map of my two host family's locations. 'A' is my temporary host family, and 'B' is my permanent host family where I will spend the year.

Work Traveler Soon To Be

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Sunday, June 3, 2012


         Hallo! Guten tag, guten morgan, guten nacht! For me right now it would be Guten Nacht since it's almost eleven at night. My name's Andy Snow, or as some of you readers out there know me, Heather Crosby. I'm an exchange student about to make my great journey to Germany from America. I'm currently 16, and a week from the end of my sophomore year of high school. About six months ago in December I applied for Youth For Understanding for a year abroad in Germany. About a month ago I got my acceptance letter and since then it's been a mad dash to get ready to leave.

          In keeping this blog, I'm hoping to take you along on the roller coaster of my year as an American student gone German. Some of you are, or were, my teachers, some of you are students, some my friends, and some of you are my family. You all have a different story of who I am, and you all know a little bit about me (hopefully). If not, and if so, this should give you a pretty good idea of all the sides that make up me.

         If you're still reading then congratulations I didn't think anyone would read this far. Well anyway, here's the update of my quickly approaching departure. School ends next Friday, and once it's out the big task is to get my drivers license and take my driving test. After that, well it's goodbye to all free time as packing and saying goodbye to my friends and family become my biggest job. I can't say that I'm not scared, but I'm not half as scared as I feel like I should be! Mostly I'm just sad, sad to be leaving my friends and my family, sad to be leaving my three kitties and my home. Sad to leave my country and dive head first into the unknown.

         Things around my house are starting to get a little stressful, especially between me and my mom. She's sad that I'm going, but she's just as excited for me. Every once in a while I'll walk into a room and see her crying and I know exactly what she's thinking about. In the end I start crying too, simply thinking about leaving, and ll the stressful and exciting opportunities I'm going to have on my journey abroad.

         I'm going to try to keep things updated as much as I can, but obviously I can't make any promises. I'll be posting a lot of video logs and videos of me and my host family, if they allow me to, so that you can see what daily life is like in my host family.

         Today I had my first orientation for my program. I could go on and complain about all the things I didn't like, for example that I sat in a classroom from 12:30-7:00 and all I had to eat was Twizzlers. Knowing me most of you are probably surprised that I'm not going to complain about all those things, but I'm not. Instead I'll tell you all about what they told me. First we covered culture shock, then we covered what they called 'meet the critic' which was all about what to say when someone asks you a question about politics or your country as a whole. After that they covered living in a family, then on to realistic expectations. They had three international students living in MN there to answer questions. One from Egypt, one from Japan, and one from Switzerland. For me it was really interesting to simply see what they had to say about the US, and what advice they had. To shorten this all up, it was one very long, information filled day with plenty of laughs and a few almost tears. As a result my head is pounding with all the information that was thrown at me and that I had to know and remember. I think that class itself was culture shock for me.

         I'm off to bed now, hopefully to calm my pounding head and absorb a little more information they gave me, letting ti all sink in. You know, I wake up every morning and my first thought every day is 'I'm going to Germany.' It's been two weeks that I've been telling myself this and I guess it's only really starting to sink in that...I'm going to Germany. I leave in a little under two months to spend a year abroad in Germany. Wish me luck!

Travel Hungry