You have given me wings to explore new horizons, and home where my roots will always be.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


In the past couple weeks christmas has been coming in full fource, we had our rotary christmas dinner, visiting plenty of christmas markets, and baking cookies.
The Rotary party was in one of the big hotels over looking the harbor in Hamburg, sadly there was too much fog to see anything outside the windows. The party started on the top floor in the bar where they were serving champagne. After we went down to the restaurant where there was a five course meal, sadly I can't say I enjoyed to much of the food, except the desert, that was delicious!
Also been spending a lot of time in Hamburg at the christmas markets, there are about 3 different ones set up though the center of Hamburg. The christmas markets are absolutely beautiful and smell amazing! There are plenty of stands for candy, chocolate covered fruit, and roasted nuts. It's going to be sad when they close down.
This week me and some of the other exchange students got together to bake some christmas cookies, it was pretty fun and even though it was difficult to find some aingredients they worked out really good. Might have to make a couple more batches soon.
Merry Christmas to everyone!!
Karmen enjoying the snow

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I have now been living with my new family for just over a week now, and so far so good. It was hard to move and leave my last host family, but it’s also nicer to be in town now. Instead of always biking and getting rides everywhere I’m able to walk just a few minutes to get to a store. This is also the family I will be spending Christmas with, down in Southern Germany, near Munich. I’m really excited for this since I will be able to see a lot more of Germany, and actually also get to see some of the things on my bucket list, including skiing in the German Alps.
Here is a few photos of me with my first host family.
 Freddy, Me, and Charlin
 Harald, Me, Dagmar,Charlin, Freddy, and Lesley
 Manfred, Me, Dagmar, Freddy, and Harald
Dagmar, and I making Christmas cookies

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ich liebe dich alle

I have almost been in Germany for four months and over that time I have lost contact with many friends from back home. Many of these friends were ones that I thought I would be in contact with the most, but things change, and so do people. However I have also been fortunate enough to gain 53 new friends, ones who I know will always be there for me, and have been like family lately.
Orientation weekends; that is one of the things I am so grateful that rotary organizes for us. It is just a weekend where we all get together, these exchange students have become my family here in Germany, and I love them all.

I just retured from my second orientation weekend where we spent the weekend in Bad Oldesloe and Lubeck. There is no youth hostel in Bad Oldesloe, therefore members from the rotary club were kind enough to open there homes to us. I was hosted my a woman who is part of the inner wheel I believe it is called. She made me feel right at home even though I was only there for three days, and gave me her number to call if I ever have any problems. It still shocks me to see this kindness from complete strangers, but being part of this exchange i've been fortunate enough to see plenty of it.

Friday was just the welcoming day where we had supper with some of the families, then proceeded over to a youth center to have a little party. I love how they can just put us in a room with some music and we will find the most random ways to keep ourselves entertained. I had always thought that was something you could only do with small children, but I guess it also works with exchagne students. It was a fun night of playing games such as charades; which is even harder in a language you aren't fluent in.

The next morning we woke up bright and early and took a train to Lubeck, where we took a short tour throughout the city. Right now is also when all the Christmas markets are set up, but sadly we only got to take a fast walk through them and not enjoy them; lucky for me I'm close to Lubeck and will be able to return. The Christmas markets are absolutely amazing, and were also the top thing to see on my bucket list, so I can officially cross it off. After the tour we ate at the famous restaurant called "Schiffergesellschaft" that was built sometime around 1530. To finish of the day in Lubeck we went go carting, it was pretty fun, but I think it was more fun to watch all the people from the latin american countries that had never seen go carting before.

I forgot to mention we had a first snow, nothing like Canada but it's enough to keep me happy, but also to make our day in Lubeck very cold. Winter has finally found me :)
Today was a short day where we just met in a school and had some presentations from all the countries about what Christmas is like for them. I joined the Americans in singing Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer for everyone.
It felt as if this orientation was shorter than the first since we weren't staying in a hostel and staying up all night, but it was still just as good. This one was a bit sadder since we had to say goodbye to 8 of the exchange students who will be leaving before the next orientation. It's never easy saying goodbye, but here it's even harder, these exchange students become your family.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Miniatur Wunderland

Who knew it was possible to see everything from Las Vegas, to Mount Rushmore, to Switzerland to Hamburg all in one day, within the same building. Well here in Hamburg it is, you can see it all in the Miniatur Wunderland. I had been told about it before but I hadn't been interested in seeing it, and didn't think it would be very interesting. Well was I ever wrong, it was amazing; there are so many details, and it all looks realistic. Here are some pictures that will show you the miniatur wunderland and also what Hamburg looks like.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hamburg Tag

One weekend most of the exchange students met in Hamburg to be shown the city by some of our districts Rotex. It was a really fun day and luckily we had great weather all day, no rain, and constant sunshine, which is rather rare here. I have to say it was probably the most walking I've ever done in one day, meeting at 8 and being done at 5, with only a lunch break to get some time to sit down. All in all though it was fun and worth it, the rotary weekends are one of the things i look the most forward to, sadly some of the exchange students will be leaving in two months since they arrived last january. But we do get another group of students in there place who will be coming on the Euro trip with us.
Here are a few pictures from the day.

The whole group infront of the Lake

Me with some of the Americans(there are 13 of them in total, and I'm the only Canadian)

Carly, Sierra, Katleyn, and I

Sierra and I

Remembrance day

Remembrance day in Canada is a very solemn and formal affair you could say, I always remember it being serious, and sad when we had the ceremonies in school. I believe that for Canadians it's still such a important day for us since we aren't just remembering the soldiers that allowed Canada to be a free land, but those who have died recently as well.
This past weekend I attended the German version of remembrance day, and I was surprised by what i saw. I attended the small ceremony in my town, which usually starts with a church service, then later people can gather infront of the small monument every town has. At this monument a prayer was said some music played, and then a man read some of the names of people who died in the wars from that town. After this there was a small event in the Stadt house, where people stood up and told some stories, then a group from the high school performed a skit of what they think the front line was like for soldiers.
The major difference i noticed between teh Canadian and German remembrance days was that the Canadian one if much bigger and more formal. You see everyone in black, wearing the poppy, remembering family who died, or are across the world fighting. In germany it was more remembering what the country went through during that time. Also it was an older crowd at the event, remembrance day doesn't seem to have much of an effect of the younger generations here.
That's one of the reasons I'm so greatful to have this opportunity to see another culture and the way they do things, it helps show you the good and bad of where you come from.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Something smells fishy

During my vacation I went and visited my friend Carly, she lives in a small fishing town called Eckernforde. It's right near Kiel, and is around a one and a half hour train ride from Hamburg.

The town itself is really nice, well the part I got to see atleast, it's really long so hard to walk and see it all. Carly and I walked into town and grabbed a coffee while walking through the shops, then went and sat down on the beach. Sadly it wasn't exactly beach weather, but it was still a nice enough day to sit down there. After we walked along the port for a bit, it wasn't the nicest smelling walk though, there are boats that sell fresh fish so it stunk a tad bit.

Later that day we went into Kiel to do some shopping, and I finally found a winter jacket to help me last through this weather. It's already there winter weather here, luckily it's not too cold usually around five to ten degrees, but the rain makes it feel a lot worse.

I had a good trip up North it was nice and relaxing, I really love all the small fishing towns though. I think they have been my favorite to see so far, especially the ones along the Baltic Sea.


Last night Karmen and I went into Hamburg for our first concert, and it just happened to be Carlos Santana. The concert was amazing, the band he had with him playd so good, and Santana is a singer who actually works the crowd as well as play. The whole arena was standing/dancing for the majority of the concert. I also think I have gone deaf in my one year from Karmens shreaks of delight, I think the concert made her miss home.

I love being so close to Hamburg, they have such a good music scene, and artists from all around the world playing there. I'm hoping to see many more shows this year, the hart part is just finding someone who likes the same music as me, Santana was easy, now I just need to find someone to see Xavier Rudd with me. Any takers?? :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fliegen und Bremen

One of the rotary members from my club owns and works at a small airfeild that specializes in glidder planes. At the beginning of the break I was able to go out and actually fly in one of these planes with him. I'm not going to lie I was terrified for this, I can barely handle the little planes that take you from Calgary to Abotsford. However it ended up being really fun, and no where near as bumpy as I thought it would be. This airfeild is right beside the Baltic Sea too, so I got an amazing view of the Sea and beach area. We really lucked out on the weather too, and only had a bit of mist, but still had great clarity to see everything. I think I can officially say I enjoy flying again, well as long as theres no turbulance.
On Monday I went with Karmen and her host mom to the town of Bremen to go shopping, and look at some of the old architecture. Bremen is a beautiful city, it's got a really big mix of old and new architecture all right beside eachother. The town hall was also the only building in Bremen that survived the war, they packed sand all around it to keep it safe. We did take a tour of the city hall, but since it is still in use we were only able to see two of the rooms.
My favorite part of Bremen was a small section that no cars could fit in, and it has random different streets, and pathways.

Project Week

I've gotten a little behind with updating so I'm just going to try and back track on the past weeks and tell everyone what I've been up too.
I am currently on my October break, since in Germany they don't get as long of a summer they throw in random breaks. I'm just finishing the first week of vacation, but before vacation our last week of school is what they call project week.
I'm still not very sure what project week actually means, I think it's just based on doing some major project based on your profile. For my class since it's a sports profile the students had to teach the 8th class twice. The group i went with just did a class in the gym, playing things like dodgeball, soccer, handball. Then on the second lesson it was a class of just fitness training. For the next two days I would come to school around nine, just sit around in the classroom, maybe take a walk to get a coffee, then usually leave around noon. On these two days we didn't have teachers there, I'm not really sure if anyone actually did any work these days though. So it's easy to say I think my vacation started a week early, and that I rather enjoy when they have project week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Was that just our train?

This weekend one of the exchange students from further north came to stay with me for the weekend, and on Friday we spent the day in Hamburg with some of the other exchange students. This was defenitely a day of learning about the good and bad of the train system here in Germany. Usually during the week there is a train to my town atleast every hour, well on the weekend it's a bit longer usually between trains. So we spent allot of time waiting around in the McDonalds at the train station, since it was the only warm and comfy place to sit.

On Saturday night we went with my host family to the Jersbek version of Oktober fest, so I can now officially say I've been the a German Oktober fest, sadly it wasn't all I expected it to be. It was still a really fun night, even though we were both dead from the day before.

Sunday we dropped Carly off at the train station than my house father and I headed up to Neumunster to watch Freddy's soccer game, and on the way there we stopped at an animal park to watch a feeding. I'm not going to lie this isn't something I enjoy seeing, I'm not the biggest fan of zoo's, and seeing animals being cagged, but he really enjoyed it so I tagged along.
Now i just have project week left at school, which I have no clue what we do during it, then I have my two week break from school. Since the summer holidays are so short here, we get allot more long breaks inbetween, it's pretty nice, I'm looking forward to it.
Oh and I've now started my German lessons, lets just say they've been interesting, I don't have the best German accent, so everything I saw doesn't make much sense. However I do understand allot more then i did a month ago, which is a relief. Hopefully these lessons will help speed everything up!

Exchange students

Last weekend I had my first rotary orientation with all the other exchange students in my district, and it was one of the funnest times I've had since being here. Even if the weekend did start of with us missing train after train trying to get there, and arriving three hours late, and not getting supper, and taking a three hour boat ride which almost everyone got sick on.
The weekend started off on Friday night in a small town called St. Michaelsdonn, up in Northern Germany, closer to the North sea. We spent most of Friday night doing introductions (in German), then just swapping pins and business cards. There was close to fifty of us there so it was a little hectic all running around trying to exchange pins with everyone. I know I didn't get everyone, however my Jacket does feel a couple pounds heavier so I think I got the majority of everyone.
Saturday morning we got up bright and early to take an hour bus ride to Busum to catch our boat; Funny Girl. Sadly the waves were massive and I think a majority of the students got sick, including a girl sitting right beside me. So I think it's easy to say that was the low part of the weekend. We went to two small islands that day, the first one we had our lunch at and walked around the beaches for awhile. Then the second one; Helgoland, we spent about one hour on shopping. Everyone was a little excited since this island has no tax so everything is so much cheaper since taxes in Germany are around 19% I believe. To put into perspective how small these islands are know that vehicles aren't allowed on either, and the larger of the two, you can walk all the way around in less than an hour.
Once we returned back to the hostel everyone got busy preparing there songs/dances for that night. We were all required to play or sing a song, or do a dance that represents our country that we come from. It turned out to be quit an entertaining night in the end, there are allot of latin American exchange students who got up and danced, which was gorgeous to see.
All in all it was a great weekend of meeting allot of new people, and learning about all these cultures from all around the world. This is in my oponion one of the best things about the youth exchange, you don't just learn about the country your in, you also get the oportunity to learn about all these other countries as well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Last week I went to my first professional soccer game last week, and all I can say is Wow! It was amazing to go watch this game, the fans are unbelievable. At the beginning of the game they sing a song called "Hamburg my pearl" and every Hamburg HSV fan had there scarfs up in the air and were singing along. It was funny but allot of the time I found myself just looking around at the fans during the game, especially the hardcore fans. These are the fans that sit in the same section everytime and actually have someone directing, or calling out there cheers to do.
Sadly the team we were watching ended up losing, but it was still an amazing game to watch, and both teams were really good. I've always loved soccer, but watching that game just instills so much more respect for the players in you. They have such control over the ball, and are always aware of the team mates around them. I have to say watching that game made me want to play again, but if I did that I would remember I'm a bit clumsier than those boys with the ball.
For anyone who goes to Germany ever though a soccer game is a must see.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's misting not raining

I have now learned that sleeping with my bedroom window open is not a good idea, being woken up by cows mooing very early in the morning isn't the best way to start your morning. Also that it rains allot in Northern Germany and even though I'm used to the cold, my immune system doesn't like the rain so much. I spent all of last week at home with Bronchitis, one month in Germany and my immune system is dying, not a great sign. On the weekend though I was feeling a bit better and got to get out a bit atleast on Saturday and Sunday.
Ssaturday I was working for my host father at a giant exchange fair at the other high school. It amazed me too see how many different opportunities they have to go on exchanges here, I now understand why it's so common. I believe that there had to have been over 30 or 40 different companies that all were involved with student exchanges. The funny thing was that most of the stand too involved exchanges to Canada. Well Karmen and I were walking around looking at all the different stand we met a man from Brazil who worked for a company and got talking to him, he was really friendly and fluent in a ton of languages. It ended up being a pretty funny conversation since he was always switching between German, english, portugese and even sometimes french. He did tell me though that Canada is his favorite place to send exchange students since Canadians are so friendly, which is always nice to hear.
After the fair Charlin, Freddy, Karmen and I all went bowling together and the very small bowling alley in Bargteheide. I never knew there was games in bowling, other than just tossing the ball down the lane trying to knock over the most pins. We played a game that actually ended up being pretty fun, you just needed to knock over more pins than the person before and after you, or slowly a coffin would be built for you. It sounds weird, and I don't know how to explain it, but it ended up being a pretty fun night.
The next morning I woke up bright and early to go into Hamburg with the Backes and Karmen to the fish market. Walking through I felt as if I was back in Seattle at the fish market, it was pretty amazing to see though. It was a cold day, but the market was still filled with people out buying fish, clothes, candy, fruit, and a lot of other things. There was also a giant hall that they have live music in, it was funny going in there around nine in the morning and seeing people with giant beers in there hands. Then you realize they haven't been home from the discos yet and are just trying to hold of the hangover. It did prompt for some good amusement though watching the dance floor.
After the fish market closed we headed over to the Hamburg Rathause, which means city hall, but in Hamburg it also happens to be a parliment. The building was amazing, most of it was all hand carved wood work, and large marble stair cases and pillars. It defenitely puts any Canadian city hall to shame.
I'm really excited for this week, I have my first live German soccer game wednesday, and off to our first orientation with all the other exchange students Friday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

One month in Germany

Sorry it's been awhile since i've posted anything, my computer was being difficult so i was without it for a couple days, and had some busy past couple of weeks. So here is what i've been up to.
Saturday the fourth was the rotary clubs oldie night, where Karmen and I were making/serving coffee all night. It was a fundraiser for the club in the ice house they call it, kindof looked like an empty greenhouse though. It was a really good night, we met allot more of the rotary members, and got a better chance to talk to them. It was funny though whenever people found out i was from Canada they would automatically start speaking french to me. It's probably a good thing i did that french immerssion for so long, or I would be extar confused with languages here. On Sunday I went and played tennis with Freddy again, and no matter how many times i try to play i still can't develop a liking to that sport. That may be due to the fact I really suck at it, and send every second ball flying over the fence. After tennis i went with Karmen and the Backes into Hamburg to go on a boat tour through the harbour. It reminded me of being in Seattle again with all the big cargo ships. All the houses along the harbour are gorgeous though, they have a very diverse mix of the old and new.
We had a really short week of school that week since thursday and friday we went on a class bike trip. Yeah they can just cancel class for two days on the excuse they believe the students need to bond since they'll be together for the next three years. It ended up being a fun two days though, we stayed over night at a youth hostel in some small town, but it let us get to know and met some of the kids we hadn't talk to much.
Friday the 3rd i went with my host family to a Wild west play at the outdoor theater in Ahrensburg. Even though it was all in German it was really fun to watch, it's in a big outdoor stadium you could almost call it, and the horses ride through the crowds, and they had lots of stunts of people flying through the air. Something i would've expected to see in Alberta but insead got to see in Germany. Saturday i went to Bad Oldesloe with Charlin to visit the shop her mom works at there and go to a fabric store to pick out some fabric for purses. We stopped at a cafe there and the lady next to us in line heard Charlin talking english to me and started asking her if i was an exchange student and where from. Turns out she was hosting an exchange student from the US through rotary as well, so we sat down and had coffee with them. That day was also the 700 year anniversary of Jersbek, and I went with the family to the festival where there was the biggest cake i've ever seen. This cake was pulled in on a seperate trailer behind a car.That night Charlin, Tessa, and I went into Hamburg to go to the festival around the lake and to watch the fireworks show. This is a festival that happens every summer around the small lake inside of Hamburg. There was tons of stands set up all around the lake, and different kinds of music being played on all the stages.
School has been getting pretty boring, I just sit there for most classes trying to stay awake while they're all talking. Here in Germany they do barely any written work, everything is done is class discussions, so there's no way i can do any work right now. So i sit in class and read my book, or do some doodling, and the teachers don't even care. It's a pretty nice change.
This past weekend i went into Hamburg with Gisella Backes and Karmen at night to go to the Planten Blumen i think it was called. It's one of the many parks in Hamburg and the special thing about this one is that every night there is a live music played. This music is a bit different though, there are two people one play the water organ, and the other playing the lights piano i believe it was. There two mix together and create a giant fountain show with lights. It was gorgeous to watch, and even the rain didn't ruin it for us. The following day Karmen and i went into Hamburg with some people from school to do some shopping. One peice of advice if you ever go to Hamburg, don't go shopping on a Saturday. It is way to busy that you won't ever get a change room, line ups for the tills take forever, it's just not fun shopping. It was nice to be in a big city again, and to hang out with some people our own age who speak english. The next day was another Hamburg day, I went in again with Gisella and Karmen to go watch a hockey game! The Hamburg Freezers, with the fans this team has you would think they were amazing, they had cheerleaders and a marching band, and everyone is dressed up in there jerseys. But I think lethbridges triple A team could beat them. It was still allot of fun to watch though, made me feel at home watching some hockey, and allot of the players are old WHL, and NHL players.
That is the basics of what I've been up to for the past couple weeks, hopefully next time I won't take as long to post, and I'll be putting pictures up soon for everyone too see.
Tomorrow will officially mark me being in Germany for one month!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

German School

German schools are an absolute gongshow!! The time tables don't make any sense, and there's no given lunch periods or any bells. I don't understand a single thing going on in class, and it almost seems that the teachers don't care if we do anything. They don't take to many tests, or do written assignments, it's all discussion work. I guess 60 percent of the grades is participation, and that's not really something you can do if you can't speak the same language as them. I atleast have french and English, which are two languages i understand, so hopefully those classes don't give me as much of a headache. All I have to say is I don't think I will ever complain about my old high school again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Getting here wasn't fun at all!! It started in Cranbrook with over weight baggage and having to spend allot of money, too going out and through security in the Frankfurt airport for no reason, almost missing my flight, luckily it was delayed or i would've been in big trouble. However once i got to Hamburg I had a nice warm welcome from my first host family and Horst , they had a giant Canadian flag and some posters.
This first night i attended my first rotary meeting, and noticed that it is completely different to the rotary club at home. There are no woman in rotary club, and it's in German! There was no happy bucks, which was nice to hear at the meetings at home. Everyone i met though was really nice to me, and most of them were able to speak to me a bit, but the others didn't know any english.
The next day i went out biking with Harald(host father) and Charlin(host sister) to see the sites or Bargteheide. This allowed me to visit my school and look around, the coffee shop that most students hang out at. We also visited the tennis courts where i might start playing, we'll see how the first lesson with Freddy(host brother) goes though. The main things i've noticed here is that everyone bikes everywhere, and it rains on you alot when you are biking. Later that evening i went and met the other inbound exchange student, she's from Mexico and her names Carmen. Being here for me is hard because of the language barrier but atleast most people speak pretty good english, so i can't imagine how it is for her, she speaks some english but not the best. She is really nice though, and I'm happy to have her around.
Today I went and registered as a citizen in Bargethide and got to return to my school again, and change my profile as they call it. I was in Biology to begin with and knew that was bad news, so i went and talked to the principal and changed to a sport profile. I'm not really sure what this means, but i'm glad i'll be able to participate in sports throughout my stay here. After this my host family decided it was a nice day so we were going to go see Luebeck, and on the way there stop and visit the Baltic sea. It was beautiful at the sea, i loved being able to walk in the sand, i wish i could've gone into the sea but it wasn't warm enough to go in without freezing your butt off. There was alot of people there though enjoying the last bit of they're vacation, and tons of people water skiing and wake boarding. It was so odd though they were being pulled by a machine i guess you could say, it was a 700 meter circle where you were pulled from a rope above you. I've heard of this before but it was cool to see.
After this we went and saw Luebeck which is a beautiful old city with a giant river running through it. Here we had some Marzipan and they said it's the best Marzipan in all of Germany, i have nothing to compare it to but i enjoyed it atleast. After this we just walked around the streets and through the farmers market. In the middle of the market there was a 3-D map of the city that was actually made by Rotary, it was cool to see that rotary is everywhere.
This is life so far in Germany, i'm really enjoying it and excited/nervous to start school on Monday!