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

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.