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

Monday, June 6, 2011

The end!


This may have to be my last blog entry since I only have three more weeks in Germany, and they all seem to be packed full of seeing the things I haven't yet, and saying good bye to everyone. So I hope you have enjoyed reading this over the year, and enjoy this last entry!
This past month has been a complete whirl wind; with Euro-Tour, our farewell orientation, and getting ready for my mom to come. I'd to put an update about Euro-Tour Euro-tour but right now I am having problems uploading pictures, and it just isn't the same explaining it without the photos. So sadly I will have to wait until I am home to show everyone how amazing that trip was. I can say this though; it was the highlight of this whole year for me. It brought all the exchange students even closer, showed us so many different places, and just allowed us to relax and have fun for almost three weeks.
The weekend after Euro-tour was our farewell orientation, and the district conference. This was a weekend filled with tears, and laughter. I believe this was a harder goodbye then when I left everyone back in Canada, since I don't know for sure if or when I will see some of these people again. They say you have three different families while you are a Rotary exchange student, but for me I found four. I had my three host families who I moved between, but there was a constant family always there for me, the other exchange students. This year would not have been what it was without all the people I got to meet, and become close to.
I was told many times before leaving that Rotary is a cultural exchange, and I assumed it just meant sharing my culture with the Germans, and learning their culture. Little did I know I would get to learn the culture of over 15 other countries. Although as we say we all come from different places, however in Germany we are one land, and one family.
This was the best year of my life, it was hard at times, but it has made me a better person for those hardships. I want to thank everyone who helped me have this opportunity; my two clubs, the families who invited me into their homes, and especially my own family back home. When I return home I hope to have the opportunity to promote the Rotary Exchange because I feel it is something that more people should have the opportunity to experience.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Paris dans la printemps, c'est un cliché, but I love it!!

During part of my easter vacation I was fortunate enough to get the chance to go visit JP in Paris, and enjoy some beautiful weather. I spent almost a week getting to know his family, and seeing a bit more of Paris. I would probably have to sit here for a few hours if I wanted to write about everything we had done and seen, so I will shorten it up to more of the basics.
My first day we went into Paris in the afternoon and went walking around, he showed me the main mall type places. One was absolutely gorgeous inside, and was probably anyone womans dream shopping; tiffany's, dior, chanel everywhere you looked. After we walked down the Champs Elysees to see L'Arc de Triumph, and walk around that area. After we walked down through one of the most well known parks in Paris; I can't remember the name though, and over top of the Louvre.
My second day we returned to Paris again and went to take some pictures around the eiffel tour, which was absolutely packed with tourist. Then took a boat tour down to Notre Damn, we didn't get to go in that day since the line was so long. We also saw the big modern art museum in that area, and went inside to see some of the displays. It was a really cool building inside and out also, and very colorful.
My third day we went into Paris again to go to Mont Martre and see Sacre Couer, this was probably my favorite area in Paris. It is considered the artist district, so you walk down the streets and see sketch artist everywhere, and many musicians as well. It is one of those areas where you could just sit down at one of the outdoor cafes, and watch people all day.
My fourth day we headed to Disney Land Paris, YAY!! For an 18 year old I think I was a little to excited for this, but it was my first time every going to any Disney Land. That was a really fun day, except we didn't get to do to many rides since the wait for most rides was anywhere from thirty mintues to an hour and a half. It was cool though seeing all the characters, and one of the parades. Sadly I didn't get my picture with Mickey like I wanted.
My last night the whole family and I went into Paris at night to walk around, and have dinner. Paris is a city that just absolutely comes to life at night, and just gets so much prettier. The streets are filled with so many people, and everything is light up, including the eiffel tower.
My last day there also happened to be easter so I was able to have a nice easter lunch with the family before I returned back to Germany. We had a very large almost five course meal I believe, including the typical french cheese. I was also forced to try absolutely everything; wasn't protesting to much, except I think I was full for a full 2 days after.










I had a wonderful trip and it was really nice to see JP again and get to know his family. Also to use my french once again, sadly that took a little longer to get better than I would of liked, but by the end I was comfortable with it. I can't wait to return to Paris again in the future, I believe it is a place I could return to over and over again.



You all have ten fingers? Lets try to keep it that way

Karmen and I were lucky enough to attend a German cooking course with other exchange students, inbound and outbounds. They were all from other organizations so we had a chance to meet more exchange students from other countries, many who had just arrived in Germany.
For the course we learned how to make a typical three course german meal. We made a spring salad with baked mushroms, chicken breats with carrots and chive sauve and fried potatoes, and a type of pancakes with apples for dessert. We also got a german/english cook book to take home, with tons of typical german recipes in it. So now when I come home I can try and cook some of the things that became pretty typical over here for me, which mostly consists of potatoes, and different types of pasteries.
All in all it was a really fun type with some other exchange students, with food flying everywhere, and everyone eating way too much.




Saturday, May 7, 2011

Atomkraft? Nein danke

I attended my first demonstartion with my host mom a few weekends ago, it was a small demonstartion as part of the anti nuclear movement throughout Germany.
It was just a small event in our town, I'm not exactly sure you can even call it a protest of demonstartion since it just involved a long line of people through the main street, stepping from the sidewalk into the middle of the road. However it was still fun to see all the people out, many had signs on against the movement, or signs referring to all the distruction the nuclear power plants have caused in Japan. Right now this seems to be a big subject in Germany, or atleast in my area, you see people everywhere with pins, and stickers saying; Atomkraft? Nein danke. Which means nuclear power? No thank you.
Here are some photos from the day, there was a large turn out of over 300 people, which I think is quit a bit for a smaller town.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A little behind

So I am a little behind on updating everyone on life in Germany, and still don't have much time now for a proper update. I'm sorry that I have gotten so behind byt life has been crazy busy lately. So I am just writting this short blog to say Happy Easter to everyone, and tell you what you can look forward to hearing about next week.
  • Exchange student cooking class
  • My first demonstartion/protest
  • My easter holidays visting JP in Paris
I believe those are the major updates that are missing from the blog, I will try and get up to date next week when I return home, and upload plenty of pictures.
Happy Easter,
Frohe Ostern,
Joyeuse Pâques!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring is here!

Spring has officially hit Germany, and so far I am loving it; especially when I hear how the weather is back in Lethbridge. It hasn't been to crazy warm, a few days close to 20 though. However along with that warm weather we do still get our rainy days, that I am finally getting used to.
I did manage to get out and enjoy the nice days we had. Luckily they all fell on the saturday, and sundays so I was able to go out to the Baltic Sea with my host sister and some of her friends. We spent some time lying on the beach soaking up the sun, but avoided the water; it was a bit chilly. I can't wait for summer and even warmer weather, I am hoping to learn how to kite board before coming back. We will see how that goes, since it has been a few years since I walkboarded.
Here are some photos oh the beach we went to.

 More to come soon, hope everyone back home is enjoying the snow

Friday, April 1, 2011

Another awesome exchange weekend

 A few weekends we had another inbound Rotary orientation, this one was actually our last orientation, we just have our Euro tour left, and the district conference. This orientation took place on an island called Foehr. It was a good weekend, with the beginning of some spring weather, and a three hour walk across the beach. Some exchange students got brave and decided to go for a swim in the ocean, personally I thought it was a little to cold for that. After the walk on the beach we went to a hotel for a giant cake buffet, the perfect thing for exchange students.
After we got back to the hostel that night we all had to do short individual presentations about our favorite class at school; in German. It wasn't as fun as all the musical presentations we usually do, but it was good to see how everyone's German was doing.
Here are just a few of the photos taken over the weekend

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Art

With my new host family I have been able to experience something pretty different for me, and that is art. When I say art I mean anywhere from music, dance, to paintings, sculptures, photos, etc. The whole family is very artistic, each with something different, so it is pretty neat to walk around the house and see the massive collection.
They also really enjoy taking it this art work as well; something I have never done much of before, I grew up in a sport family, simple as that. However it's been neat getting to see the other side as well, I have so far watched my host father play in a brass ensemble, and sing in the church choir, go to a ballet with my host mom, and to the art hall today to look at a new gallery. The new gallery was all based around blury/unfocused photos and paitings. It was amazing to see, and I never knew I could enjoy walking around an art gallery for two hours before. Here are some photos of the photos and paintings, just to show a bit of what was in it.

Don't blink

Don't blink, time goes by faster than you think
The other day I was flipping over the page on my calender when I really looked at the date, I realized it was already March. I have been living in Germany for over seven months now, I haven't seen my home or Canada for over eight months. Then I started flipping the pages forward and saw I only have four months left, and those four months will fly by; April with spring break, May Rotary Euro-tour, June is summer, and my mom coming at the end. It's actually a scary thought that I have been away from home for so long, but also that I am going home so soon.
It's a pretty sureal thought when you realize you haven't seen or hugged your family in seven months, but that you've also been able to find other people to fill that void. The people that I have encountered in this path seven months will all be with me for the rest of my life, and they have all had some impact on who I will be at the end of this year. It may have only been one year of my life, one year in 18, but I believe this is the year where I learn more about myself than I have in the past 18 years. So there are many people I owe thanks to, back home, and here, for this allowing me to have this opportunity, but also for helping me get through it. I also need to thank those people who didn't think I could make it, you made it that much easier to stay, and make it.
I'm so excited for these next four months, I can't even begin to explain how much, and I will make sure to keep you all better updated. Especially with more pictures now that I have a new camera to break in!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Skating

Last week my class headed into Hamburg to go to the outdoor ice rink, yes that's right since we are in sport profile we can skip a full day of school just to go skating. It was a pretty fun day, most of that because it was Karmens first time on ice, not the most natural thing ever. I do believe she spent more time sitting on the ice, then skating, and managed to take down a few people with her, including me.
video

Monday, February 14, 2011

100 exchange students together in Berlin

This weekend was my third orientation, for it we headed down to Bad Saarow to meet the Berlin exchange students. It was a crazy weekend with around 100 exchange students staying together in a hostel, and hanging out in Berlin for a day. Sadly I can now only say I've been to Berlin, and not that I've really seen it, since there was so many of us it was hard to see a lot of things. Luckily though, we are going to Berlin for the first day of our Eurotrip in May. However while there I did get to see a peice of the Berlin wall, which means another thing checked off my list, slowly working at it.


 We found some delicious Dunkin Donuts


Friday, January 28, 2011

Back to Kindergarten I go

I've got my backpack packed and I'm ready to head back to kindergarten!.. Well sort of.
Lately I have been feeling very bored in school, and like I wasn't getting the full experience sitting there every day. So I spoke to some people from my club to see what I could get involved with on Monday and Thursday when I have my long breaks in school. There were a lot of options put up but the one that caught my eye the most was helping in a bilingual kindergarten. I went and visited this kindergarten last week and decided this is a perfect way to make the week go by a little bit faster.
The way the kindergarten works for being bilingual is that every class has two teachers; a German teacher, and an English teacher. For the English teachers, English is there first language, and most of them come from England, and they only speak English with the children. Since the class has both an English and German teacher already I get to do a bit of a mix. I think the nicest part about working with children so young while trying to use a language, is they aren't going to laugh at you, and they will probably understand you better than anyone else. Who knew that the best way to perfect a new language was to hang around 3-5 year olds.
Needless to say I'm pretty excited to head back to kindergarten and get to just play with blocks and color again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Half way there

"We can't really know what a pleasuer it is to run in our own language until we're forced to stumble in someone else's." This is a quote from the book Shataram by Gregory David Roberts that I feel any exchange student, or foreigner in another country can relate to. However I also feel that it can related as well to living in someone else's culture, and country. We never know what we have, and how lucky we are until we leave it. We'll I've been away from home and living in a country the complete opposite from mine for over five months now, and I can easily say I know what Mr. Roberts is talking about. It's hard to carry a conversation in another language that you aren't perfect in and not misunderstand things, or wonder if things are being lost in translation and they meant something completely else.
I personally believe that the youth exchance is a program that allows us to realize how lucky we are, and to really appreciate the things we have back home. I am grateful so far for all the experiences I have had, the ups and the downs, for I know they have made me a better and stronger person. These first five months have been rocky, however I am looking very forward to the next five; I have plans on visiting my old echange student; JP, in Paris over my spring break, then two weeks after that I head off with the other exchange students for a three week Euro trip, and then my mother coming at the end to go visit her extended family in Croatia.
These first five months have taught me a lot and given me the opportunity to see plenty, but I can say that these next five will be the highlight of the exchange and I can not wait for all the things I will get to. So keep reading I will try to keep everyone as updated as possible and post plenty of pictures.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday, Happy New Years!!!!

It's easy to say I had a packed Christmas holidays and have seen lots, and it is only half way through. I celebrated Christmas with my host family in Southern Germany near Munich, then headed to Zurich Switzerland to celebrate my 18th birthday and New Years. Then I head home for a few days, and am back on the road for a shorter trip to Kiel to say goodbye to some of exchange students who leave this month.
Christmas was a weird time; I mean this in the sense that it did not feel like Christmas to me, and I wasn't really excited like I usually am. At home I am still five years old around Christmas time; christmas music palying constantly, making wish lists, buying presents, counting down days, and always the first one awake on Christmas. What can I say I'm a sucker for presents, and not just getting them, I love buying them too. Well this year I didn't do any of that, none of my usual traditions so Christmas wasn't really Christmas for me. Here in Germany they celebrate on the eve of the 24th, usually after Church and dinner they open presents. It was nice to see how someone else does it, but I can't lie I missed my traditions, and eggnog!
On the 26th my host family took me into Muich to catch my train to Switzerland, luckily we had some time before my train left and got to see some sites. The thing i am most happy is that I get to check another item of my wish list of things to see. On our way to Munich we stopped at Dachau, to see a concentration camp, this is the concentration camp that I had really wanted to see but didn't think would be possible since it was so far away. I did get to see it though and it was amazing, but sad at the same time. I'm hoping to go back again, since it's something I don't think you can see all of in one day, especially not in winter when it's so cold out.

We also drove around Munich for an hour or so to see some of the main sites, and it's official I have fallen in love with Munich, especially the University, too bad you have to be the next Albert Einstein to go there.
Next I headed to Zurich to stay with a friend of mine and her family, who happen to live on lake Zurich. This was an amazing time I got to see a lot of Zurich, old and new. It was amazing, sadly the weather wasn't the best and my camera was back to not co operating so I didn't get too many pictures.
After Zurich we went out to the familys cabin up in the Swiss Alps near a town called Lenzerheide, and I think it's easy to say this was my favorite part of the whole trip. It was absolutely gorgeous and exactly what I expected of the Alps. Sadly I didn't get to do any skiing but just being out there was enough for me, hopefully I'll get another chance to get out there.





Now I am currently waiting in Zurich to head back home, I'm sad to go but it will be nice to sleep in a bed to myself again. I hope everyone had a good Christmas, and Happy New Year!!!