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

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!!!