2019 Life Update

It’s been a little over 2 years since I have last written. Unfortunately, time has slipped away from me for various reasons. A lot has happened since 2017. First off, I have been on several trips both internationally and domestically. The first being the Europe trip that I mentioned in one of my previous posts in 2017, but never got the chance to update about it. One of the next posts that I plan on writing will be about the Europe trip for sure.

The domestic trips that I went on last year were to Niagara Falls and to Wildwood beach. I’ve been to Niagara Falls several times since I have family living in that area, but my boyfriend and daughter have never been so I thought it would be nice to take a trip there again for their sake. The beach was also a nice little getaway to enjoy the ocean and the boardwalk. Plus it was nice to have my daughter enjoy the beach, now that she’s old enough to actually enjoy it.

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Next important event that happened was that I finally graduated college last fall with a Bachelor’s in German and also a Bachelor’s in Multidisciplinary Studies. It’s been a long couple years in getting my bachelor’s degrees, but it can be done with hard work and determination. Now I am working on my Master’s in Secondary Education. I just finished up with my first semester in my master’s program, so I finally have some time to relax a little until the fall. Now now I finally have some time, I can finally get into the groove again on posting about different languages, cultures, and places around the world. So stay tuned!

North South East West

It’s been about 8 months since I’ve last written anything in this blog. But you can’t really blame me once I tell you what I’ve been up to these days..

Since the start of the year, I’ve been to Oklahoma for Army basic training, Missouri for AIT training, back home to Pennsylvania, Wildwood Beach, New Jersey for vacation, Virginia and South Carolina for vacation and a wedding, to Boston, Massachusetts to study Chinese for the summer, and just recently in Maine for a short day trip. Soon I’ll be going back to West Virginia to start school again, and to end my year I’m off to Japan.

This year has definitely been busy for me, but traveling is what I do best. And I’ll find time again to post more about what I’ve experienced, the different programs that are out there, and so on.

Rainbow Row in Charleston, South Carolina

Rainbow Row in Charleston

Boone Hall Plantation, Charleston, South Carolina

Boone Hall Plantation

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston

Ogunquit, Maine

Ogunquit Maine

First Two Weeks

Tomorrow is the two week mark since I’ve been in Germany. Before I came here, I thought the German culture and American culture/lifestyle were at least a little bit similar. Well, I was wrong. The food/meals, school, transportation, etc. are a lot different.My life here is completely different than my life in America.

Food/Meals: The meat and other foods are a lot larger here than I expected. The food is always fresh, and almost always prepared-unlike in America where we seem to just grab something out of the freezer and cook in the microwave. For Fruhstuck (breakfast), I normally eat muesli on schooldays and eggs or bread with meat, cheese, and meat on weekends. During school, I’ll have Pausenbrot (bread or a sandwich eaten during breaks). Then after that is Mittagsessen (lunch), which is the largest meal of the day. Lunch for me is always something different: Maultaschen (my favorite), spaghetti, pizza, cordon bleu with french fries, sausage, doner, etc. And then is Abendsessen (dinner), which is usually just bread or brezel with meat, cheese, butter, etc. German food is delicious, especially the desserts.

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School: The school I am attending is called a Gymnasium. In the Gymnasium that I’m attending, there are Grades 5 through 12 (I believe). My classes change everyday, and each class (or lesson) is 90 minutes long. 3 days a week I have 3 classes (or blocks) and I get to leave at 1 pm. In between each period is a 15 minute break. On Monday, I have 4 blocks and I get to leave at 3:30 pm. After the third block, there is a 30 or 45 minute break for lunch. On Thursday, I have 5 blocks..which means I don’t get to leave school until 5 pm. Leaving at 5 pm isn’t actually all that bad. The class subjects are almost all the same like in America except for Religion. All my classes (except for English and Spanish), are taught in German (of course). The first couple days, I didn’t understand at all. But everyday, I learn more German and understand more and more. Something else that is different is that we are allowed to leave the school during the breaks (well, not leave leave), to enjoy the fresh air or go into town to get food.

Transportation and Punctuality: I go to school everyday by bus, however, not a “school bus.” Every school morning and afternoon, I get on the public bus and it is always packed of school kids-so it seems like a school bus. But on the bus are kids from different schools and can get off wherever they want to. Public buses here are really convenient, you can pretty much go anywhere by bus-but you have to wait sometimes awhile for them to come. The cars here, I was told, are mostly manual and not automatic. And the trains and subways..can’t say anything about them yet because I haven’t been on any so far. As for punctuality, when the bus is scheduled to come at a certain time-it will be there exactly at that time. If you have plans to meet someone, always be there at the schedule time.

Environment: The Germans definitely care about the environment. The streets and sidewalks are always clean, and never littered with trash. They recycle and have individuals recycling bins for paper, glass, plastic, etc. And they conserve water. I really wish we did this in the United States. I never really realized how much we’re wasting until coming here.

So far, I like my new life in Germany. Like I said, it is definitely different. Sometimes it can be a little difficult being in a new culture. So far, I made a lot of mistakes and mispronounced a lot of words. But it’s from these mistakes, that we learn the most.

Below are some pictures of Wertheim, two of the castles in my area, the Main and Tauber rivers, etc.

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Goodbye, Pennsylvania

My last day in Pennsylvania was bittersweet. I’m glad I was able to spend it with my family and friends. Time has gone by so fast. At first, I wished I could just go to Germany right away right after I came back from China. Now, however, I’m glad I had one month to settle back at home and embrace life in the US again. I was able to do everything I wanted to do before I left: eat my favorite foods, visit my friends, go to my favorite places, watch movies at the movie theater, absorb my surroundings, spend time with my family, host exchange students (from Korea).

I will soon embark on a journey of a lifetime. Tomorrow I will leave my hometown and go to Washington D.C. (my  4th time..this year!) for orientation. Then on Friday, I will depart from the USA to Germany by plane at 17:30 (5:30 p.m.). Finally, I will arrive in Germany on Saturday morning around 7:30 a.m.

Right now, I feel very excited. I am so thankful that I even have this opportunity. I just want to thank everyone who has supported me starting from when I decided to study abroad: my family, friends, the AFS volunteers, fellow AFSers, my teachers and peers, coworkers, and everyone else (there is just too many to name). Thank you, I will make you guys proud by being a valuable representative of the US and learning as much as I can. See you guys in 10 months. Make sure to follow my adventures here on my blog!

Goodbye, Pennsylvania. Goodbye, USA, Hallo, Deutschland.