Transitions

This is not the Christmas post. That one will come in the next couple of days.

This is the “I’m moving into a completely different phase of my life in Germany” post, For more reasons than one.

First off, I have now been here for six months. Six. Half a year. And it feels like I just got here. I’m halfway through my exchange already. It’s a really wierd feeling to have been here for that long already, because I’m just starting to get settled. I know I’ve said that before. But I’m past the point of just “having friends” now. I’m to the point that I have some really good friends. And it’s sad that I’m leaving again in six months, so soon after I met them.

Secondly, I’m moving from the school part of my time here to the internship part. (This is sort of a life-change as well, as I will never again be a student in any sort of school except college). Thursday was the last day of school before break, and as the teachers and everyone figured that people wouldn’t really be paying attention anyway, it was a day of Christmas parties and cleaning the room before break. It was wierd for me, because it was also my last day. I think that it’s difficult to know what it will feel like to leave until you actually leave. And it’s sad, in this case. I had a really good time at school. I don’t remember if I mentioned this in one of my early posts or not, but the other kids were way more welcoming than I had expected and that’s not something that’s easy to leave. My German is a lot better than it was in August, (thanks to, among others, Mr. Paul Weiss who has a special talent for improving my accent), and I can truthfully say that the entire time I was at school I felt comfortable, and not like people were annoyed that the American was there or like I was just an foreign oddity. And now I’m leaving that. Leaving that comfort zone.

To go where? I haven’t written about my internship in…a long time, partly because it was still unclear what exactly I would be doing. But, the plan at this point is to work three days a week in a place that is right across the street from the school I as going to.It is a mix of a nursing home and a place for disabled people, some of whom live there and some who do not. There are also workshops in the back where the disabled people build and repair things-baskets, tables, etc, etc. I’m going to have a couple days to do different things before I decide exactly what I want to do and in which section I will work. I’m really looking forward to it, in any case. The other two days a week I will be here in Bad Kleinen working at the school, like I had originally planned to do five days a week. That will be a mix of tasks as well, and my exact schedule has yet to be determined as well.

As it’s Christmas, I think I’ll leave off here and go do Christmasy things. I hope Santa brings everyone joy and presents this evening.

HOHOHO!

Katherine

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A journal entry

I’d like to just copy word for word what I wrote in my journal a couple days ago, because it is quite blog worthy, just not yet written here. It’s a couple days old, but for y’all in the US, you won’t notice.

September 15, 2011

I usually write on days that are down days, but today was a good day, and I feel like I should record it. I feel like I actually have friends now at school so I don’t have to feel awkward at school standing around and not knowing anyone. I’ve determined that the people who don’t want to talk to me don’t have to and I don’t particularly care. There are a lot of other people who are really nice and want to get to know me and I figure that’s what I should focus on anyway.

This week is Jubilaums week (School’s 20th birthday) so I haven’t had any real class and I’ve had a lot of time to just hang out with people. Yesterday I went to a friends house and baked cookies. Today I baked brownies. Baking is fun and it’s a good way to make friends, too.

I also discovered the woods this week. There’s a ton of paths and places to walk where I can be by myself in nature which is really nice. A couple days ago I went out for about an hour and a half with my iPod. Then, I met a friend of the family who is going to become a friend of mine and we went into the woods with the dog for another hour and a half, talking the whole time without any wierd awkward silences. Then, yesterday I went to her house and corrected her English homework and we walked the dog again. She’s very nice and thoughtful and easy to talk to so I’m happy. And she lives here (in Bad Kleinen) and is my age which is even better.

Yesterday/today I also got a job as an English tutor for a sixth grader. I still need to figure out what the working price will be, but I’m glad to be able to make a bit of money and teach English too. Yesterday I also set up the first meeting of grownup English lessons. I have to think of a good topic still, but that will start Monday here at the house and I’m in charge.

Today I went to band practice for the first time and had a really really good time. Andrew (the other CBYXer living near me) was there, so I got to speak some American English for the first time in a long time which was nice. The rest of the people there were really cool as well, and easy to get along with. A very wide range of ages, but everyone is nice. The music was very oom pa pa ish which isn’t what I’m used to but it’s really fun and not too hard to play.

I feel like I’m at such a good age/stage in my life to be here right now. It really is a gap year-half high school and kid stuff, and half grownup internship job like stuff. I’m not really a kid or an adult, so I have a lot of freedom to do what I want and be independent if I want to, but I also have a family here that can help me if I’m feeling lost and alone. Very good situation. Plus, I have time to sleep if I get tired. That is a luxury that I have never really experienced, and it’s a fantastic feeling. I can actually think, and understanding German is a lot easier too when I’m awake.

Katherine

A Weekend of New

Well. I am certainly no longer in Munich. My new town is called Bad Kleinen, and it’s on the Baltic Sea (or about 20 minutes from it in a car). The whole town has the same number of people in it as Cherry Creek High School, but so far I really like it.

I arrived on Saturday, which happened to be my birthday. The train ride consisted mostly of me sleeping due to the necessary pre-departure from Munich partying until 6am. I had no trouble finding my family due to the very large number of suitcases I was carrying, and we went directly home. Home is really lovely. My bedroom is bigger than the one I have in the US and the bed is VERY comfortable (although that might just be because I’ve been really tired the past couple days…)The house is right next to the forest which means there’s bad internet connection but deer come into the yard randomly. Good and bad. There are three cats which I’m happy about and some guinea pigs and a hare too. 🙂

Once I had settled in a little, I was tricked into thinking we were going out to dinner, but when we arrived at the dinner place there was a big sheet that said Happy Birthday and Welcome. So there was a party of sorts for me. There’s another girl going to the US for 10 months with YFU on September 8th so it was a co hello goodbye party for us. Lots of names but everyone was really nice and I had a really good time.

Sunday morning is pancake morning. This is a tradition I think I’ll be able to get used to. Since not much is open in the way of shops, Sunday is a long breakfast day and then a rest day. I think that’s good for my style of life. This weekend was a little different because in Wismar (the city nearest me), there was a Schwedenfest going on to celebrate (or at least recognize) the fact that the Swedes used to live here. That was a few hours of the afternoon and then back home to eat and unpack and go back to bed.

Today was my first day of school. Everyone was nicer to me than I was expecting, which is good because I wasn’t expecting them to be mean. People came with me to find the principal or dean person so I could figure out what my schedule looks like and they weren’t clicky which was really good. Today started with English class where we read an exceprt from Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat, which I thought was an interesting assignment. The German teacher is in the US right now so that was two hours break where I could talk to people. Then came four hours of science. Two biology and two chemistry. Oh my goodness. I’ve never done biology in my life as it is, so today was a little…difficult. Partly because it’s in German and partly because I don’t know what a membrane is. Chemistry was a little better, but my fatigue level at the moment is quite high. Tomorrow I will be brining a dictionary with me. Random other thought that belongs in this paragraph-I’m going to Gymnasium until Christmas, so I’ll have time to get to know some people.

Perhaps a little about my family. I don’t know how the whole selection process for this Congress Bundestag Vocational Program thing works, but this family is great for me. The two oldest brothers have moved out already, but I met both of them this weekend and both seem really nice. Madita is my host sister. She’s 14 and in 9th grade. We get along really well so far. She goes to the same school as me so she showed me around today and helped me with the bus etc which was wonderful because it’s always difficult at first. Meike is my host mom. She works in a store of some sort (where I’m currently using the internet) that sells yarn and also seems to serve as a post office of sorts. It’s a good place to be if you’re me. I think I’ll probably end up helping out here after school sometimes. Robert is my dad, and I really like him as well. I’m still working on figuring out exactly what his job is but it has something to do with weapon disposal. He’s very friendly and just a nice guy. I think what I like best about my situation at the moment is that it’s fairly low stress. I’m here, but I feel like I just fit in without really needing to try. It’s really lovely. And, in case you were wondering, everyone is REALLY tall. I feel incredibly short. But that’s just if you were wondering 🙂

All in all, I’m happy. Good luck to everyone who’s just starting college! Have a good time 🙂