Silvester

Happy New Year :) 

Bringing in the New Year was really special. I really enjoyed spending time to laugh and hang out to bring in the New Year. We ate alot, played alot, and danced. Well maybe I was doing a little more dancing than the others but I really enjoyed myself. Goals for the New Year? I think that I always have lists in my mind of here I want to be. I never thought that I would be here last year.

When I could make a list it would be to:

- read more in German

- Travel more (planning a trip to France, Bavaria, Italy, and some other awesome places).

- Use my Bahn Card (Train Ticket) to its limits, see all that there is to see.

- Take a German Course

- Find an Idea for my Ambassador Projekt

- Take a creative Class

- Fill out more Scholarship Applications

ImageImage

Image

Weihnachten

The Holidays this year came so quickly. I was really surprised to realize that my time here is almost halfway through. In a way that makes me feel really sentimental. I cannot believe how long  six months sounds as apposed to how it is to experience. Wow. I do not think that I would ever be able to imagine such a thing in my wildest dreams. I talked with a good friend of mine this week. We were joking around about the Mayan Calendar ending and all of that good stuff. She asked me what I would be doing when the world ended. It took me a long time to think about it. It would be easy to say something like Skydiving or another totally extreme activity (at least for me it would be), but at this point in my life I am not sure that I would change anything. The way that I am learning something new literally everyday, about myself and those around me, is priceless. Sure I would love to be doing something totally exciting and ground-breaking everyday, and sure things are not perfect, but when will they ever be? The way that my host sister and I understand each other and can laugh until we cry together is priceless. The way that my host mom is totally loving and understanding, patient, and willing to teach me about life, is priceless. The way in which literally every single person that I meet is in one way or another my teacher is amazing. People that can learn from the good and the bad have more pleasures in life. My friend shared with me a concept. We sometimes think that easier is better. Difficult things build character, even though it is hard. The worst thing is making or expecting  it to be easy. I will not lie, it is hard because it is completely uncomfortable sometimes, but this is an experience that I will never have again. It has changed my life.

The Skinny on my German Christmas:

Christmas oder Weihnachten ist three days long. The 24th, 25th, and 26th are celebrated. I find this really practical because you have enough time for gatherings and you have more than one day to get that warm and cozy feeling inside. I am not sure how that is for you but the day after Christmas, I am usually looking around and thinking, “What now?”. My festivities really began on the 23rd. We set up the tree and Nativity Scene (Krippe). C and I got ready for our Christmas Conzert. Sing Noel was the theme and we sang everything in Swahili. Who knew that I would be coming all the way to Germany in order to learn an African language. my favorite from us. totally silly but that is ok. MUAH halfway decent SAM_0221 SAM_0220

Their songs were so cute.

Their songs were so cute.

I invited this couple to my conzert. They attend my church. I was soooo overly delighted to have them come and see me perform because they lived more than an hour away. Church family is the best.

I invited this couple to my conzert. They attend my church. I was soooo overly delighted to have them come and see me perform because they lived more than an hour away. Church family is the best.

Supportive friends are always appreciated. SAM_0217 SAM_0218 SAM_0219 JugendChor The Band.

I definitely thought the conzert to be a success. I also had a solo that went well. I think I cal only say that because no one there spoke Swahili :) As we were packing up I heard the news that my Host-Unkel BROKE HIS LEG! They were here all the way from Vienna for the holidays. That was definitely a downer because we were going to go rock climbing… but no I’m trying not the think of myself. He was operated on and the whole nine yards. He proved to be a really good sport and was able to celebrate Christmas and New Years at home. When we got home from the Conzert we settled around the table to a Fondue Dinner. I automatically thought of oozy cheese or chocolate but it was different. We had three different types of meat that we cooked and had mit Salat, sauces, vegetables, and seasonings. It was really nice. My host brother and his girlfriend were also by us for the evening. We celebrated our way until the next day. So at one or so we opened presents and hung out. The fire was crackling, drinks flowing, and fun was had by all. Arbeiten Zusammen SAM_0241 SAM_0243 SAM_0244

Ich hatte dumm gefragt ob wir ungekocht Fleisch essen würde. Ich hab dass gar nicht so lustig gefunden wann die Antwort "Ja" war.lol.

Ich hatte dumm gefragt ob wir ungekocht Fleisch essen würde. Ich hab dass gar nicht so lustig gefunden wann die Antwort “Ja” war.lol.

SAM_0246

The day of the 24th we played games and set up our tree. We had to hurry to get to an evening Mass. Time was slipping away but first we stopped to see a dear family friend that was unfortunately in the hospital over the holidays. We sang and sang, and I think that it was appreciated. It was weird how being in the hospital reminded me of being at home. I always go with my mom and sometimes see her patients too. It was just one of those things that made me think about my loved ones. To be honest the church was full and we were late, so I did not really enjoy the service. We did see some familiar faces and then came home to celebrate some more with the family.

St. Franzika

 

On the day of the 25th, we spent more time relaxing and eating, playing games and singing. It was all easy. I also talked to my family on Skype. It was cool to present one family to another on such a special day. On the morning of the 26th, even more family came to eat breakfast together. We were almost twenty people all together. We also got the news that one of my host sisters is pregnant! That was a really exciting announcement. The days almost ran together. My German Christmas Experience went well and I am also glad that I could spend it with such a great family.

The Netherlands: Holland

In Herbstferien, I expected to be spending some quality time at home. The two weeks that were to come were a pleasant surprise. If I can just be frank school is draining. I was so excited to get away for a couple of days. Everyday was filled with amazing fresh food, walking on the beach, playing card games, long bike rides, and soaking up the sun shine.

This is the part of holland where we stayed. We were only a couple of minutes from the beach.

This is the part of holland where we stayed. We were only a couple of minutes from the beach. It was actually pretty awesome that we could go to the beach and see Russia oder Russland.

IMG_1948 IMG_1949 IMG_1935 IMG_1933 IMG_1961 IMG_1974 IMG_2031 IMG_2037

Fake It Til’ You Make It?

imgres

Language learning… I was so nervous on the first day of meeting my host mom. I had no idea how my German would be accepted. My host mom actually picked me up from camp and we shared a LONG ride to Køln (my city). She was very understanding and really made an effort to listen without judging. I appreciated it. Langauge immersion in the 21st Century might be a modern myth. I have heard the horror stories of the people that stayed in a country for years and still failed to master the language. I did not want that to be me. The main reason why it is so hard is because your average German has a great grasp of English. You will also find the eager Germans looking to practice their skills, or boost their confidence. That can be a struggle, especially when you yourself are not at a place of total competency. If you are willing to stick to your guns, it is easy to spend days in German. My Kryptonite, the single object that I could not say no too, was and still is my laptop. I told myself that Facebook was off-limits thinking that would cut my time in half. The honest truth is that I began to do thing that were not even necessary like reading old school papers and deleting old emails, anything that was in English was devoured. I am not proud of this. “Use your time wisely”, I remember this phrase from a wise teacher of mine,  it was always so simple but never easy to follow.

In the beginning I could only catch keywords and answer to the best of my knowledge. That provided some interesting situations in the beginning. As the first few Months went by language was a real pain in the butt. Every question, joke, and conversation took pain staking concentration and focus. The funny thing is that people were always so nice and willing to teach. Even though I was speaking like a child my opinion still mattered. I really credit my family, school, and friends, as being my first teachers. It is the fourth month, and I am making considerable progress. In the beginning my goal was to become fluent and wow everyone I knew with my talents, but now I am learning to be more realistic.

Language Camp at Schloss Wittigenstein

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am really happy to say that I would not have wanted to begin my German Experience any other way. Camp was literally the camp that I never got to go to as a child. I felt like I was in a dream for most of it. Every single detail from my roomates to my friends to the lessons I learned, all of it was meaningful and helpful. There are a couple of moments that stand out in my mind.

The Sermon on the Mountain. Early in the morning, my roomies and I climbed the mountain behind our school with bibles and a ukelele. We were going to meet God. That sounds deep but as the wind blew and our songs reached the Heavens, I could not help but feel like we were experiencing a little slice of heaven. We were so open about our situations, our hopes and dreams. I would not trade them or that moment for anything.

Dance Sessions, Uninhibited laughter, and Real talk. I have never felt so comfortable with a group of friends than with than at camp. My roommates were real with me. I cherish those moments when the lights went out and we spoke into the darkness. So many things were symbolic in the simplest forms. From the shared dreams that we would analyse, to the silly videos, they understood me.

My small group :) Besides our reputation of being the best, my small group was the BOOMBE! lol It must have been something in the air in Bad Lassphe but I had no intention of holding anything back. My emotions were an open book. Now maybe I should clear something up, I was not going around to every person giving them hefty helping of “Camille’s Modern Life: The Trilogy – Bad Lassphe Edition”, but I was willing to be completely open and truthful with myself and others who were interested. I wonder how meaningful life would be if we acted like that everyday. On our first meeting as a group, we told stories about our lives. We made a trees. As I tried the give meaning to every branch and leaf, the emotions started to flow. I started to think of how good my tree was. I am really blessed. How much time have I spent crying and mopping about my life and the things that I want, when everything is good. As we went around the table, everyone had something different. I felt so honored to be there with people that had less and made more out of their situations. Yeah, Linda was leader and the best (no contest).