Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Putting One Foot In front of The Other; Taking One Day At a Time.

      Some of you might be thinking, "FINALLY! AN UPDATE!" I know, it's been awhile. I've been very busy lately, and haven't really had enough energy at the end of the day to update, so I formally apologize :)
      To be completely honest though, not much has happened in these past few weeks. I've been keeping very busy with my schooling. One day, I had an 8 hour day of school-four of those hours, I was in a math class. Not as much fun as it sounds though :p Each day in school, we get out at a different time. The school system isn't too bad though, but that could just seem that way because I can't understand what's being said most of the time :p :) I've officially made one friend, and I felt like a little kid on Christmas when I did! :D it was a great feeling.
      There was also, on August 21st, an anual celebration of my village's establishment. There was a short, but nice, parade with a marching band :) being the band geek that I proudly am, I was doing the counting (ONE cross TWO cross/ONE and TWO and, etc...) ^_^ There was a little girl that was representing a club, and she had a stick and was mimicing the director of the band with it :) it was rather adorable, and funny, to see :) .
      I have officially began my German-Learning and Speaking class. It's three days a week, for eight week, an hour and a half.. My teacher seems nice. She's from Russia, and speaks no English.
      One of my host sister's (Theresa) friends had a birthday party, so I got the privilage to attend. Her, and her entire family, were much fun to be around-so I really enjoyed it. We watched a movie, called "The Two Eared Chicken". It was...interesting :p .That same day, we picked up two Chinese short-term exchange students. One of which, stayed with me and my host family for her time being here.
      We also got a really intense storm. We've had storms a lot, but this one was just EPIC. The windows in the house were shaking, we lost power for over two hours, the basement got flooded, and we had clothes that were hung up outside (intended to be put out to dry, but that didn't exactly happen :p )-some of which were lost. My host family said that they've never had a storm that did any of that before, so I was their source of comfort-what a switch! :D
      I also got to have an experience that most exchange students don't get; or at least not three/four weeks into their exchange :p .I had to go to a hospital for about three days. It was just this past weekend, actually. We had a Rotary Weekend, and I haven't been feeling that great lately. Well, you know how it turned out :p .All is fine now though, so absolutely no worries ^_^. I didn't know anyone there, so it was interesting. I had nice roomates though, and the doctors for the most part were nice as well. Hospital food here? -not too bad actually :D but I talked to my host family about that, and they said that it just depends on the hospital; not much different from the states, aye?
      That's basically all I have to report :) Hopefully, I'll get back on track with having a weekly blog. If you have any requests on what you wish for me to talk about, or any questions at all-just ask. you can e-mail me (, skype (emily.fields6), comment on here,...however you wish ^_^.

~A Smile is a curved line, that sets everything straight.~

It's not all just fun and games?! O.o

I've gotten the request to talk about some of the struggles that I've faced thus far in my exchange. Some of you maybe surprised that there have been challenges already. But, before I go on-I would like to apologize for not being able to update my blog for awhile. I'll have another blog following this that will go into more detail about all of that.

      Struggles. They're real. Back at home, everyone warned us of the "Roller Coaster" that we'd be experencing. However, that "Roller Coaster" that they all talked about was on a monthly time frame. Throughout my exchange, everyday is like a roller coaster. The "Roller Coaster" feeling though, depends on the student and sistuations that they're put through.

     1)  HOMESICKNESS. We were all warned about this, as well. However, being in the state of mind that I used to be in, I never even took this into concideration of a possibility. Never would I've guess that I would be home-sick; let alone so much, so fast. How do you deal with it? -this too depends on how the exchange student is. Most find it better to be kept busy, and getting out of the house. One good thing comes from being homesick, though: you realize just how much people truly mean to you. You become so grateful of the people in your life back at home.
      2) LETTING GO. Home is always going to be apart of you. But being away, and getting homesick, you want to keep holding onto that part of you. I'll tell you right now; it's so much easier if you let it go. Home is still going to be there at the end of your will just be a litte different, just like you will be different when you return. If you keep holding on, it takes a lot longer to adapt to the culture of your current country; it makes everything a lot harder in general.
      3) SMILING; AT ALL TIMES. Let's face it; smiling at all times is almost impossible unless you get too much Botox or something along those lines. What I've learned, is that some people get offended if you look at them and smile. In school, if you don't know a person, and you smile at them-be prepared to get a dirty look. It's hard to tell what people won't mind a smile.
      4) MAKING FRIENDS. <-that pretty much says it all, yes? Until you get a good grasp of the culture, and language, making friends is going to be one of the hardest things to accomplish. Give it time, be patient, and friends will eventually be made.
      5) TALKING. I've found it very hard to speak in as much German as I know. Feeling insecure is a feeling that consumes you. But you MUST break through that barrier. If you do that, you'll begin to learn the language faster. Keep in mind, that people LOVE knowing that you're putting effort into learning their language. Plus, when you're trying to talk in the language, and you mess something up-it's always a good laugh for them, and sometimes it's a good way to make friends.
      6) ACCEPTING CHANGE. Change is inevitable, but it can be a really scary thing. For me, I've been going through constant battles with change. I've been scared to just take in all of the change, afraid that it will change me to the point that when I go back home, I'll have no one that will want to still be my friend. Yet, I want the change so badly and I'm excited about it. Then I get scared again, because I don't know if the change will be an all around, good change. If you just accept the changes, things will be easier, and a lot less stressful.
      There are many more challenges that I've faced, and continue to face, but I think this is enough to talk about for now.
      People can warn you all they want, but there's a good change that you'll be just like how I was and not really pay attention to what they say. I ask you personally, to just keep their words of advise in mind. They really do know what they're talking about though, I know that for a fact now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week One; continued

In the morning, Doris and I walked through the village to go to the bakery, and the post office. We picked up about 8 Brötchen (rolls), and pickeda up Luisa's contacts. When we went shopping, we also went to the Library to get Luisa's books for school. And Theresa and Luisa also picked out a book for me to help me with learning German. The library was HUGE. simply huge. but beautiful none the less. Today was also the 50th anniversary of the Berlin wall being knocked down! :D! So, at night, we watched a movie (it was in German, so I'm not sure exactly what was said and such but...) about the Berlin Wall being built. It was about how a teenaged boy was separated from his parents, because the day that they decided to make a line that couldn't be crossed, his parents were visiting a friend, and he was at school. It showed the struggles and hurt that both, and everyone really, went through, and how desperate they became to get to the other side of the wall.
Woke up to something I might not get used to: CHURCH BELLS. Loud, and continuous for over 20 minutes! We live almost right across the street from the church, so they were extremely loud-especially for someone who isn't used to them. Normally, I would get annoyed, but I'm just pretending that they're greeting me, and telling me good morning! :) Theresa and I made a cake today! and muffins!!! :D the muffins had mandrin oranges in it-which tasted really good. The cake, looks more like a pie to be honest :p On the bottom of it, was like the cake batter/crust stuff, then on top we put rasberries, then on top of THAT we put some of the batter/crust around the edges, and sprinkled sugar over the entire thing. Everyday thus far, I've helped make at least one meal :) I love it :D.Breakfast for today was outside. Breakfast, at least for this family, is a choice of: bread, quark, strawberry/rasberry jam/jelly, butter (to put on the bread of course), a few selections of meat (another choice to put on your bread), sometimes cheese, and cereal with fruit and your choice of either milk or yogurt. To drink is normally coffee and/or tea. I have noticed that when it comes to measuring ingredients, they weigh it. I thought that was pretty neat! :D Today, I aslo got to meet the grandparents! I not only met Oma und Opa, but also an Uncle, and two cousins. Opa is how I've always imagined older German people being: he has a rounded nose, a beer belly, big bushy eyebrows, a smile like he doesn't have anything to be sad about, he's just adorable for an old man! :D Oma...Oma kindof scares me. She seems stern, but she's nice and friendly :) .At their house, they have some chickens, a rooster, a bunny (named Tequilla-spelling I'm not sure on), a guinnea pig, about 22 deer (obese one=Otto, he's the only one that will walk up to you and eat the food out of your hand), and a dog (Carlos). I got to feed Otto and the rest of the deer! It was fun ^_^
Went to HAMBURG today! It was a three hour train ride to get there. I went with Theresa and one of her friends that's in Rotex. Hamburg is enormous!!! We went on a boat ride to take a better look at, and around, the Port/Harbor. Then, we walked around and found a wax museum, so we decided to adventure into it. It was pretty creepy in my opinion, but i got pictures from it ^_^ . I also got to try this ice cream called "soft ice"-which was REALLY delicious.
Doris went to work in Helmstadt, so it was just Luisa, Theresa, and I for breakfast. After that, we did our chore for the day: to pick apples from the yard for Oma und Opa. Theresa climbed the tree and was shaking some apples down (not sure why, but it was highly entertaining :) ). We then set to work on part of Doris's birthday present. So, we intensely cleaned off the patio furniture (wooden desk and chairs), in preperation for staining them.I helped Luisa make lunch again. I also went to Helmstadt again (will probably be going there a lot).
Last night, Theresa and I went over to Julia's house (Theresa ended up spending the night there) to watch a movie. It was the movie 2012. It was pretty interesting, and after it was over, we talked about how we think the world will end, when it will end, etc...we all agreed that anything can happen at anytime, and you have to keep your mind open to the world of possibilities (which applies for anything, really). After the movie was over, Luisa came and picked me up, and we went home. Today we stained the chairs and desk, and they turned out very nice. Theresa later on in the day had a friend over (so did Luisa), so we played UNO! :D I tried teaching them how to make the bridge thing when you're shuffling the cards, which was fun to see the cards fly everywhere :p .Then, we went outside and played badmitton :) We later had supper outside, and got attacked by bees! xD
First day of definitely did not go as planned, and not very well. Let's just leave it at that, I survived, so that's all that matters! :D Later on, Doris had her birthday party. I got to meet some of her friends and more family. This guy named Harry (reminds me of the commercial back at home: "That's one bad hat, Harry"), was halarious. He would talk to me in German, making these overly-exaggurated gestures :) I can't really explain him much further, but was great xD
Second Day of school: got out at 11:20 am! I was so excited! Today, in school, was just a "Sport" day. We were all outside for the time that we were there. We were playing this game that's sortof like hockey, only not. It involved a ball, with smaller sticks. It was interesting. I didn't play all that much (due to me not feeling the greatest) though. But, we ended up getting a lot of rain, and nothing else was planned-so they let us go home early :). Since we got out ealry, and Doris was in Helmstadt, she picked us up, and we went to get a few groceries, came home and had lunch, then we all took a nice nap <3 :) At around 17:30 we had to leave for a Rotary meeting. It was a very nice meeting, held in a castle that's over 800 years old. We all sat around this big table, were given something to drink, and the meeting began. All of us, including host parents and siblings, introduced ourselves. We then took a tour of the castle-it was extremely beautiful. I'm begining to realize that most everything is going to seem big to me :p. At this meeting, I was able to meet my next family, and my potential families. The exchange students were all given a little gift that was originally thought up by the Myans: it's a little bag that has little wooden, decorated, people in it. What you do, is if you're worried about something, you tell that worry to these people, put the people in the bag and the bag under your pillow, and when you wake up the next morning your worry will be lifted. I think it's pretty interesting, and will most definitely be trying it out in the near future.
Today was mostly spent in Braunschweig (mom, this is the place I was talking about in my e-mail). It was spent with the other exchange students in/near Helmstadt, and a member of rotex (also a sister of one of the exchange students). It was pretty fun/good. We had Itlian foor for lunch, at this place called Vapiano. It was delicious! I had a peperoni pizza, and so did one other student. the others had pasta. The pizza was hand-made, had hardly any excess greese...ah, it was GOOOOOD. Most of the people we encountered could instantly tell that we weren't from here, so when we spoke German to them, the responded in English. We ventured into a Catholic church that was set up like a museum, and it was very extravagent. Pictures? -OF COURSE! :D! while there, we all sat down in the chairs, and began talking about different religions, and how we feel about religion in general. We each realized how complex it can get. a girl from Brazil told us about how there are several people that live in Brazil, that don't know they exist-and vise versa. She explained that people were wanting to meet the people, but it's forbiden because if they did so, they would completely shake their world, which could be disasterous. It would sortof be like when exchange students go to another country; the citizens of that country are sometimes really shaken.
When it came time to leave, we arrived at the train station a minute before the train left, so we had to RUN to get to it in time. When I got home, we had to leave almost immediately to go to Doris's brother's birthday party. It was a very good time. I met his neighbors, some friends, and a little more family. One of the neighbors was extremely nice, and talked to me a lot-asking what I wanted to do after high school, why I wanted to come to Germany, what I like to do, etc...Theresa, Katja, and I played UNO and a different card game that is a really old game-one that Doris played when she was a little child. I successfully taught both how to make the bridge thing for shuffling the cards-so I was proud ^_^. Oma, Doris, and I walked around in their garden, and they taught me how to say the names of the vegetables in German, and i got to feed the deer again-this time with apples! We didn't get back home until really late, but again-I had a good time.

Next blog: in about a week! :)
Have questions? -well, ask them! ^_^

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Week One: CHECK.

A TON of stuff has went on this first week. So, prepare yourself for one epically long blog! :D
Let's start with the eleventh of August...
Went to the bank! I became, officially, a resident of the Sielemann's house! I got signed up for a card that I will be getting my monthly allowance from the Rotary (which I'm supposed to be getting in the mail, I believe). I also discovered something I found rather odd about their stop lights: When it's getting ready to turn green, the light still remains on red, but will also show yellow for a second or two before turning green. Kindof cool, in my opinion :) At the gas stations here, it's also a little different. Here, you fill up at the pump, then, once you have all the gas that you wish/can get-you get back into your car, and drive a little ahead of where the pumps are, and it's basically like a drive through to pay for the gas! how interesting, right?! I have also discovered that ice cream here; if you wish to have chocolate ice cream, you will get Vanilla ice cream, but with a chocolate syrup/fudge. I don't know that it's like that everywhere though.
The food here, I have recently discovered, is pretty good. Most foods, such as tomatoes, I really disliked in the States, but here...I don't know-they taste different; better, if you will. The food in general here is pretty dang good! :D Today, I also got to go by and see my school! -it's HUGE!!!!
Luisa had an online test to take that was for the job she's interesting in (the Volkswaggon company). So, that was pretty intense! Later, we went to Helmstadt! Which, is like a ten minute drive. We got some groceries, and some paint for Luisa to paint her room. The paint here, doesn't come in the cans. Rather, it comes in tubes-like what you would put left over food in! I thought that was pretty neat to see :) .Theresa stayed at home though. While getting the groceries, it's like a little mall! It was adorable ^_^ when you first walk in the doors, you see a variety of stores. One, was where you take bottles (if you bring back one bottle; you get 25 cents! woo-hoo! :D -easy way to make a little cash :) ).I learned that we live really close to where the Berlin Wall used to be! So, a lot of people from the east side come over to Helmstadt to shop because it's cheaper. Also, here, people do not have a dryer for clothes, only a washing machine! They hang up the clothes to dry, and if they get wrinkly, you simply iron them! :) WAY TO SAVE ENERGY, DEUTSCHLAND! <3 Later on, Doris, Theresa, and I played a game! It was pretty fun, and challenging. It's hard to explain virtually, so ask me when I get home about it, if you wish to know ^_^ .
(rest of the week: to be continued! :D anticipation!! ^_^ )

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ich bin in Deutschland jetzt!

I am in Germany now! It is so beautiful! I definitely still have jetlag, but it isn't too bad. My family, as expected, is very nice an welcoming. They met me at the Hannover airport, and had a huge sign with my name on it-in addition to a few other welcoming words/phrases. They seemed very excited to meet me, and I was relieved that meeting them wasn't akward. :D
      My house, is so adorable! It's has all been painted and decorated with vibrant colors! It's a two story house that has both an attick and a basement. Every room is painted in bright colors, except for the upstiars bathroom which is white, with blue splashes of color. The Wohnzimmer (living room) is green with off-white accents.
      As for my room, it's very comfortable and spacious. I have a window on the far wall, and two plants that rest on the window sill. Adjacent from the wall that has the window, is a dresser. Above it, a mirror. There is no closet, however, so all of my clothes are rolled up and put into it. If you turn about 90 degrees, you'll be facing the entrance to my room. On the back of my door, hangs my hoodies. Then, on that same wall, is a desk-not much on it at the moment, but that'll change once school starts (18, August 2011). Turning another 90 degrees, you'll find my bed. :) it's really comfortable! :D the blankets only come up to my waist, so that will take some getting used to-just like everything else :p
      Enough of describing one room onto what I've experienced thus far: First, one simple word that all travlers hate...JETLAG. I've never actually had it all that bad until now, but oh well ^_^ it's part of the experience! :D Moving on... the toilets. You maybe thinking, "toilets? seriously? out of all the things to talk about, you pick toilets?!" well, the toilets are vastly different, so don't judge ;) . the "flusher" in america, you one push once then it makes that *wooooshhhh* kindof sound that sometimes scares little kids. here, you must press it twice. once to make the *wooooshhhh* begin, the other to make it stop. The toilet paper, honestly feels like a paper towel (the american paper towel). then the paper towels here, are softer than the toilet paper! That was an odd realization. :p Today, Meine mutter und schwester, Theresa, took me to das Bank to get me officially registered in Germany, and so I could get a Visa of some sort. they also then showed me how to work their ATMs. After we ate lunch, meine familie und ich went to Helmstadt. Meine Mutter went to work: Luisa, Theresa, und ich walked around for about two hours or so. We went into a few stores, then we went to a T-Mobile store so I could obtain a phone card. While still waiting for Mutter to finish at work, we drove to where my school is. My school is big, in my opinion. But it's apparently one of the smaller schools. It's up on a mountain, and near the forest. I will be signing up for Volleyball a little after school starts. :)
      Here, if you want Chokolade Eis (chocolate ice cream), you get vanille but with a chocolate type of syrup. I don't know if that's just at the place we went (a McDonalds :p ), or if it's like that everywhere. 
      Speed here is a completely different concept. 50 miles/hour is concidered slow! They typically are driving at about 80 km/hour. I love it! :D
      On 19, August, I will be attending my first German concert!
Well, I've spent enough time on the computer for today; goodnight! (well, good afternoon for those of you in America!) Auf Wiedersehn!

Monday, August 8, 2011

the night before;

Twas the night before Christmas...
haha, psyche!
-the night before I leave for Germany, of course. :)
      I am officially all the way packed! A little later than planned, but hey-better late than never :D
      Tomorrow, I will be waking up at about 5:30 to get ready. We leave Logansport at about 8:00 in the morning. Then head to Indianapolis. But on the way, we'll be picking up one of my very good friends :)
      Naturally, I'm extremely nervous and terrified. Yet, at the exact same time, I'm happy and excited. This will most definitely be the hardest year of my life thus far, but in the end-I just know that it'll be worth it.
      At this point: I would like to take the time to thank numerous people.
~the Rotary: you have helped me change a TON already. and the changes i've gone through, and will go through...i could never repay you all enough.
~my parents: you guys...just for everything. i can't even elaborate much, because you both have done so much for me. i appreciate it much more than either of you may know.
~my sister:'re just great, lol. You've done so much to help me through this entire thing. You've been so supportive, and always listened when I needed it most. Especially when I began to get really scared about all of this.
~friends: you ALL...i don't even know the right words to thank you've been so supportive-you'll never know just how much that means to me...
~church: everything. you all have helped with everything. support, guidance, love, etc...thank you from the depths of my heart...
      Well, it's off to bed for me :) I will update you all as soon as possible :D -wish me luck!