An incredible amount has happened since the last time that I wrote (including the degradation of my English speaking skills) but here’s what I have been up to:
I have been in Germany now for about 3 months and at my new home and school for 2 months. I must say, I am having simply the most amazing time here. This opportunity to live and study in Germany is something that I am thankful for everyday. There have been so many moments, where I look around and realize how happy I am in my day to day life and how much I love Germany.
As I was biking home from school one day this month, it began to rain. Really hard. Rain droplets were dribbling off of my helmet and I, as well as all of my stuff, was quickly drenched. Oddly, I was anything but unhappy with this situation. I looked around at the beautiful colors of the forrest I was riding through, realizing how lovely my town is and it registered with me that I was entirely content to be biking in the rain and perfectly fine that I was soaking wet. Why? Because I was already wet;there was nothing I could do to change that, and when I would arrive home, I would be dry again, and it wouldn’t really matter that it had rained. The same applies in my life here and especially in school: biking through the rain is much like navigating my way through German. Making mistakes or perhaps saying something embarrassing due to misunderstanding is something that is inevitable and something that I am unable to change. But, rather than being uncomfortable with participating in school or saying something incorrect, I can choose to not be troubled by this perception and simply continue biking on, enjoying the way. Having realized that eventually I will be able to “dry off” (i.e. feel at home with the language), I have seen incredible growth in my German and a complete happiness with my life here. Of course full participation in another language is a process that takes time. But with my two months here, I am proud to say that I have written essays, read countless difficult texts, took part in tests, answered a couple times in class, worked hours on homework, and even wrote a politics exam. I am definitely looking forward to see where my progress is in a few months!
Perhaps some of this contemplation was spurred by the wonderful vacation that I took with my host family during Herbst Ferien (fall break) this month. Our first stop on this trip was something that I will never forget: Oktoberfest in München. Oktoberfest is truly something to experience-it’s filled with festive music, Lederhosen and Dirndl wearing visitors, warm sugar coated nuts, vast and ornate tents where thousands of people eat classic Bavarian roasted chickens and drink from Steins (and sometimes dance on the benches of the tables), and of course general gute Laune (good mood). After a great night at Oktoberfest, we headed to our vacation house, tucked in the hills of Tuscany. Every morning, the light fog would crest the hills that overlooked our house and we would all enjoy a nice large spread of breads, meats, and cheeses for breakfast as we simultaneously enjoyed the beauty of the property. We made many small excursions, where we discovered lovely little towns, hiked many a tower, visited a winery, and accidentally bought an ice-cream for 10 Euros in Florence. In Tuscany, I also discovered how nice it is to simply be with my lovely host family. We played Badminton, Volleyball, Phase 10, Poker and just took the time to really relax. Our vacation can be summed up with the descriptors: Pasta (of course), Pecorino (the most delicious cheese in existence), Truffles, and general relaxation.
Basically, my life here is great and therefore, I haven’t written in awhile. I have really funny, sweet friends, an amazing host family, and a thousand things to experience every day (too much to all write about in fact). I am truly having the time of my life here. Here’s to more great times ahead!