Monday, December 19, 2011

The kind of embarrassing moment every exchange student hopes they don't have, but they inevitably do....

 On the upside, my embarrassing moment took place during a time which I was completely alone. On the downside, that was the reason why the moment became even took place. These past couple of weeks are what are called “Vorabis” Vorabis are like midterms, only on steroids. They are all six hours long... yep... six hours of writing and scrambling your brain looking for that one answer. Sounds pretty horrible to me, and that's why, holding the lucky position of “already graduated” exchange student, I opted out. Haha. Anyway, that means that once or twice a week I have no school. Last Friday this was the case. It also happened to be a day where the housemaid Manja began her vacation. That meant that I got to spend until lunchtime alone in the house. Honestly, as an exchange student, true alone time tends to be nonexistent. I believe that most of cherish these short hours alone where we can truly unwind and relax. I like it because I can do things that I do in my own home, like going barefoot and staying in my Pj's until noon. Unfortunately at eleven, as I was sitting upstairs putting the final touches on my college applications, the doorbell rang. Now, most houses in Germany have a speaker system and a buzzing system built into the house so that you don't have to run to the door, and my house especially. My house is HUGE. The bottom floor is a two-car garage, the washroom, the storage room, a doctor's practice, and my host father's dentist practice. Yes, really. We live on the second, third, and fourth floors. The entrance, however is on the first floor. You then walk up a flight of stairs, through a door, across an open corridor, through another door, into the mudroom, and then through the front door. Complicated, I know. It's even more complicated when you don;t know how to buzz someone in, and in your comfy short-shorts Pj's. So I scramble and pull on a pair of pants and run. I run downstairs and then through all of those doors. By the time I get there, no one is there. “Okay,” I think, “Cool. Just saved myself some major embarrassment. No one will see me like this afte rall.” I then walk up the stairs and look. Every single door shut behind me. I have no phone. No key. I am quasi in my Pj's and I am barefoot. This is getting good, isn't it? As I sit on the steps, I think over my options. I could wait for someone to get home around two. I could walk through the first floor corridor and into the practice and ask for a key. Yep.... That's pretty embarrassing. But there was no way I waiting for someone to get home. So I go down to the corridor and as I'm walking through I peek in the washroom and see a pair of sandals,; I throw those on to preserve a bit of dignity, and then I go to the door to the practice. I stood outside of that door for about ten minutes, putting off the inevitable embarrassment. That;s when another option hit me: Ring on the other resident's doorbell! We also rent a small apartment to an old woman on the second floor. I rang her doorbell, and she answered. The problem was that she had never met me. I explained, and I think my accent mixed with my desperation and the state I was in convinced her that I probably was living in the house. So she let me in, and no one but her would have know if I had remembered to bring the shoes back down to the washroom... shoot... haha.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Long Time No See....

So it's quite obvious that I am not very good at maintaining a blog... I am very sorry about this, and I will try to do better for all those of you that check hopefully everyday.  One of the problems is that, while I am very busy and experiencing all sorts of things to include in this blog, I am getting settled as well.  So now something that would make a great blog seems more like the norm to me, and I don't recognize it for its blogging worth.  Again, I will try to do better.  Here is my life since November 1st.

On November 12th I switched my host family.  I now live in town, rather than on the top of a mountain.  I have two host sisters: Lynn (19-20) and Gesa (17).  Both of them are very, very nice and very, very fun to hang out with.  My host parents, Astrid and Charles, are also awesome.  Charles is actually from England... yes, England.  It's actually quite helpful to have someone who went through the same process of learning German though.  My German has improved tenfold since I moved in.  

Thanksgiving was a depressing and fun time at the same time.  Depressing because I only saw digitalized versions of the delicious food and wonderful family, and fun because I saw digitalized versions of the delicious food and wonderful family.  Jealousy to all you people who actually saw your families in the flesh and got to EAT THAT FOOD.  My mind was quickly drawn away from Thanksgiving because the next day I drove to a Rotary weekend in Wenigrode.  Wenigrode is a small town about forty-five minutes from my town, and it was definitely me favorite weekend yet because all my Rotary friends that live in and around Hannover (that = all of them) got to see what the country looks like, and quasi where I live.  They thought it was so beautiful and quaint.  Don't get me wrong, it is both these things, but they forget that I am also cut off from all the things they get to experience.  Each place has its advantages and disadvantages.

Christmas is a huge deal in Germany.  Not the buy blow-up/light up snowmen for the yard crazy, but city-wide Christmas market crazy.  They have a book full of foods solely for the Christmas season.  It will make me fat, this book.  Advent is also an important part of the way they celebrate Christmas, meaning that the Advent Calendars are out of this world.  Advent Calendars are actually large cloth things that people buy here. Some are in the shapes of Christmas trees, with little pockets, some are a string with 24 stockings on it, etc.  Then what they do is that they buy 24 things to put inside each year.  Not just candy, other things too.  Then there is the evening of December 5th/ the morning of December 6th, which is the time you put your biggest shoe out for Saint Nicholas to fill with candy and presents.  basically, I have a mini Christmas morning out.  My host mother told this funny story about how when she was a kid, she would put her shoe out the first night, get presents; put it out the next night, get presents; put it out the next night, get presents; and put it out the next night, and get coal.  Haha.  I decided that I have enough candy and sweets, no need to test that theory out.

Hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings and wonderful Christmas preparations, please enjoy it all a little bit extra for those exchange students that don't get to do so.  Until next time, which will hopefully be soon!