What is Foreign Exchange to Me?

"A year of of my life. My life in a year."

Google Translate (Google Übersetzer)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Let's Meet the Families

I remember back when foreign exchange was an unrealistic dream, and look where I am now, writing about the three amazing host families I will be living with other the course of the year!

To do a quick recap, I will be living in Hameln (or Hamelin, or Hamlin depending on where in the world you live), Germany, a town of 58,000 people on the Wesser River front in Lower Saxony. It's famous (or rather infamous) for being the town of the Pied Piper and is the gateway to the Weserbergland mountains. Hameln actually has seasons (meaning it snows in the winter and is hot in the summer). Main attractions are Hamelin's historic town center with its numerous houses built in the Weser Renaissance style, the open-air play of the Pied Piper's legend and the musical "RATS" on the terrace of the "wedding house."

Learn more about Hameln here!

I have talked to all my families online via email and cannot wait to meet everyone! So let's get started, shall we? :)

Family One: The Lücks

My first family consists of my two parents (my mother Silke, a family doctor, and my father Rainer, a surgeon), and my two sisters Anna Lena (17) and Ellen Marie(14). I will have my own room, (apparently green and covered in dolphins) and will share a bathroom with my older sister, who is barely a month older than I am. The Lücks enjoy skiing, sailing, traveling, and cooking together. Both my sisters play piano and take lessons, and fencing is their favorite passtime. We will be going twice weekly and I will learn to foil-fence. I have talked to both my sisters exclusively and have a lot in common with Anna Lena. I will be living in the red Swedish farm house on the left.

Family Two: The Körfers
My second family lives in Groß Berkel, Niedersachsen, Germany and consists of Isabelle(mom, translator for English, French, and a little Italian and Spanish at a Building Savings society), Achim (dad, does something in relation to math), my sister Josi (18) and my brother Julien (17). My dad only speaks German so I have been talking to him off and on through grammatically incorrect German and through online translators, as well as through my host mom. My brother is currently on exchange through Rotary in Mexico and will come home July 1st and he will be there when I live there. I will more likely than not be with this family through winter break and the holidays, as well as my birthday, and Isabelle has been telling me all about or fun-filled plans! I have become very close with Julien, we talk through facebook messages almost daily and get along very well. Julien likes dance music and enjoys DJing. We have plans to teach each other to dance (he will teach me jazz dance and I will teach him West Coast Swing) upon arrival in Germany. My family enjoys traveling, music (piano and guitar especially), dancing, and choir. Isabelle is originally from France and loves teaching French to young children and adults in the afternoons and evenings. The following picture is their yard during the winter.
Family Three: The Schneiders
My third and final family consists my three brothers, Stefan (16 - I think), Robert(25), and Jan-Peter(29), my sister Katrin(27), and my parents Susanne and Hans-Christian. While I am living with this family my youngest brother will be on exchange with Rotary in Mexico, by my brother Robert will be home and Hans-Peter might be. My sister lives in Berlin (approximately 220 miles to the East of Hameln) but visits on a monthly basis and says I will be visiting her in Berlin as well. She speaks English, Spanish, (some) Portuguese, and French and loves to read.

I will be attending the Schiller-Gynmnasium of Hameln which as of 2005 now offers
several working groups in the fields of football, handball, music, chess, Internet and student newspapers. School starts August 17th!

Auf Wiedersehen

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Guten Tag!

LESS THAN TWO MONTHS UNTIL GERMANY! Words cannot describe how incredibly excited I am!

I received my $1,000 scholarship from Rotary last week (THANK YOU SO MUCH) and spoke for a couple minutes about what my trip will be to all the Rotarians.

I finished my packing list for Germany today. It's insane. Packing my life into a single suitcase. Not something I thought I would have to do before embarking on this journey.

I've been working on my German daily and talking to my host families. I asked my counselor in Germany about what classes I will be taking in Germany and he said he does not have the slightest clue but he hopes to get my registered soon.

I have been accumulating gifts for my host families over the past couple weeks. Just fun "American" things.

August 9th is my departure day and I will be living in Hameln, Germany which is a town on the Weser River in Lower Saxony. It is the town of the Pied Piper and is surrounded by other towns famous for Grim Brother Fairy Tales. The town has a population of about 60,000 (almost 100,000 less than my city back in California) and is absolutely beautiful!

Days in Germany