What is Foreign Exchange to Me?

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

Google Translate (Google Übersetzer)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Well, Don’t I Feel Special!

Dear Everyone Who Has Ever Randomly or Intentionally Stumbled Across This Blog,

Whether you found my blog on purpose, or by accident, thank you, I appreciate it. I like knowing I’m not simply ‘writing to myself’ sometimes. Smile This blog was recently nominated (on a personal note, whoever nominated this blog, thank you!) for an annual competition called,

“Top 100 International Exchange & Experience Blogs 2012"

and the top three best blogs get an education package for children by SOS Children Villages donated in the blogger’s name!

Vote the best IX12 blog

The voting process is easy and goes through February 12th (German time)! Just click the button directly above this, select "Angie's Odyssey" (it's near the top because it begins with 'A') and submit your vote!

Rotary International is all about “service above self,” so if this blog can somehow help disadvantaged children in a foreign country, I’m all for it!

Thanks for your time everyone!

Liebe Grüße,


P.S. Elmo supports this blog too. Smile


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Languages, Life, and Living It Up

Five and a half months ago before I came to Germany, I was blond. Maybe not platinum blond, but definitely blond. And it wasn’t because I dyed my hair, or put tons of lemon juice in it… no, I was a natural blond. Now whenever I Snapshot_20120120look at my hair, I feel like I dyed it middle-to-light brown simply because I haven't had a sufficient amount of sunlight in months. I think I’m on a vitamin deficiency because I’m used to living in a place where it’s sunny year round. Needless to say all the blondes who live in Germany year round are definitely ‘true blondes.’

Friday evening I went to Leo’s with Konnie and Felix where we watched youtubeP1201012 videos/ movies, played cards and did handstands because the ceiling in Leo’s room is low. I learned a lot of new vocabulary from the random games we played, and we all made a lot of language fails, both in English and in German. My personal favorite was when Felix said, “We should all puke on Angie! No wait… wrong word, we should all sleep on Angie!”

Saturday evening my host-brother and I went to a going away party for a girl from Argentina. We left at 8 at night, and diP1221016dn’t get back until 8 am the next morning with absolutely no sleep in-between and I remembered why I don’t go to parties. It was really strange because there were adults at the party the whole time, but not to supervise but rather to serve alcohol. Maybe it’s just me but when I think ‘house-party’ (or rather ‘rented-room party’ in this case) I don’t imagine adults being there. Especially because a lot of the kids were underage… just a huge difference between the cultures I guess.   

Monday evening after Johannes and I went climbing, we decided to go to Burger King. After ordering our meal, Johannes accidentally said “Thanks” instead of “Danke” so in the middle of the meal the server came up and talked to us and he became convinced that I am from Germany and Johannes is from England… which really doesn’t make sense because if anything Johannes has a German accent and I don’t. If nothing else, we definitely had an interesting conversation about the politics of German school systems with him though. 

Angie: I should seriously just keep a toothbrush at my exchange student friend’s house because whenever I go visit her for the weekend, I always forget it.

Leo: Defiantly! Just one question, why do you always need sun glasses…? 

I have a very bad habit of mixing up the German words toothbrush (Zahnbürste) and sun glasses (Sonnenbrille)… Smile 

Last week I talked about how both English and German sound ‘right’ because I speak both languages (more or less) fluently. Every since I came to Germany, it has made me curious about what English sounds like for somebody who does not understand it, then I found this video:

“Skwerl”–Short Film in Fake English

Today I was skyping with an exchange student friend of mine also in Germany about a Portuguese song called “As Se Eu Te Pego” that I heard on the radio this morning (why I heard a Portuguese song in Germany is beyond me). We hear this song at every exchange student gathering and I like the song, but seeing as I don’t speak Portuguese, I don’t understand the lyrics and didn’t know the name of the song. I tried to google search it for 15 minutes earlier today, but didn’t know any of the real worlds in the song (only what the Portuguese sounds like to my English/German ears), so I asked my friend, “Do you know the name of the Portuguese song that sounds like ‘I slit your bagel’?” and he knew exactly what I was talking about, but didn’t know the name of the song either so he posted a Facebook status with our conversation, and low and behold one of his friends also new exactly what I meant and posted the link for the song. Please, try and tell me this does not sound like “I slit your bagel” when you don’t speak Portuguese!

Finally, this week I have also started watching Spongebob and the Fairy Odd Parents. It’s really strange to watch shows I grew up with in German.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I’m Turning European! Well… Sort Of…

Every other Tuesday, I look European. Well,P1140996 more European than I normally do anyway, seeing as I’m not particularly into fashion and doing my hair, but on the first and third Tuesday of the month, I usually wear a nice shirt and some makeup to go to the Rotary meetings, and because of this when I walk though the town, I don’t look foreign. That being said, people seem to think I’m crazy when I smile at them for no reason other than to smile. I think it blows my cover and lets people know I’m not actually from Germany.

Friday evening (after taking my host-imageparents to the train station because they are currently on a two week cruise through the Caribbean)I went to the movies with Leo where we saw “Rubbel Die Katz” (or “Women in Love” ). For anyone who has ever seen “Tootsie,” “Rubbel Die Katz” is essentially the German version of the film, only one-thousand times more explicit because it’s a German film and provocative images are much more accepted here, compared to in America. IP1140946 understood everything in the film, except for the plays on words, so the entire theater would laugh really hard at the jokes and I would sit there a little clueless about what was said, then Leo would explain it to me and I would laugh a couple moments after everyone had already finished laughing. If only the expression, “He who laughs last, laughs best” applied here.

After the film Leo and I went to Johannes’ house with our friend Felix because Johannes and Felix are gone on a school trip this week and we all wanted to hang out before they left. We mP1140944ainly stood around in the kitchen (coincidentally the smallest room in the house) talking and laughing to the point of crying about anything that came to mind. I had more fun with them doing seemingly nothing than I have had in a long time.

While walking to Johannes’, Leo and I started talking about languages and how useful they can be for business and making friends. After a relatively deep P1140967conversation, Leo asked me what German sounds like to somebody who doesn’t speak it, so I started clearing my throat and making unattractive noises, and afterword Leo looked at me like “Well, are you going to tell me what German sounds like?”. It took him a moment to comprehend that the weird noises I had just made was my imitation of German, then he started laughing at the absP1140963urd thought. The even weirder part is even though I didn’t speak a word of German when I came, and I have only been here for five months, I don’t remember not being able to understand German. It’s like if somebody we’re to ask me what English sounds like, I would simply say “It sounds right, the letters and sounds form actual words.”

Saturday was the birthday of one myP1140971 exchange student friends, so I traveled the two hours to Wolfsburg by train to spend it with him and ‘our group’ of exchange students. Wolfsburg is the town the Volkswagen is from, so they have seemingly hundreds of car dealerships, but aside from that the town isP1140997 really pretty. Despite all the dealerships, I found only one “pick-up truck,” and it wasn’t even in one of the dealerships, it was in the parking lot in front of the train station, but I didn’t care, it was the second truck I have seen since coming to Germany, and I was extremely excited. I had to take two P1140975trains home; the first train I took to Hannover with my friend Erik. Yet again, I had one of those, “I’m sitting on a train in Germany, going ‘home,’ speaking German with one of my closest friends from Sweden. What on earth are the odds of this happening?!’ moments. The second train ride however, was not nearly as insightful, there was a soP1140993ccer game that evening so the train was full of crazy drunk people who decided to come up and talk to me in bunches. I would say it was scary, but I live in Germany… I’m used to it.


Sunday I went out to Chinese food with my host-brother and grandpa. In all honesty, the food really wasn’t good, it’s not that it tasted particularly bad or anythinP1151001g, I’m simply from San Francisco, and am therefore spoiled when it comes to having good Asian food, which is funny because technically speaking, Hameln is about 300 miles closer to China than San Francisco.


Sunday evening was also the first time I video skyped with my best friend from Video call snapshot 14California since coming to Germany. In the middle of our conversation, my host-brother came in the room and we started arguing about something, and Rita (my best friend) said, “You sound like you’re on a German soap opera.” Sometimes I forget that my friends from California don’t speak German. Smile

Days in Germany