What is Foreign Exchange to Me?

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

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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

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Days in Germany