What is Foreign Exchange to Me?

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

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Just Another Week… As An Exchange Student

P3081401I have officially decided it is physically impossible for me to gain weight. After seven months of only eating bread and not playing year round sports, if anything I have lost weight. My theory behind this is Germany has SO MANY STAIRCASES (especially in comparison to California) that it is seemingly impossible for anyone to gain weight.

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Between my three host-families I have been someone who regularly gets driven around everywhere, takes the bus everywhere, walks everywhere, and rides my bike everywhere and from that I have decided the ‘right of way’ in Germany is as follows: Buses, Trucks, Bikers, Cars, Animals, Inanimate Objects, Imaginary Creatures, Pedestrians. It seems if you’re a pedestrian, nobody cares about you and if you get hit, the question is, “Why were you in the street/crosswalk to begin with?!” It doesn’t matter what color the crosswalk light is, cars will always be in crosswalk and seeing as Germany virtually has no enforced speed limit laws, if you’re crossing the street, I’d recommend running for your life.

It seems my friends have realized that I “only have 4.5 months left,” therefore P9141285we get together and do something almost every evening, whether it be rock climbing, badminton, making cookies, or simply watching movies. Words cannot describe how much I love these guys though, and how thankful I am that they decided to include me into their group back in September.

Snapshot_20120312_2Monday night my best friend came over and we made “American Chocolate Chip cookies” (but with M and Ms instead of chocolate chips because German chocolate chips are both strange and difficult to find). Luckily for me, my host-family received “cups” as a gift a few years back, so I didn’t have to convert the recipe over to the Metric System. I made the same recipe Saturday and the cookies were such a hit (I have learned, ‘cookies’ are an American thing P3101406and while Germany has lots of cakes, things such as “m and m cookies” are almost unheard of) that they were gone the next day. Sadly doubling the recipe didn’t make the cookies last to much longer.

German Friend: “I don’t know what a douchebag is, but I’m not one of them!”

A Facebook friend of mine recently posted a status about “Germany [being] full of douchebags” and I started talking about stereotypes and things of the like with my German friends. When one of them said, “I don’t know what a douchebag is, but I’m not one of them!” I couldn’t help but laugh at how cute he sounded. But in all seriousness, people shouldn’t be judged by the country they come from, because they didn’t choose to come from it. Words cannot describe how mad it makes me when someone tells me, “You’re such a nice, friendly girl! It’s to bad you’re an American.” (which has happened more than once).

It's almost scary how insults vary in different cultures. For example, in California, where gay marriage is not socially acceptable yet, “That’s gay” is a common insult for things that aren’t cool, and while “Das ist schwul.” (That’s gay) can be said in German, I find it shocking when people say, “Das ist Jüdisch.” (Or that’s so Jewish). Thankfully that’s not extremely common, but whenever I hear it, I get chills.

On a much happier ending note, California and Germany only have an 8 hour time difference (compared to the usual 9) until March 25th due to daylight savings(that one hour makes a huge difference when trying to Skype with people!), and today is the first day I have seen sun in months!

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Days in Germany