Monday, October 3, 2011

'Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag- Aneisha Reed. Kiel, Germany.

HALLO!!! This all started when I was about 16. One summer my grandmother and I decided we wanted to go to Europe together. We signed up for a summer tour with a random group, all from Utah, and we went the following summer. This trip was amazing. We got to visit 6 countries. It began in Germany, then we went to Austria, from Austria we went to Switzerland. After that we went Italy. We ended our trip of a lifetime by taking a high speed train from France to England. The week leading up to the trip, all I could think about were pasta, crepes, talking in a British accent and meeting beautiful, rich, smart, European men. When I thought of Germany I really didn’t care. I had never really had an interst in Germany or its culture or anything of the sort. I just wanted to get to the delicious gelato and Spaghetti! The moment I stepped off the plane in Germany, I was in shock. It is a feeling I will never be able to explain and a feeling I got again when I arrived in Germany. This feeling is a feeling of connection, deep love, and home-like belonging. My experience in Germany the first time had my heart broken from returning to the U.S. and I promised myself, “I will get back to Germany some day”. About 4 years later, I found myself packing my bag to leave to Germany, once again. I had kept my promise to myself. This time I was fascinated with the culture, the language, and the history. My experience was like nothing I have ever experienced before. Here is my story.

I have had the most awesome week and weekend EVER!! It all started on Sunday! This is only the second week and I am dreading the last week I will be here. I have to find a way to stay here… FOREVER!
Sunday; in German: Sonnetag. So on Sonntag we had a little opening welcome dinner! It was so good. We ate flounder and we went to the beach which is very cold… not like the beaches in California! We took a boat over to the beach and had dinner there. It was perfect weather, warm and lovely. We had dinner with our host families and the tutors we had met in Germany. It was all so culturally different and so intriguing to me. My German (deutsch) was not so good at first and I struggled talking with those around me. Kiel, the city that I am in, is right by the sea. Fresh fish is plentiful and it rains… a lot!
Monday; in German: Montag. On Montag we had a city tour done by the one and only Silvana. She is Ashley's host mom and she is Italian. She is the sweetest thing ever! She took us to see the old city (Alt stadt) which was very interesting. I learned that the city of Kiel does not have very many historic buildings because during World War II it was heavily bombed and destroyed. I found the stories we learned very interesting. The city holds a lot of history. The city was heavily bombed during WWII because it housed and built huge harbor ships at that time. Tuesday,in German: Dienstag. On Dienstag it was the first day of classes which were fun and we were pumped. During our school lunch break on Tuesday, I headed down to Torben's school and taught English class for the day which was an awesome experience. Torben is my host brother and he does not speak English well, so I get all the practice I can with him. He is in the 5th grade. All the kids were so nice and they told me everything about themselves! I made a cute little PowerPoint about Utah and the seasons and how different life is in the United States. They were all so amazed, as was I, with the cultural differences between my elementary experience and theirs. I had to take the bus to the school and I must applaud Germany’s means of public transportation. It is so convenient and easy to follow. Wherever you want to go the buses, trains, or bikes will take you. It is absolutely incredible.
Wednesday, in German: Mittwoch. On Mittwoch it was just a regular old day. School, lunch... da da da. After school Ryan, Ashley, and I headed down to the shopping strip to see what was going on and found H&M, which was awesome! H&M is a Sweedish clothing store and in Europe you can find them on every corner. Germany, I learned is the primary customer for this huge chain of businesses. Later that day we headed to Martina's sport club and had a BBQ me and Ashley had so much fun we ate, drank, and played volleyball with the boys! Martina is my host mother and she works for a sports club that has 1300 members and counting! Most of the members are younger, like elementary age. It was the first kind of sunny overcast day I had seen since I had been in Germany and so Ashley and I decided to play volleyball and soccer with my host brother Torben and some of his friends. In the middle of the volley ball game, rain poured from everywhere, and when it rains there, it pours. We were drenched and playing Volleyball. Germans never let weather ruin the fun!
Thursday, in German: Donnerstag. Donnerstag was the best day of my life so far. It was my 20th birthday and Martina and Torben threw me a surprise party and all the host family's came. We all had great food and they gave me gifts. We had a barbeque with traditional German sausage (wurst) and potatoe salad (kartoffelsalat). It was very nice of them to throw this party and it made my entire day! I feel so blessed to be surrounded by people filled with love! Thanks for everything! To have an experience like this in a country filled with people you have never met will be one of the most amazing experiences you could ever had. People are so kind and want to tell you about their culture and their traditions on holidays. You will learn a great deal when studying abroad!
Friday, in German: Freitag! We headed to Lübeck which is a Mideavel city filled with churches and lots of other cool stuff. I bought a lot of Marzipan, which is a candy-like substance that I am not quite sure what it is. It comes in every shape and flavor though. Marzipan ice cream was the most delicious thing I had that day! I also saw a fresh flower stand and decided to get a nice big orange daisy for Martina to show her how much I appreciated everything she had done for me!

It has been quite the adventurous week!!
I never want to leave Germany!!! The cultural experience and differences between Germany and the United States are so amazing to me. I would never trade this experience for anything. I have learned a great deal on this trip and would recommend this to anyone who is wondering about studying abroad. Don’t let your life pass you by, if you want it, go get it. Don’t ever look back. Make history now, so that later in your life you can look back on some of the most unique experiences ever! Not only does this experience teach you culture and Language, but the things people will show you are things you can’t just experience visiting for a week or going on a tour. These places are “secret” and amazing. Study abroad will give you connections to people and places and give you a real feel of what this language or culture is all about. This is by far was the most educational experience of my lifetime. I encourage you and even dare you to not just step off the curb, but jump off the curb and put yourself is this experience. You will believe the things you will learn, when you spring into a new place, and…. Oh the places you’ll go.

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