Zwei Monate in Deutschland Und Ich Lebe Noch

On October 3rd (Wednesday), I went with a few other exchange students to a Tag der Deutschen Einheit celebration in the middle of Berlin, before the Brandenburger Tor. Sad to say, but the celebration was a bit disappointing! Maybe it was because I'm used to celebrating the Fourth of July a bit differently, but I expected more excitement, people... fireworks would have also been nice. But I shouldn't be complaining, I was able to go to Berlin for a day to hang out with a bunch of other exchange students, and we made our own fun!

Today my host mom took off of work because we've got a guest staying for the weekend, a colleague of Jürgen's, and so we spent the day at IKEA. I wouldn't have had it any other way - I even got to buy a few things! I was surprised, as IKEA was pretty much identical to the one we have in Philly. There were two major differences. In the IKEA Philadelphia restaurant they sell cheese steaks. Needless to say, that wasn't on the menu here. Also, here was a section dedicated to plants. If we have those in the States, I don't remember them.

Now, to explain the title - 'Two months and I'm still alive'.

It's already been two months, and I can hardly believe it. I've learned so much and have experienced things I never thought possible. Last year, if someone had predicted that by now I'd be riding a public bus every day to school and I'd be learning how to live with only seven pairs of shoes, I'd have laughed so hard I'd have cried. Last year, if someone had predicted that by now I'd often forget how to speak English, I'd have rolled my eyes and doubted that was even possible. (By the way, it is, embarrassingly enough).

Living in a new environment, I realize what I take for granted back home. Some things I am surprised to be missing, others I knew going into the exchange program that it'd be tough to live without them. I miss, among many things...

- School lockers

- Having gym class 'opt out'

- My mom's baking

- Sunday dinners at Nana's

- My dog, Daisy Belle!

- Wegman's

- Stouffer's Mac'n'Cheese

- Driving

- My three younger brothers (actually though, I'm shocked)

- Halloween decorations

- Football

- Dad's office

- Neighbors, family, and friends (goes without saying!)

To Rotary Youth Exchange, thank you for providing students like me the amazing opportunity of an exchange year. To my middle school German teacher, thank you for instilling in me the passion for language learning that inspired me to choose this amazing country. To my parents, thank you for always supporting me, even when I'm at my most difficult. To my host parents, thank you for opening up your home for a year, and welcoming a complete stranger with open arms. And to everyone else who has helped me throughout this experience, I can't thank you enough. I am an unbelievably fortunate child, blessed with the experiences of a lifetime!