Monday, June 15, 2009

Birthdays and Berlin

Today I finally received an "official email" telling me that my host family is in fact who I am going to be living with for 10 months!! Their phone and address look really funny and different than ours. I will definitely be contacting them to work on my German and find out more about them!! My host dad is a physician and my host mom is a nurse, so Dad hopes I'll be getting a medical background and Mom hopes they'll have lots of money and will bring me traveling. : ) I would be quite pleased with either of those scenarios and hopefully any others that come along! I'm excited that I get to be Clara's Groß Gastschwester!! Plus hopefully I'll get to meet Judith and Simon over the holiday breaks, I think they're both going to university next year. I'll have to confirm that, though. My house looks to be in a nice area on google maps, but I couldn't really tell. Unfortunately, I also looked up the distance to downtown Berlin... it's a half-hour drive and about 3 1/2 hours of walking. Hmm. I guess I won't be walking downtown.. but thats fine, I think my house is right near a train station and of course the public transportation/ biking in Europe is supposed to be much better than here. I am soooo excited! (Also I've been working on my German... I can now translate a line of a Dolly Parton song- "Das Himmel ist blau und Das Gras ist grün". (the sky is blue and the grass is green). Very deep.)

Also, I am finally 16!!!! I had a wonderful birthday, and a lovely few days afterward still enjoying the birthday feeling. (and cake.) I made these cupcakes from one of my birthday presents, a cupcake cookbook! But the frosting was terrible- I was trying to make sunflowers and halfway through eating them my uncle goes "Hey wait, are these supposed to be sunflowers?" Oh well. I'll have to keep working on my piping skills. I got loads of really great gifts from my family members. I went on a weekend trip to Boston with my cousin and two friends to celebrate, which was tons of fun. My aunt and uncle gave me $50, which of course went right into the bank for Germany! I got some money from my great grandparents, and my grandpa sent me this gorgeous photo of the Harvest moon (that he took himself, of course) and my grandma sent me a little Venus goddess and a handmade book of all these inspirational and philosophical poems and such. My other aunt and uncle gave me The Exchange Student Survival Kit, which I read on the beach the other day. It's awesome! To any exchange students reading this, you should definitely get it out of the library! It's by Bettina Hansel, and it has all the stages you will go through in your exchange and that it's normal to feel certain ways, etc. And then for the big shabang.. I think my parents were thinking ahead and therefore gave me gifts for not only my 16th birthday but next Christmas and my next birthday as well. I got rosetta stone German (yes!! it's awesome, I've been using it all the time), and a great EMS internal frame backpack that I'll use to pack in! I already took it hiking once, I really like the size. I'm going to start practice-packing soon... I have to get it under 44 pounds! Mom and Dad also gave me iTunes money, a touristy Berlin book, a German dictionary, a book of women's travel writing, a blank journal, some goods from Sweeties, a Sweeties t-shirt, Burts Bees chapstick, and antibacterial wipes. Which was apparently everything I need for the trip. =]

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