Hello everyone! It's been a week already, but it seems like I've been here for so much longer. I started Sprachschule, or language school, two days after I arrived and it's been pretty fun. My class (of 6 students, all older than me) went on a field trip on a Berlin watertaxi, which was really cool. Learning the language is really hard simply because I feel so helpless in understanding everyone, but every day I understand a little bit more. The language school is mostly helping with grammar and sentence structure, and a bit of vocabulary. Also, I have to take a bus and 2 different U-Bahns (basically subways) to get there, so I'm also learning how to use public transportation... in German. It's been interesting. I've gotten lost a few times, but I've been able to ask for help so far and I've always found my way back.
I miss home more than I thought I would, but I'm having a really good time. I said that I didn't have many expectations of my experience, but I think that I ignored the fact that I had expectations of myself to be less homesick and quicker to pick up the language. But I keep trying to remind myself to give myself a break and just concentrate on listening to people speak in German. Someday I'll get it!
I started rowing 2 days a week with a rowing club about half an hour away by bus, plus a 15 minute walk. The other rowers have been friendly, but it's been really awkward since none of them speak very good English (which is probably a good thing) and so I just stumble around following people (and on Friday I almost got into the wrong boat. Oops.) I think that I'm on the just-for-fun team, which means no regattas to get up early for! Cheers! Of course, their idea of a practice is rowing for 2 hours straight with one five-minute break in the middle. Yikes. It's definitely different than what I'm used to. It's probably for the better though, because the coxswain doesn't have to say anything other than 'row' and 'stop' (except in German), so there's less for me to get confused by.
This morning I got up at 6 and went with my host parents and host brother to another part of Berlin, where we were volunteers in the Berlin Marathon. We got to watch the wheelchair section (they were going reallllly fast!) and then we handed out cups of water to the runners. There was an hour and a half long mass of marathon runners that pounded their way over the lake of trashed plastic cups. Sebastian said there were around 30,000 of them- that's like everyone in Northampton getting together and running a marathon. Whoa. But I did get a very cool neon yellow volunteer's jacket, which is waterproof (thank goodness, the runners were throwing water everywhere) and says Berlin Marathon on it. I was pretty excited.
Well, it's a lazy Sunday afternoon in my house, and I feel like I should be doing something more German and not connecting with all you (although I miss you all very much!!!), so I'm going to go study my language books... urgh. I can't wait until the language books get to easy for me and I can just spew out a load of German! I'm going to have to wait a little while, though. I think this experience should definitely do some magic work to my patience.