Monday, December 14, 2009

is your mental healthy?

Today I took a mental health day/ sleep catch-up day and didn't go to school. It's one of my longest days of the week and I just woke up feeling super overwhelmed, and I really didn't want to spend the whole day with a knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach, so I exaggerated my sore throat and exhaustion and went back to bed. Lovely. I feel like I got my snow day that New England got last week. Anyway, I slept in until about 10 and Daniela had bought some orange juice for me, which was very sweet and I enjoyed it immensely. I watched a few episodes of Gilmore Girls (in English- I was just too lazy to concentrate at all) and ate breakfast, and read a bit of Harry Potter (in German- after I woke up a bit). Then Clara and Daniela came home and we had Milchreis (milk and rice- sounds weird but tastes delicious) with fruit salad and cinnamon. And now I'm procrastinating the completion of a poster on Che Guevara I have to make for history... ugh. Plan: write in English with help of wikipedia, then translate to German using minimal brain power and a lot of help from online translators.
Last week I joined my friend Daniela at her two-hour handball practice. It was a hard workout!!! But it was fun to get that "I just worked my butt off and I'm exhausted but my body will thank me later" feeling. It's a girls-only team but the coaches are guys, and everyone was super nice, and Dani told me that I played really well for my first time, so maybe Germany has improved my hand-eye coordination! Anyway, it was a good time, and I might go again this week, and though I would like to go every week I don't know how much it costs/ how much time I need to dedicate to it. I'll look into that.
This weekend my friend Claire (CBYX) and I spent Saturday together and attempted to meet up with some other AFSers to go ice skating. Well, it was a day of epic fails- we started counting but there just got to be too many. It was still incredibly fun, although one of our epic fails was that we were an hour late to the meeting time so nobody was at the ice skating rink from AFS... so we skated by ourselves. There was a random guy who was wearing a hat that made it look like he'd stabbed a feather through his head. He was really bizarre. But entertaining.
All right, must stop procrastinating now... looking forward to having only FOUR MORE DAYS of school! Plus I have an orchestra concert on Wednesday, and that should be exciting too. Tsch├╝ss!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

two in one day! aren't you lucky!

Things I Currently Miss About Northampton.
1) Snow days. You lucky ducks. And here I am, sitting in the cold, rainy yuck.
2) School. Weird, yes, I know. I miss going into class feeling confident that I know the material and prepared to learn more based on what I already know. I like that relieved feeling of handing in a paper or test that you know you did well on.
3) My family and friends. Probably should have put you first... but these aren't in any particular order so don't go getting yourselves in a huff.
4) The plentiful sources of English reading and viewing materials. aka Forbes, the school library, Blockbuster, Lilly library, the bookstores downtown, the bookshelves around our house...
5) The general atmosphere. The sense of community and togetherness that's a little tough to find in a capital city.
6) My cats. Some days the only thing I want is a furry cuddle...
7) Everything being in English. It just sounds so relaxing.
8) My bike, and the places you can bike to. I miss the bike path and all the networks of side streets.
9) All the Christmasy traditions my family has.
10) My bedroom, with a bouncy mattress and a dresser with drawers and all my books and music and pictures.

Falsche Seite, dummkopf.

So today I was biking home after school in the red bike lane on the sidewalk. The road I was biking on wasn't terribly big but rather busy, so I when I turned onto the left side of the road I just kept going instead of crossing the street. I do this same thing every day, and then cross at some point when no cars are coming. Well, today, a cranky old man was walking down the sidewalk and glared at me as I rode (slowly and responsibly) by, and said, "falsches Seite," in an angry tone. Which means "wrong side". Yes, sir, I know that I'm on the wrong side of the road... but it's a long, straight hill and I have a pretty long visiblity, meaning I could see anyone coming with plenty of time to switch sides. There was another biker going in the same direction as I was, who was a little ahead of me- he crossed the road pretty quick. So did I, but really, I think that guy needs to find something to do other than yell at teenagers. It wasn't like we were affecting him- we were in the bike lane, which is, in fact, for bicycles. Harumph. But I'm not actually annoyed really, I just wanted to share with you all my big exciting adventure of the day.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

no list today... feeling uncreative and rambly.

Crud, I just spelled exhaustion with an a instead of an o. I am going to flunk the SATs next year... anyhoo. Happy Nikaustag! For those Americanisch folks among you, Niklaustag is December 6, and the night before children leave their shoes out and St. Niklaus comes and fills them with small gifts and candy. Guess who got peanut butter in their converse that morning? I was pretty psyched. Also, new socks (nearly all of mine have developed holes), Kinderschokolade (yummmm), and a pack of those kleenex with designs on them. The kind that you never actually want to use because you'd be blowing your snot all over a cute little penguin. You know the ones.

Okay, Sunday was a day of much time-squashing but overall was quite good. I went and helped out at the Rixdorfer Weihnachtsmarkt, and it turns out I was early as I'd been given the wrong time... so I wandered a bit and bought a Zimtwaffel (cinammon waffle with powdered sugar) and listened to a band of old men playing Christmas songs. Then I stood in the cold for an hour and wrapped candles and took people's money for the candles and acted all friendly and tried to make conversation when people realized we were exchange students. I got complimented on my German by a nice couple who bought some gummy bears. I had to rush out, though, because I had to meet my class in Charlottenburg to see Kabale und Liebe. Well, I was running barely on time when I got out of the U-Bahn, and so I was power-walking, but thinking it was an awfully long way and that it hadn't looked that long on google maps. Then I figured out the numbers were way different on the other side of the street. So I doubled back and super-power-walked to the theater, where I legitimately slid into my seat right as the director came out and told us that the lead actress was sick so someone who didn't really know the lines would be playing Luise. Hence, she carried around the script with her the whole play. It was pretty good, actually- it had some cool lighting and musical aspects, and at one point the whole stage came apart when Ferdinand got mad and started pulling tables out of the floor. That was after he smashed a cello- the girl next to me screamed and hid her face. I got home at about 11 and was exhausted... no one told me that I was able to sleep in on Monday morning because our math teacher had agreed to cancel class because of the play. So I got up, biked to school, the classroom was empty, looked at the class change list, saw that my math class was listed as "theaterbesuch" so I went up to the Aula, or auditorium. Then I figured out (I was still quite groggy) that we had the class off.. and biked back home. And biked back to school an hour later to start my classes. It was a very exciting Monday. And tomorrow I get to sleep in because my German class has a test on Kabale und Liebe, and the other exchange student and I craftily "forgot" to ask the teacher whether we had to take it or not, and today she was out sick and so we asked the math teacher, who said we could stay home. :) I think part of being a successful exchange student is knowing when it would be more productive to catch up on sleep. Which is what I need to go do now! Sorry this was long and probably quite boring... Naja. Christmas parties galore coming up- I'll write about them as they occur!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Once a week, once a day... I've got a lot of time on my hands, what can I say? I write down the homework but as I have absolutely no idea where to begin I feel pretty uninspired to do it, so I just read German novels instead. And write lists.

Things that are funny.
1. My English teacher's name is Doris Preckwinkel.
2. The female minister at the church in my town has a nose piercing. So does my German teacher.
3. The teachers say "Nummer B", or "Number B". Someday I will point out to them that neither A nor B are numbers.
4. The commercials for Schwipp-Schwapp, an orange cola soda. Mostly I like the name and the way the guy on the TV pronounces it. Try saying it, it's fun.
5. The name Jane is pronounced Yana. I also know someone whose name is spelled Yana. Which is probably better in some ways because when she goes to America she'll recognize her own name instead of being like "who's Jain?"
6. All the girls don't wear makeup EXCEPT for black mascara. Pretty much every single girl wears it, but rarely anything else. It's like underwear for your face.
7. When you want to ask for a piece of gum, you say, "hast du ein Kaugummi?" I love that word. When I'm back at NHS I'm totally going to ask kids if they have a Kaugummi.
8. The word for cake is Kuchen (which, if you twist it a bit, sounds more like cookies) and the word for cookie is Keks. Guess how it's pronounced? Cakes. Confusing much?
9. An acceptable response to "Entschuldigung" (meaning oops, sorry) is "Ja." Said in a way that, the first time I heard it, made it sound like "yeah, you should be sorry!" but then I realized it was more along the lines of "Yes, okay, I accept your apology." More interesting than funny.
10. English class. The mistakes people make are mistakes I would never even think of as being confusing, and yet I can't even manage to explain why they're wrong- I've listened to a different way of saying it my whole life, but I don't know the grammatical rules behind it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rabbit Rabbit!!

Happy December! (title explanation for people like Kerry who are confused when I talk about bunnies in winter- it's supposedly good luck to say Rabbit Rabbit on the first of every month). I was creepin'on a bunch of other exchange students' blogs to see how they're holding up in this crazy wonderful country, and one of them had a pretty good idea (that she got from somewhere else- don't you love sharing?) to write a list of ten things once a week. A different theme every week. She's had some pretty good themes already- I might end up stealing them sometime.

Things I am Excited About.

1. Christmas!!!! Only 24 days. My host parents made a traditional (I think) advent calendar, made from a bunch of little bags hung on a mobile thing, and for each day there are two little wrapped gifts, one for Clara and one for me. Today I got a little change purse, which is actually really nice because it's obnoxious to have coins fall out of my pants pockets every time I take my pants off!

2. Austria in February! Second foreign country ever, plus I get to ski in the Alps and cross something off my bucket list!

3. Becoming fluent in German. Someday it will happen.

4. Finishing reading my first German book (Die B├╝cherdiebin- The Book Thief). And starting my next one! Harry Potter, perhaps?

5. The 2010 Winter Olympics. I'm getting my little American flag ready to wave.

6. Visiting Amsterdam in June with my class! THIRD foreign country ever!

7. December 21- the winter equinox. AKA the day on which the days start getting longer, and you start to feel hopeful that someday you'll be biking to school with the sun already up!

8. Going to two different Weihnachtsmarkts this weekend! One in Alexanderplatz with Claire, another CBYXer, and one called the Rixdorfer with a bunch of other AFSers and exchange students. I love all the lights and smells and happy faces.

9. Senior Year. Just to say I'm a senior.

10. This coming summer. I really don't even have any clue what I'll be doing, but I have hopes and dreams, plus by then I'll be bilingual (well jeez, at least I hope so!) and it will be SUMMER. And that alone is something to be ridiculously excited about.