Sunday, February 7, 2010

Home Again

And back in Berlin! That week went remarkably quickly, although the first couple days I legitimately expected that my legs would just keep swelling and I'd come home in a wheelchair. Perhaps not. We left promptly at 11 p.m. (23.00 Uhr) on Saturday, which was very German of us. We watched Slumdog Millionare (auf Deutsch), which was really good, and not as intense as I'd expected it to be. Good thing, because there were 11-year-olds on the bus... it was still pretty intense. The Germans don't really follow the whole movie rating system. Anyhoo, we stopped at Mickey D's for breakfast (huh? Who knew they had muffins?) and already I could notice some differences in the language, because by that point we were in Austria. For example, they say Erdapfel (earth apple) instead of Kartoffel (potato). And their accents are really thick and remarkably difficult for a German to understand, so needless to say I was pretty lost when they spoke to me until they repeated it about three times.
On Sunday we had our first ski session in the afternoon, just to get used to the slopes. I've only ever done beginner slopes, and I don't think I've skiied since freshman year when I dumbly attempted the ski team. However, I think one of the things about being an exchange student is that it makes you more confident to just jump into something having no idea where you'll go with it. So, I just followed my group down the mountain and tried not to die. We spent most of the first day on an intermediate slope, and I lived! I think I fell over once but I didn't lose poles or skis, which all my other groupmates did at least once. The lifts are funny too- on our mountain there was a cable car, with closed "cars" that fit up to 8 people, and then a bunch of pulley line cable things... I don't really know what they're called. At Berkshire East the only one is at the bunny hill, you know, the one that rips your arms off? Yeah. Except these actually come from behind so it pulls you from your butt. Which is much more comfortable and easy.
Monday we were put into our groups for the week. There was a group of older kids who were studying theory and taking a test to be a ski/ snowboard teacher, so they were all together. The remaining skiiers were separated into two groups: advanced-ish and non-advanced-ish. I was in the non-advanced-ish. But we still stayed on intermediate slopes, one that was super steep and went the whole way down the mountain so we got to take the cable car up. I fell over a lot. My calves have these small muscles in the middle that apparently never get used outside of skiing, because they were KILLING. Plus at one point I made a particularly nasty fall and twisted my knee a bit- I woke up Tuesday morning and it was enormous. So I took the day off and enjoyed the gorgeous panoramic view from our bedroom. The rest of the week went smoothly except Friday, when I woke up with a wicked sore throat, headache, fever, and nausea. So day off number two. Luckily it's all better now except a kind of gross cough.
So, accomplishments/good parts of the trip:
-I can officially call myself an intermediate skiier!
-I made friends! Mostly who were younger, because most of the people closer to my age were in the theory group (although there was only one other 16-year-old so I didn't feel left out.)
-Food= delicious. We had a traditional Austrian dish called Kaiserschmarrn, which is hard to explain- basically it's chopped up Eierkuchen, which is the same as Linda's German pancakes. Somewhat crepe-like. We ate it with applesauce, and it was quite wonderful.
-The view was AMAZING. Except Wednesday when it was snowing so hard and so cloudy that we couldn't even see any mountains out the window. And with the lack of sunlight the sky and ground were the same color, so I skiied with a combination of trust, hope, and squinting.

So yesterday we hopped on the bus again- I had a great seat until one of the leader guys told me to get up and find another seat because he (a very small balding middle-aged guy) needed two seats. So I got stuck next to a boy (luckily pretty quiet) but right in front of all the other boys, which means I was surrounded by game systems and iphones and chips the whole time. We watched- count 'em- THREE movies. (It's about a 9 and a half hour drive.) First: Don't Mess With the Zohan. Stupid. Don't bother watching. The boys loved it. The men loved it. The girls couldn't wait for it to be over. Second: Hancock. Not bad, not exactly my type though. I do love Jason Bateman though. Third: Snatch. Definitely the best, although they couldn't figure out how to turn off the English subtitles and I have a feeling I wouldn't have been able to understand it without them. The other two were fine but Snatch had a pretty confusing plotline. It took me until about halfway through to figure out who everyone was.

So anyway, Simon picked me up (I like having an older brother) and I walked in the door and got a little whoosh of a smell that I distinctly remember as one of the first things I noticed on Sebtember 12 when I arrived. I guess I don't really notice it unless I've been away for a while. It's not a bad smell or a good smell, it's just a smell.

On my sick day I watched Juno on my ipod, and I particularly liked this bit:
"I never realize how much I like being home unless I've been somewhere really different for a while."

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