Sunday, February 14, 2010

the wheel of torture

Welcome back! It seems like a lifetime since I started this journey with Rotary, but I have finally come to the official starting point. Our weekend in Canada started with a mind-numbingly long bus ride to Sault (which is pronounced Sue; they just messed up the spelling) Ste. Marie, Ontario. It was exciting to be in Canada, eh? The Winter Olympics in Vancouver were commencing in the same country which made us all feel extremely cool. After a multi-cultural dinner served by the Sault College Culinary and Hospitality programs, we gathered to learn our country assignments. As calm as I may seem now, such was NOT the case as I sat wringing my hands and shaking in my chair. Gather in a room with a bunch of anxious teenagers and you will get an award from me. I don't know how our coordinators handled the stressed hormones. Kudos. The first thing we all noticed was a wheel with flags on it. The wheel was spun and it landed on India. After some teasing, a girl was selected. This may sound fun, but it was Wheel of Fortune from hell. It was like Vanna White flaunting our lives in front of us. Not cool. The variety of countries was not very large and I knew my country was up there. My turn had to come some time. People got Germany, Taiwan, Lithuania, Thailand, Brazil and others. People kept going up and getting their countries as I sat. Well, "sat" is a vague description as I bounced up and down, my mind a tornado of thoughts. Then I heard my name. The wheel had been spun. It landed on Germany. I got up in a daze, no reaction on my face, but my heart raced. After calling my mom, of course, and texting my best friend, Meagan, I took my seat again. From this point on I was able to relax and watch others go through their torment. I almost felt bad. There are now 7 people going to Taiwan, 6 people headed Brazil, and 5 of us are taking over Germany. I am going to live and study in Germany. That's in Europe for those who need a map. Germany was the fourth country on my preference list, behind Spain, Argentina, and Austria. I am excited about my assignment. I am now beginning my education in German, a language that I have never been remotely interested in, which may come back to bite me in the butt since I am going to live in Germany. No matter, I will conquer the lugi hawking while speaking. With the anxiety now gone, the real work begins. Learning German will be my goal for the next two years. Our next conference is in April, back at the Kettunen Center in Cadillac Michigan. Next time we all congregate, hopefully the nerves will have receded a bit. Doubt it, though. Auf Wiedersehen!--sjinternational

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