Tuesday, November 16, 2010

time, expectations, and fairytale castles

After the Berlin trip with Rotex, which set my new standard of fun, I thought November was going to be long and torturous as I wait for our next exchange student gathering in December. I quickly figured out that life isn't pre-planned and I can't live from Rotary event to Rotary event. That is no way to enjoy exchange or life. With a little prompting from my mom, I took matters into my own hands. She reminded me that I have the resources to make things happen and if I haven't tried then I shouldn't feel sorry for myself. Wise words of a mother. In less than two days, I had made plans to meet a friend in Augsburg and now my best friend on exchange, Lily from Canada, is coming to spend the weekend with me. Now, November is halfway over. I'm not counting the months in anticipation to go home, but as an exchange student time is both a friend and an enemy. It's hard not to be constantly thinking about time. I've been here 2 and a half months already. My friend Hayley only has a month and a half left of her exchange. That will be me in 6 months. But who's counting? This is how my mind is constantly working. Not to mention trying to keep up with the language 24/7. I do feel like the language is always getting better, but I find I'm always tired from the overtime work my brain has to do. Language remains the main obstacle in life. I don't have any intense homesickness. However, the thing I miss the most is comfort. I miss being absolutely at ease in my own home or being such good friends with someone that their home is yours as well. That's a luxury I don't have here. I may be part of my host family, but at the moment I feel as if they will always only be my HOST family and I'm still a guest in their home. I've realized this month that exchange, put simply, is life with more challenges. If anyone reading this blog is thinking of going on exchange to fufill their European dream, they should get that out of their heads right now. I was a bit naive and thought more of travel opportunities than being content with life as it is. You know how it goes: the grass is always greener in France when you're in Italy. A lot of Rotary clubs are different. Some are really laid back with their exchange students, whereas others, like mine, are very straight-laced and don't let me do much without consulting the rulebook. It's frustrating when I don't have the same opportunities as the other exchange students and sometimes it feels like I can't sneeze without asking permission, but I know they really care about me and are simply following the rules. I do have amazing opportunities with Rotary and my family, but most of the time I should let them come to me instead of constantly seeking them out. Which brings me to my last point. The beautiful air over the Alps from the Mediterranean called Fühn that I love so much visited Bavaria last weekend. The weather was absolutely fabulous and this resulted in a trip to Schloss Neuschwanstein. King Ludwig II's fairytale castle truly is out of a dream. Whatever he wanted, it was incorporated into the architechture. That's probably why he was cut-off and declared insane. You can't always get what you want... After 16 years of building, only 16 rooms were finished (and even the throne room is missing the most important feature.) He only lived in the castle for a total of 400 and something days before he mysteriously died in a lake nearby with the doctor who declared him insane. His family only waited 4 weeks after his death to open the castle to the public. It was a huge money maker then and it still is today. There's a little history lesson for you. I do pay attention when I go on tours. I ran into another exchange student at the entrance of the castle: Enrique from Argentina. We ended up going on the tour together. To get the best view of the castle, we went up to the Marienbrücke. It is a bridge over a gorge just behind the castle. Although it is beautiful, it's not exactly reassuring to feel the wooden boards moving under the weight of 50+ people. It was a pretty perfect day. After that beautiful weather, the snow came today. It will be a while before it coats the ground, but winter is in the air!--sjinternational


  1. Good one darlin... I really like how you talked about what you are feeling and going through as well as what you are doing. Helps us all get a little insight. I don't think of time in months really but I do think of hours all of the time. If I look at a clock I see what time it is for me and I constantly count ahead 6 to see what time it is for you! Keep on writing, it's great to read.

  2. Mom's right babe, GREAT piece of writing. I think the best one yet!