Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Well, Rotary was right; they usually are. I doubted all of the perfected charts and statistics at the orientation conferences, but I guess they've been at this long enough to be able to put it down on paper. For me, that dip in the emotional roller coaster around December/January is right on; the holiday blues are real. They started right before our exchange student Christmas weekend in Nürnberg. I went into the weekend with mixed feelings. We had to take a German test to track our language progress, and as soon as I heard the word "test" I automatically dreaded going. No doubt I was excited to see everyone together for the first time since Berlin, but on the other hand it was the last time we would be all together with the group we have now. Most of the January Inbounds are heading home before our next Rotex ski-weekend in Oberstdorf in late January. I was looking forward to seeing Nürnberg, one of Bayern's most prominent cities. Then there was facing the fact that one of my fellow Americans had left his exchange a few days before. Everyone would be so confused, not to mention dissappointed, at his absence since none of them knew he had left. The weekend ended up being better than my pre-conceived dreading had led me to believe. The test wasn't completely excruciating- in fact it was easier than all of the high school Spanish tests I have taken in the past two years. I wish that I done better than I did, but it was a pretty good score for most of the new Inbounds and, hey, I passed. We spent Saturday morning at the Dokumentszentrum, which is where the history of Hitler's regime is housed. It was rather dumbfounding just how big Hitler's empire was. We've obviously learned about WWII and the Holocaust, but I never thought about the impact he had on his own people. With the monuments and stadiums he had built, I can understand the German people wanting to be proud of something like that, even under such horrible pretenses. In the afternoon, there was a full-blown exchange student snowball war. If you ever get the chance to see Brasilians playing in their first snow, it will make you smile. We headed to the ice stadium, some of us still shaking snow out of our ears, pants, and other nooks and crannies. Despite horrible skates and a packed rink, we exchange students managed to have fun. I spent most of my time helping those who had never even seen snow before, let alone tried on a pair of ice skates. What a sight that was. That night, even though I had an earsplitting headache, we headed out into the Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt, which is apparently the "best" Christmas market in Bayern. On Sunday, I came home. I was tired from the weekend, sad from saying goodbye to those who I probably won't see again, and my headache was relentless. I was a bit miserable. I struggled through school on Monday and my host club's Christmas dinner. I felt like I just needed a good break down, which I got on Tuesday; I couldn't even get out of bed. I cried a lot. It hurt but it felt so good just to let it all out. I have been strong for almost 4 months and I deserved a good cry. After a chat with my mom and my best friend, Meagan, I did feel a bit better. Now, as I write this blog down in class, next to friends who have no idea how hard this life is at times, I think about what is going on in my life. I have one more day of school, then 2 weeks of break. Maybe I'll go swimming and to the Friedberger Christkindlesmarkt with my host parents this afternoon. I have English next hour. It's raining and my boots aren't amazingly waterproof. I still miss my family, but there is truly nothing to be done about that. So, I can either: A: wallow in self-pity at the life decision I made or B: suck it up and enjoy what opportunities I have, knowing how proud my support system back home is of me. I'm going with plan B. Holiday Blues aren't fun, but the holiday season is a time to be happy and only I have the power to change my attitude this Christmas. Whatever you celebrate, have a wonderful holiday and a happy New Year! See you in 2011!--sjinternational.