Wednesday, January 19, 2011

light as a feather, stiff as a board

Well, it certainly has been a while, or at least it feels that way. The new year is well underway and my holiday blues are long gone. I feel brighter and happier; I'm excited to start the next leg of my year As Rotary said, it will only go up from here. I imagine that the weather has played a hand in my good moods lately; it's been practically spring here for the past week. The sun was shining, the snow is all gone and it's been in the 40s (F). Absolutely unbelievable for January. A lot of things seem to be changing. It's not good or bad, just change. My friend Hayley's year has ended and she is now back in Australia beginning a new chapter after exchange. It's always hard to have people leave, to know that they won't be there the next time our group gathers. Seeing how many people were affected by her departure showed me that this is important. What I'm doing sends ripples and makes a difference, even if it's a small one. Just two weeks ago, the newspaper in my town published an article that I had written over my first 2 months of exchange. I was so proud and happy to see that other people could read about what I'm doing. I simply wanted other students to know that there are other paths. Sitting in a classroom for a year isn't the only way to learn, that you can get out there and live while learning on the fly. I have also learned more about my family changes. Up until now I had absolutely no clue as to when I would be changing households. Now, I have a complete layout of my living situation fór the rest of my exchange. Keep up if you can. I will be moving to my second host family at the beginning of February. I will live with them until my 3 week Germany tour starting in April. Directly after the Germany tour, I have the trip to England with my class at school. At this point I will have been living out of a suitcase well into the month of May. When I finally come home, I will be moving back into the house of my first family until a week or so into June. My last leg of exchange will be spent with my counselor and her family until I go home, probably sometime in early July. I'm relieved to have some knowledge of my life, but it's also a bit shocking to have my life so specifically broken down before me. Another change at the moment is the death of my computer. My laptop is being attacked by a virus posing as an Anti-Virus company- the irony is killing me. I can still answer e-mails on my iPod or my host family's computer, but things were definately much easier on my own computer. The virus began just in time for my Rotary presentation. Thankfully, I was able to save all of the pictures I needed to show for it. In my four and a half months here, I have gotten pretty comfortable communicating in my new language. I am also quite comfortable speaking in front of a group of people. That being said, the feeling is completely different when I was speaking in front of the people providing for me on my exhange in another language other than my mother-tongue. I was so ridiculously nervous. I felt like a kid on his first date. You know how it goes: shaky hands, forgetting what to say, making small and unnecessary mistakes you berate yourself constantly for making. In the end, it could have gone better, but that's just me being my own critic. The Rotarians, of course, were wonderfully generous in their compliments and said they were impressed by my progress in the language. Also, my second host family was there. It was my first time meeting them and they were really nice. They are Rotary Exchange veterans, persay, having two daughters who've gone on exchange and having hosted at least once before me. They love the program and supporting the opportunity to see a culture through different eyes. Their younger daughter, Verena, is a Rebound who went to Argentina last year. We are going to be good friends. You want to know how I know? She pointed to the Wicked pin on my blazer and exclaimed, "You like Wicked, too?!". Oh yes, we'll be just fine. This coming weekend is our Ski Weekend in Oberstdorf. With all this spring-like weather, I hope that the Alps still have some snow for our use. I was also invited to my Rotary Club's Ski trip at the end of February, so my presentation really must not have been half bad. With the weather fluxuating from winter to spring and a wealth of new information in my head, I feel somewhat lighter. The oppressive winter darkness and homesickness melted away with that first round of snow and here I still stand, beginning to truly enjoy simply being here. Even the lack of my computer hasn't cast a shadow on my mood. Plus, I have some mighty good books on my Kindle, thanks to my all-knowing mother. I feel lighter, happier, and I'm sure of my place here. It will only keep getting better.--sjinternational

1 comment:

  1. Sarah, I have so enjoyed reading about your journey. I loved your holiday letter. Thanks for sharing. They clearly picked the right person for such an adventure. Hope you are well and glad to hear you made it through the holidays. We are always homesick then as well. When you are in England, visit a town named Cheltenham. I did my student teaching there. Much peace to you. Love, the White-LaComb family