Sunday, March 20, 2011


Who knew Sarah Jane could have a social life that she enjoyed? On Friday night, I conquered my fear of clubs when my friend Martina and I headed to Friedberg's Tropicana, the club on the lake. I wasn't exactly looking forward to a Friday night without my bed and a good book, but I put on a brave face and faced the teenage nightlife with my friends. I wasn't expecting to have as much fun as I did, so that made it all better. I had no idea how much I enjoyed dancing! I also found two Brazilian exchange students from my distrikt, which was fun, too. Around midnight, we headed out of the club. I was sweaty and tired, but really happy. On Saturday, I had an 8 o'clock wake up call. I met with a group of the exchange students in Augsburg and we traveled to Ulm. With a group of spanish speakers, I was a bit intimidated. I guess I'm not used to being the minority, even in a group when I'm already friends with everyone. I found that it was good to only have one other english speaker. I definitely got to know the other exchange students a lot better and make some new friends within our own group. Ulm is the home of the tallest church tower in the world. It stands at 161 meters. The architechture of the cathedral was absolutely beautiful. It's tall gothic tower is a great icon for the city. We climbed to the top and I can't even explain the pain my legs are still in. So many stairs; they were never-ending. The view from the top was worth the climb though. It was beautiful. Then, if climbing up was tiring, climbing down was downright scary. Imagine a narrow, winding staircase with stairs that seem to get smaller the more you concentrate on them. Scary. Lunch made me very happy: Pizza Hut Cheesy Crust Pizza. I haven't had an American style pizza in 6 months and I was a very happy camper. After such a good lunch, what could make this day better but shopping! I got my spring shopping done at H&M with my friends Ryan and Camila. Laughing and getting to know more people made my day really great. When I got home, I was able to Skype with my mom. We hadn't talked in a while and I really wanted just to catch up with her. Sometimes it sucks that I can't share everything so easily with her, even if it's just the little stuff. However, I know she's always there for me if I need to talk. Overall, it was a really good weekend born out of things that I wasn't expecting to enjoy very much. We only have 3 weeks until the Germany tour with Rotary and all of the exchange students are to go and be together again. The time is going so quickly by, I'm sure it will be here in no time.--sjinternational
Ulmer Münster- the tallest church tower in the world.

Monday, March 14, 2011

fasching and beyond

It's been awhile, my friends. It's safe to say that not a whole lot has been happening around here. Life has gone on, much like it has this past month. We have been out of school for the past week for a holiday called 'Fasching'. I'm not exactly sure what we were celebrating. Most likely something with Lent and the Catholic religion. I got a week out of school, so I'm not complaining. I've seen decorations and costumes in stores for the past couple of weeks. With the weather as nice as it's been, I honestly thought we had gone back to Halloween in Oktober. The first event of my break arrived after school last Friday: LILY! My Canadian friend came to stay the weekend at my house. On Saturday, we met up with some other exchange students in Munich to celebrate the 18th birthday of the other Candian exchange student, Torrington. We had a great day displaying our inner children at the zoo, shopping in the city, and enjoying dinner at the famous Hofbrauhaus. We still have a month until the D-Tour, which kicks off in April, so hopefully we will all have the time (and the cash) to meet up once more this month. On Sunday, my host family and I took a day trip to Chiemsee, where I visited the final of Kind Ludwig II's fairytale castles. Castle Herrchiemsee is a direkt replica of the castle at Versailles in France. On the tour, I was blown away at the sheer size, let alone the detail that accompanied it. The great hall took up the whole front of the building, measuring 89 metres long, if I remember correctly. Mirrors and windows played with the architechture and light filling the building. It was beautiful. Monday was taken to recover from the weekend. I then made dinner for my family and they really appreciated it. On Tuesday, there was a Fasching parade through Friedberg. When I biked into town, I heard the parade before I entered the city limits. I met with some of my friends and we watched the oversized, deafening floats weave through the streets. It wasn't like parades at home, let me tell you... First of all, I can usually still hear after some of the parades in the U.S. They're loud, but they're not dangerous. What shocked me the most was that the people on the floats were drinking and smoking simoultaneously while throwing candy at people- not to; AT. I hate smoking anyways, so it was already disgusting, but on top of that, every alcohol I've ever heard of was on the floats or in the crowd. I've never seen so much alcohol and trash in public before. I decided to bike home. I love hanging out with my friends, but that is just not my scene. By Wednesday, I was ready for some "me" time, I took the bus to Augsburg for a shopping day. There's nothing like books and clothes for some therapy. Thursday, surprisingly, was my favorite day on break. My host sister, Verena, and I visited the grandparents. They live in the heart of Friedberg, with all those beautiful houses that popped out of "Beauty and the Beast". I was not prepared for so much food. Maybe it's a Grandma thing, but I felt so welcome and it was a great way to spend my 6 month anniversary. I even had my first schnitzel. I know it's sad that I haven't had it after 6 months, but I'm getting there. I really felt like part of the family, chatting and laughing. It was a great day with Verena and Oma and Opa Zabel. Friday featured even more food when family friends came over for dinner. The sauerbraten and potato knödels were good, but dessert wiped them both off the board: homemade creme brulee and raspberry sauce. I was so happy, I didn't even care that little wimpering sounds were escaping my mouth as I tasted heavan. The weekend was all about chilling. The weather was gorgeous, so on Saturday I got lost in my iPod and went walking through the fields in the sunshine. One of my unhealthier obsessions came into play as I watched Survivor online until 3:30 a.m. Not my strongest moment... I did get to Skype with my best friend from home. As fast as the time is going for me, it seems to be going a slower pace for those at home. I can't believe: 4 months until I head home, 1 month until D-Tour, 6 hours until I shower... The time is playing tricks with my mind. I continue to learn and speak. I continue to miss my parents. I continue to get frustrated. Mostly, I just continue to live my life and be grateful for what I have. Sidenote: Everyone has heard of the disasters in the Pacific. Having been to Japan and having met the people there, it hurts to hear of the loss of lives and culture as the earth fights back against humanity. I hope for the safety of Japan's people and have come to appreciate my lot in life even more.--sjinternational