Monday, May 9, 2011

a healthy dose of happiness

I wish that everyone on this planet could experience all that I have in the past four weeks. Instead of work, war, boredom, and toil, everyone should take a trip around a country, any country, with people that make them laugh. Then make the time for a trip to a place they've always dreamed of going. It could be Disney World or Antarctica. Anywhere. Mine happened to be England. Four weeks can change a lot, but four weeks traveling can change a life. It all started on April 9th, 2011 at about 9:15. Every exchange student gathered at Augsburg main station for three weeks on the road. 19 days, 20 cities, 30 teenagers, 3 chaperones, 1 bus. I'm just going to put it out there: I had so much fun. Sure, three weeks with the same people cramped in a bus and hostels night after night can be tough. Emotions fluxuated, I was pretty much permanently sick, and there truly is no way to control how your friends' suitcases explode in your hostel room every night. Despite all this, I had the time of my life. I've seen more of Germany than my host families and friends. Up to the East Sea, over into France and back down to the Alps that I love; this was the trip of a lifetime. I'll give you a layout of our days on the road. Every day we were on the road, exluding the extra days we spent in cities like Hamburg, Cologne, and Dresden. Usually we would check into our hostel and then take the afternoon to explore the city. Sometimes the Rotex, our chaperones, would sometimes give us guided tours of the cities, but mostly we had free reign to wander and explore on our own. In the evenings we would have dinner at the hostel and then sometimes we would go out to a club or a bar all together. The best thing about this trip was being with the people. Usually we just split into our little language groups and stay that way, but in these three weeks together we had the time to break out a bit and hang out with the others. I loved becoming really good friends with the Latinas and the Brasilians. I'm really grateful to this trip for making this group of teenagers like a family. It's something all of us need on a year away from home. Upon the end of D-Tour on April 28th, after the tears, I had less than 24 hours to unpack, do laundry, and re-pack for my school trip to England on the 29th. I went as fast as I could, taking time to watch the Royal Wedding, but there really is no rushing washing clothes in a family who hang dries everything. Then, at 11 p.m. on April 29th, I and 43 of my classmates boarded yet another coach bus for the 15 hour drive to Broadstairs, England. When we finally arrived, I was in heavan. We got to our host families and parted ways on the 30th. My family, the Edwards, was very shocked that they had gotten an American girl. I got on with the whole family really well, playing with the 4 year old host sister, cuddling with their labradoodle, and having great conversations with my host mom. I was seriously happy to go home every night. The next day: London. A little background on me: I have had a little bit of an obsession with London my entire life. It was always one of those places that seemed magical to me. And now I've made it there. I was a wide-eyed child all day. The Parliament Building, the London Eye, , Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. James Park, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Tower of London, and Picadilly Circus. I saw it all. I was actually there! The whole day was a dream. I definately need more time there to see it all: a week, a month, maybe even a whole other exchange year! Now to the main part of the trip: The Kent School of English. Were were in class every morning, split into level groups 1-5, 5 being the highest. I was in 5 thankfully. My teachers all askes me if I had learned English in the USA and I always explained to situation. I got to know the teachers and staff pretty well and they were a lot of fun. Every afternoon, we took a trip somewhere: Sandwich, Leed's Castle, and Canterbury were all on the schedule. All of them were amazing and beautiful. Then every evening we had a program through the school. They all sounded really lame to me: karaoke, folk songs, barn dance, disco and movie. I was always shocked at how much fun I had at each activity. On 6 a.m. on May 7th it all came to an end and we drove back to Bavaria. 18 hours in a bus and we arrived at midnight back in Friedberg. All of my friends were happy to be home. I was happy to be off that bus, but I was so not ready to leave England. My first host family picked me up and I am once again with another family. Now back to real life. I only have two months left. After four weeks of complete happiness, that piece of information is a downer. I don't know if I'm ready to go home now. I am excited to see my family and friends and home again, but I feel like this is my home now, too, with my exchange student family and school friends. It's a weird place to be, stuck here in the middle. After learning so much this year, all I know is that time is against me. That four week trip was a healthy dose of happiness and my wake-up call to how little exchange I have left.--sjinternational

1 comment:

  1. Sarah your insight about 4 weeks changing a lot but 4 weeks traveling changing a life was spot on. Excellent writing as talking to you but love reading what you write as well. ENJOY the rest of this journey. There will be others.