Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New Host Family, New school, New life

Monday night Claudia talked to me in the kitchen and asked me, "How would you feel if I told you we found a totally nice family for you?". I didn't say anything, in hopes that she'd tell me what I was hoping-that it was them. But she told me a family friend of their neighbors volunteered to host me for the year. I know I was supposed to be excited, but for some reason nothing came out. I had no words for what I was feeling. Although a new host family is what I wanted, something was off.

The next morning I got picked up by my new host mother, Carola. And there, where I had to say goodbye to the Neubauers, was where I realized why I hadn't been enthusiastic. I had grown so attached to their family, their home, their lifestyle, that I never thought I'd ever have to say goodbye. I'm not a cryer, nor do I often show my feelings, but saying goodbye was a sadness I can't recall experiencing before. I balled hugging goodbye, balled on the ride to my new house, balled everytime I thought about the family I had left. Although my new family is only 5 or so kilometers away, it feels like a world away.

Luckily, I will be going to the same German classes as Jack twice a week. Georg and Phillip I will see also as they take Spanish lessons there at the same time. The Neubauers gave me a card wishing me luck and reminiscing on time spent with one another. I keep it in my memory box for Germany.

But now, for my new host family. They live in Berlin- or on the outskirts. They are the Sahms. Its two parents (Peter and Carola) and two daughters-one of 15 (Carolin) and one of 18 (Linda). They are both really funny and I taught them how to play Egyptian Rat Screw which they ask me to play as much as possible-convinced they will beat me some day, which I am sure they will. Linda and I went running together and talked about the disadvantages to being short. We ate dinner together and I taught unique American dances like "the shopping cart", "the sprinkler", and "the lawnmower". It was the laughter that took place yesterday that starting healing the wound of leaving the Neubauers. AFS always tells you, when your upset, hang out with people and you never think that will help. All you want to do is sit alone. But yesterday I realized how much it really helps and that that is the only way to start feeling better.

Naturally, new city= new school. 6th new school in 5 years. You'd think first days would get easier, but god knows they don't. My school is also in Berlin, Carolin goes there, and its home to 1200 students. But I told myself that being nervous wouldn't help my situation, and spent the day going to classes with another student in my grade. Her name was Wiwi (pronounced vii-vii) and she made it totally unawkward to be with her all day (as usually it feels like I'm a burden). My German is so much better than when I started my last school, and therefore I actually made a legit group of friends instead of having the "I'm only nice to you cause your foreign but I secretly want to ditch you right now" friends. My schedules amazing, and I go home around noon 3 days a week. I'm actually looking forward to school tomorrow. School made everything feel better and I started imagining my year in this family and this city-and it looks really good. Plus, living in Berlin gives one more school break than in Brandenburg. I have German classes tonight which adds to why today was a good day.

And now for some pictures I should have posted with earlier entries:

Trip to the Berlin Zoo
Visiting a castle in Potsdam with Jack

Late Orientation Camp in September in Berlin
Countries from left to right: Mexico, China, America, Brazil, Japan, Brazil, Panama, Brazil

These are my good friends Lauren and Evan, during our orientation in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. naturally.


  1. So after glancing through some of your entries, I've come to the conclusion that you got a bad first host family (like me!). I'm glad to see that I'm not alone haha. Except in Switzerland (for some unknown reason, which I actually know...) AFS Switzerland won't allow us to change schools. So I live in Zurich, and get up really early everyday to go to school (which is over an hour away). So now I wish I had gone to Germany.. they let you change schools!
    Do the AFSers hang out a lot or no?

  2. hey i'm also an exchange student in germany and i'm wondering why you changed families..
    I've been thinking about switching myself but i don't want to make the wrong decision
    any advice?

  3. you are sooo lucky
    berlin might possibly be my favorite city in the world!