Thanks for following me on this journey!
Here's to my final blog post in Germany. This is my last night with my host family before it's time to head back to reality. I didn't think that I would grow to love this place and this family as much as I do. They have blessed me with such a wonderful experience that I will alway cherish. I owe them so much for this! I have officially completed my student teaching and will be flying home early tomorrow morning to receive my degree Saturday morning. I can't express how much of an impact this experience has had on my life and my teaching career. Who can say they did 4 weeks of student teaching in another country? Not many! Tonight, I am going to dinner with my family and enjoying this last night that I have with them. I guess that means I need to except that it's time to go home and start packing my stuff...
Thanks for following me on this journey!
Boy do I have some stories from my trip to Münster today. My mom, sister, brother, and I took a trip to Münster this afternoon as our final trip together. They wanted me to see the city and the Christmas Market there. Based off of the Köln, Dortmund, Werne, Amsterdam, and Münster Christmas Markets, Münster's has to be the best! The city is absolutely gorgeous! The Cathedral there was huge and so breath-taking. Here come all of the weird sories that took place during this trip. While we were waiting to pull into the parking lot, we saw a lady hit a boy that was riding his bike. If you have ever been in Germany, you know that bikes have the right of way against everything else and they most definitely take advantage of that! Most peple on their bikes don't look and just do their own thing. It was definitely a scary situation. Luckily, the boy got up and was perfectly fine, just a little shaken up. Next, we walked through the Christmas Market where we stopped to get Kacko (a.k.a hot chocolate). We were sharing a table with these two ladies from Münster and my host mom began talking with them. Since I know very little German, I did the polite thing and just smiled the whole time they talked. My host mom asked me a question, so of course I answered in English. One of the ladies was very confused because my host mom had introduced me as her daughter about 5 minutes before. These ae the words that came from this woman's mouth: "Oh! You are from the USA. Can I get a picture with you? I've never met an American before!" Not knowing how to respond, I ended up taking a picture with this woman. Not even two minutes later, she began insulting America and talking about how she would love to learn Oxford English but not American English because we speak gibberish. She proceeded to insult me and said I had a weird accient and that I must be apart of the Sotuh. My host mom told her we were leaving and we all began to walk away. Before I left, I turned to the women, smiled, and said "I hope y'all have a great night" in my best southern accient. You better believe I put some emphasis on the "y'all" too! I think the one woman almost died standing there with the look she gave me. (I'm definitely not making this up either! I have 3 other witnesses. Some people are rude!) We walked away and my host brother turned and looked at me. He said "Way to tell her. She needed to learn to shut up. Some people just talk to much." I couldn't help but start laughing at him. As we walked through the downtown area by the Christmas Market, my host mom decided she wanted to walk into a shop. While she was looking, my brother, sister, and I were looking at an American cook book! I never wanted so much unhealthy food from America in my life. My sister ended up taking pictures of some of the recipes to make at home. Tomorrow I'm teaching them how to make grilled cheese! While we were still in the store, we turned around and guess who was there?? The same lady that just insulted me 20 minutes agp. She stuck her nose in the air and walked right past us. If you know me at all, you know that I had to say "howdy y'all" just so she could hear my annoying American accient with awful American English. :) After so more shopping and walking around, we decided to leave to go and get dinner. Once we got to the car, my mom threw her car keys at me and told me I was diving home so thatt I could drive on the Autobahn. I definitely thought she was kidding until everyone got into the car and I was just standing there. This girl right here drove home from Münster and survived driving on the Autobahn. It was the scariest and most amazing thing ever! I didn't want to drive super fast since people in German drive like crazies and I was scared, but my host mom told me I had to pick up the speed to beat people. I felt like I was almost in a racecar. I will always remember this moment! Now on to dinner! This is where I tried the best thing I think I've had the whole time I've been here (and I've had some pretty amazing food). I ate a Döner. Don't ask what it was, because I have no clue. All I know is that it has some type of meat, lettuce, onions, two types of sauces, and some peppers on a roll. It was DELICIOUS!!!! I meant to take a picture before, but I was hungry and didn't want to wait!
This has been a fantastic day that I will always remember. I can't believe that tomorrow is my lasy full day in Germany before I fly home on Thrusday and graduate from college on Saturday. Is this really happening?!?
Pictures of my adventures today will come soon! :)
12/7 - Today I hung out at home most of the day and caught up on some reading. I caught up so much that I started and finish the whole book in 3 1/2 hours....opps. Later that afternoon/evening, Jennifer and I decided to go to the Christmas Market in Werne. Man was it cold!! I almost froze riding my bike 10 minutes away, but that was before I had to ride home. Then I really did freeze! It decided that it wanted to start sleeting right after I started heading home. Not only was I riding my bike in the sleet, but I was also riding against the wind. I have never been more tired or cold in my life! I don't know how people ride their bikes in the weather like this! All I want is my nice heated car with my heated seats!!
12/8 - Today I am back at Anne-Frank Gymnasium with the 5th - 12th grade students. I had the opportunity to work in a small group with some students while they were sharing the characterizations they were asked to make for homework over a book they had read and movie they had watched in class. Some of these students gave such wonderful characterizations of the main character and supporting characters, that I feel like I have already read the book and watched the movie. It is hard to believe that English is their second language. Most of them are better at writing and communicating in English than I am! It never ceases to amaze me how much these students actually know! After school, I came straight home and had something very important to attend to! Depending on the outcome of this, I may be sharing what happened on my next blog! Fingers crossed!
12/5 - Well, today was the day. Today was my last day at the elementary school in Lünen. I am going to miss those kids, and II gguess I'll miss teaching with Morgan every day too.:) These students were some of the cutest kids I've ever seen, and they are so smart. It has been a challenege to teach English as a second language, especially when you only speak English and very little of the students' native language. There was a reporter for the Lünen newspaper that came and interviewed Morgan and I about what we've been doing at the school, what we've done in Germany, and about our next steps when returning to America. This is the second newspaper I've been in since my time here in Germany! It's pretty exciting!
12/6 - Today, some of the WKU student teachers, my host sister, and I took a day trip to Köln. Walking out of the train station and seeing the Dome was by far one of the prettiest things I've seen since I've been here! It was very breath-taking. During our time in Köln, we walked through the Christmas Market, toured thee Dome, walked through the Schokolademuseum (chocolatee museum), and walked through some vendor shops. If any of you ever get the chance to go to Germany, GO! This has been the best experrience of my life! This opportunity has been once in a lifetime.
One a sadder note, I graduate one week from today (Saturday) from WKU. I feel like I just started and it's already coming to an end! Thank you to every single peron I've met during my time at Western and all of the people I am so pleased to call my friends! You really do make some of your best friends in college. See y'all at graduation next week!
I just got back from a very cold, yet interesting trip around downtown Werne with some of the WKU student teachers and their host families. I have been around downtown Werne many times during my time here, but I never knew all of the history behind the buildings. I didn't know that there was a monastery located in teh square either. The tour guide took us inside two of the churches and explained the histry behind the statues, the building, and the practice done there. We learned about a very old house that was once used to take care of very contagious people. This place was where one would stay for around 6 weeks until they were no longer contagious to spread the disease. I actually learned quite a bit about this town and it's buildings. It wasn't so bad that I got to spend some time with my friends as well. After the tour, my host mom and I went to get cappuccinos to warm up. She is beyond wonderful and caring! I have been truly blessed during my time here!
This is my final week at the elementary school in Lünen with Morgan. We have been working hard and trying to be the best English teachers that we can be at this school. It has been nothing short of challenging, but I adore these kids! They try so hard and only aim to please us. I will miss them when I go back to the high school next week and when I leave Germany. I will, however, be excited to see my students back home and to hug them! I miss every single one of those kids!
Pictures will come later! :)
Traveling, traveling, traveling! The last 4 days have been such an adventure! On Thursday, my sister, brother, brother's girlfriend, and I all went to the Dortmund Christmas market. I have never seen something so beautiful! If Kentucky/Indiana had these, I'd be so broke! There are little shops set up all throughout downtown with Christmas things to buy, food, and drinks! You gain 10 pounds just smelling everything. I tried my first Bartwurst from Germany on a German roll and it was delicious! They soak them in beer to bring out the flavors than grill them! I also tried mulled wine......I think I'll pass on that next time. It tasted a little too strange for me. While in Dortmund, I got to see the world's largest Chrismas tree. It is made of over 1700 Christmas trees and has over 48,000 lights on it. This picture does not do it justice. It looks crappy because of the quality of my phone camera, but it was gorgeous!
On Friday, Jordan, Kelsey, and I embarked on our very first unsupervised trip to Amsterdam. Anyone that knows us should know that we should not be allowed to go on trips alone, but WE DID IT! We successfully caught three trains, bought tram passes, rode the right tram, and found our hostel all without anyone's help. I am rather proud of this! We decided that after we got settled in, we wanted to go find somewhere to eat and explore this wonderfully gorgeous city! On our first night, we decided to have dinner at a fabulous Italian resturant. This was the BEST Italian pasta I have ever had. EVER! While at dinner, we met two guys from England that were in Amsterdam for the weekend as well. After a long conversation with them, we decided to catch the tram and head back to the hostel. While waiting for the tram, we ran into a very interesting guy. He used a lot of cuss words and invited us to a party. I think this is the first time since traveling that I was actually scared of the people. He was very interesting, but made for some good laughs on the tram ride to the hostel. We also saw a pink wig laying on the ground across the street while waiting for our tram, but it is Amsterdam....that's common right? Not even two feet away was a man seizing on the ground. Luckily, the ambulance pulled up shortly after we saw him.
Saturday was started by sleeping until 10! I have no shame in saying that it was the best sleep I've had the whole time I've been in Germany. I needed a day to sleep in and take my time in getting ready. This was the day that Kelsey, Jordan, and I would be compete American tourists without any type of guide. We managed to find our way to the Anne Frank House, and after waiting almost 2 hours in line, it was the best decision of my life to go! There were so many emotions while walking through that house and seeing all of the artifacts and pictures from what the business looked like during that time. We were not allowed to take pictures out of respect, but I will forever have mental pictures of that wonderful experience. It was so cold outside that we decided to go back to the hostel, get warmed up and map out the rest of our day. We all decided that we HAD to do some shopping while in Amsterdam. That's what all tourists do anyways....right? I found the cutest decoration for my future classroom and I am so excited to use it (hopefully soon). You know you are officially (or almost officially) a teacher when you start buying things for your classroom! I also got some wonderful gifts for my family back home. I cannot wait to give everyone their gifts!! After shopping, we were so tired from all of the walking and sight seeing that we decided to go back to the hostel and to relax for the rest of the night. That resulted in all of us sitting in the dining area on our phones/Ipad communicating with family back home. I can't complain though, because I got the chance to talk to my Addy bugs back home that I miss more than anyone probably (sorry everyone else), my sister, brother, mom, and some friends back home. It was a great way to unwind and share some of my experiences!
On Sunday, it was time to get our things together, do some last minute sight seeing, and catch our train to return to Werne. We planned to go to the Van Gough Museum, but the line was long and we didn't want to miss our train home. Instead, we walked around many side streets and saw so many pretty buildings, an ice skating rink, and were almost attacked by birds. Jordan and I decided we wanted to feed the ducks crackers in the canel. Bad idea. Seagulls swarmed us and began attacking the ducks for the crackers. This resulted in Jordan and I running for our lives from these awful birds! I didn't like birds before this experience and I really don't like them now!! At least I can look back and laugh about it now. We did some more sight seeing than headed to the train station. This train ride is a reality show gone wrong! We boarded our train that was scheduled to leave around 4:30 and were waiting to take off when someone came on the intercome to tell us that we would be delayed but no information was available. 5:00 rolled around and we were still sitting there. 5:30 - still not moving. Finally, the lady came over the intercome and said something in Dutch than followed it up with soemthing in German. Luckily, there was a very nice Russian man sitting nex to me that informed us that there had been an accident with a man and the train that had just left the station before us. We were delayed because of the police and other issues that had to be taken care of. He informed us that this happens quite often in Europe. I was a nervous wreck after that. Not only were we an hour and a half behind schedule, but we missed our two other connecting trains that would get us to Werne at 8:00. After much waiting and long train rides, we arrived in Dortmund, which is about 30 minutes away from Werne. We couldn't find a train to take us to Werne, but luckily I have absolute God send host parents that came to pick us up and get us home safely. I have never been so happy to see people I know and a car to get my home and to bed! A trip home that should have taken a little bit over 3 hours ended up taking 7 1/2 hours.
This weekend was exhausting, but it was filled with so many amazing memories! Jordan and Kelsey both made this a trip that I will never forget and memories that I will cherish always! Thank you ladies for being such amazing friends! Below are just a few of the pictures from Amsterdam!
XOXO Jessica :)