Monday, May 5, 2014

First Week in Werne, Germany

Sorry I haven't been able to post much! I stay very busy in Europe! I will update you on what has been happening since my last post. On April 27, we rode trains from Berlin to Werne, Germany. I was sad to leave Berlin because I loved it there but I was also very excited to meet my host family. Our host families were going to be waiting for us at the train station when we arrived. Once we boarded the very last train from Dortmund to Werne, I started to get very nervous. A lot of thoughts were going through my mind. I don't think I really thought about living with a host family until this very second. As we were getting off the train, I recognized my host family waiting for me (Peter, my host dad, had sent me a family picture via email a couple of months prior to the trip). They greeted me with hugs and smiles. Peter, Rita (my host mom), Jule (my host sister) and Malte (my host brother) were all there. We got into the car and drove a block down the street to our house. It is a 2-story brick house with a beautiful backyard (as they call it the garden). They showed me my room and it had a "Welcome Amber" sign on the door. They gave me a tour of the house and even told me I would have my own bathroom. I was pretty pumped about that, can't lie! Peter told me that dinner would be ready in about 30 minutes. We had lamb, white asparagus and potatoes. I hadn't had lamb before this and I ended up loving it! After eating and talking to my family, I knew it was going to be the perfect fit for me! They are extremely nice, welcoming and willing to do whatever to make me feel comfortable! I couldn't ask for a better host family. After dinner, Jule and I walked to Anne-Frank-Gymnasium, the school that Heike teaches at. It is a 3 minute walk from my house which is extremely convenient. After we walked there, I came back, unpacked my clothes and FaceTimed some of my family and friends. It was a great first night at my new German home!

Monday through Wednesday we had school at Anne-Frank-Gymnasium which is a school that has grades 5 through 12. We did not actually go to a classroom on the first day. The German news crew came to film us that morning. We all went to the Werne city square and filmed some segments. We even got some ice cream in a parlor downtown. It was yummy! Germany knows what they are doing when it comes to ice cream. After filming we went back to the school and it was time for lunch. Heike gave us a chip that we would scan to get lunch each day. The lunch was a buffet style. They have a pizza bar, pasta bar, salad bar, hot meal and desert bar every day. After school, Jule and I went downtown on our bikes to see the city square. It is such a cute town square and anything you could ever need is there. On Tuesday, we actually got to go into the classrooms to observe English classes. I enjoyed observing the different classrooms! An acting company from England came to their school that day to perform the play, Romeo and Juliet, and we actually got to watch it! It was in English by the way! That night I went to handball practice with Jule and I actually practiced with her! Well for half of the practice hehe. It was pretty intense but fun nonetheless! On Wednesday, we were with Heike for the first two lessons of the day. She had warned us that she would throw us into teaching when we were in her classroom. She taught the 7th grade class past perfect verb tenses and then gave them some exercises to do. All 6 Elementary Education major students were in her room that day. She came to back of the room where we were sitting and asked us who wanted to teach first. I volunteered to go first (thought I might as well go for it!) I went over the answers of their exercise with them and told them to form sentences with past perfect verb tenses on their own. After they created their own, we shared the sentences. They created some great sentences. I had fun teaching them! After I finished teaching, Ashley and Stephanie went over another set of problems with them. After the two lessons, we were finished for the day! Ashley and I came back to my house. She was going to stay at my house that night since we were leaving for Paris that next morning. We came back from school and ended up taking a 3 hour nap, woops! After this, we ate lunch and went into town with my host mom. We went to the supermarket to buy breakfast for the next morning and went to the bank to withdraw money from the ATM for our trip. That night we played the German version of the board game "Sorry". It was such a fun night! The game ended around 10:45 PM and I hadn't started packing yet! Surprise, surprise! I packed my stuff for Paris and we went to sleep to prepare for our weekend adventure!

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