Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life So Far

Well, I've been in Germany for about three weeks now. It feels like longer, but in a very good way. I still feel great with my family, and my German is still getting better. Although, there have been some slightly embarassing situations arising from my inability to understand strangers when they speak to me, but no matter.

I have still been going to language course every day. The language is hard, but sitting still for three hours (hungry) in the same room is harder. For those of you who know me, I have a sort of quirky sense of humor (an english teacher once described it as "bordering on the absurd"), and I tend not to have an outlet for that while I'm sitting in language class. But I have to remind myself that it's all worth it.

I have not done a whole lot of exploring of Frankfurt, except for that one day when I couldn't open the door. However, I am becoming very well acquainted with the shopping street with three H&Ms, and what more do I really need? Just joking. I'm planning on going to the Historisches Museum quite soon. Last week I went to a fresh foods market with a lady who was in my German class, and it was quite nice. I explored a very big bookstore with a couple of other friends from my language course, and it had a very good classics section, but I thought the art section was rather weak.

I have been to see two movies with my host family so far, and let me just say: going to the movies in Germany is very different than going to the movies in Maine. For one thing, the theaters here are much smaller, and the buildings were obviously not built with the intention of showing movies. Outside the one (or two maybe) movie-showing-rooms is a bar/restaurant, where you can obviously buy drinks and food. The first movie we saw was in a little town outside Frankfurt, which had a caslte! It also had a spring (Quelle), whose water apparently does wonders for the health (Gesundheit). It tasted foul, to me, though.Unfortunately, it was dark so I could not take any pictures.

The film we saw was called Babys. It had almost no talking, but it was ingenious. It followed the lives of four babies for about a year. One born in California, one in Japan, one in Mongolia, and one in Namibia. The differences in their lives, environments, and how they were raised were really astonishing, and sometimes a little shocking to my silly American eyes. I won't delve any deeper here, but if you want to see the trailer for it, click here. It really is so eye opening.

The next day (last Saturday) was a long day. In the morning I went with my guest parents on this tour of an apple orchard. It was very cold and wet, and started to rain halfway through our walk. I am still not exactly clear on what it was all about, but as far as I can tell we can take care of some trees, or an area of trees, and then we can take the apples and do what we want with them. This was very exciting for my guest father, because he loves (and I mean lloovveess) applewine. There was an article about it in the newspaper the other day, and he said to me "have you read this? Because it states my opinion exactly: applewine is the best drink in the word." When I got home I took a very hot shower, and blowdried my hair :).

Later, we went to the Museum für Moderne Kunst (Modern art museum). We were there quite a long time, considering that I don't think any of us were particularly impressed with all the photographs of naked Japanese women tied up with rope, in various awkward and explicit poses. At least we went for free, because it was the last Saturday of the month.

Then we ate dinner, and went to another movie in my family's favourite theater. This film, also, was very very interesting. (Too bad American theaters can't be bothered to show worthwhile things). It was called Kinshasa Symphony, and it was about the only all-black orchestra, in the DRC. It was mainly in French, naturally, with German subtitles. Quite the thing for my brain, but I really enjoyed it. My French is good enough that when people with milder accents spoke, I could understand them, and my German is good enough that when I couldn't understand the French, I could at least get the gist of what was happening. I won't say more here about this movie, either, but it was also very eye opening and if you want to learn more about it, click here.

The next day, Sunday, my host sister and my host mom and I went to a huge fabric market. It was still a bit chilly, but not so bad. All the colors and textures of the different fabrics together was a bit overwhelming, but very pretty too. In the afternoon my host parents and I walked to a small medieval event that was taking place very near my house. There were things to buy and things to see, and things (mostly meat) to eat. It was quite small, and we didn't stay very long.

One night last week, I had my first taste of German Gummy Bears! After supper we brought out the bag, and my sister got The Gummy Bear Oracle Book. Here is how it works: You pick five gummy bears with your eyes closed, and depending on what colors you pick, you have a different fortune. I picked one red, one yellow, a green and two orange bears. I learned that I am a free, passionate spirit who loves big wide landscapes but who has bad luck in love. In other words, I once had a farm in Africa.

Wednesday night there was an AFS meeting/get together, where I met all the other exchange students in my area, and learned that hard alcohol counts as a drug. We went over AFS rules, and then just socialized. Everyone is very nice, and a few of us (along with a couple AFS people) have plans to go out for coffee or hot chocolate this Sunday. But I'm sure the rest of us will all get together soon enough as well. It is nice to think that my social will finally start existing with people my own age again! (Also, in addition to a bag of gummy bears, a sticker and a pen, we each all recieved a tshirt from AFS Frankfurt! That makes AFS tshirt number two, so far :p)

I wanted to say some differences and observations about life and people here, but I seem to have forgotten them all now. Remember, though, feel free to comment and ask questions. Below are some photos.

this is a real eis kaffee. its coffee with ice cream in it.

museum of modern art

sad at my gummy bear oracle

frankfurt skyline twice


  1. Hey Sorrel,

    Looks and sounds like you're having a good time in Germany. Thanks for sharing your experiences with those of us back in the US who have never been to Germany. Keep blogging and I'll have my world studies students reading your blog next semester.

    Mr. Byrne

  2. How fun to have found your blog! I was a CBer but went with YFU. Our orientation, arrival in Germany, etc was very different from what you described. But I was an exchange student many years ago, so it's not surprising that things may have changed since then. Have a great year!