Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Alright. This was written in fact on saturday morning, bit I couldn't post it until Tuesday. Somtwtime later I'll write about the whole first week.

What a time it has been! I'll start from the beginning. I left Tuesday morning on a 7:10 flight, where I met up with the four other Congress-Bundestag recipients from Maine. We flew from Portland to New York, then New York to Washington DC. There in the airport we met some AFS volunteers, and went to the hotel where we would be staying and having our orientation. People arrived throughout the day, and by the time all 50 of us were there it was definitely hard to remember eveyones name. Luckily we had name tags on lanyards that we had to wear ALL THE TIME.

The first day we had an early start. We bussed into DC. Because we were running early we had to visit the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and a few other sites in walking distance if we wanted to or had time. Then we headed to the State Department. I think most of us were expecting a tour or something along those lines, but instead we sat in one room for some talks and questions. It was interesting, though a bit strange, and we were spoken to afterwards for not asking the expected questions.

From there we went to Union Station, where we ate lunch wherever we wanted and went to visit our Congressional Representatives, to say thank you for their support and talk a little about the scholarship itself. The hope is that despite the tough financial times, if they ever see the Congress-Bundestag scholarship they will remember those nice kids who came to see them, and they will keep it going. We from Maine were not actually able see our rep, but we spoke to a really nice staffer who was a recent grad from Bowdoin.

Later in the afternoon we went to the German Embassy, where a Congress-Bundestag alum gave us a vey interesting and helpful presentation on the German government. Then we practically bombarded he with questions about her stay in Germany, her experiences in regards to this or that, her perspective on this, what advice she had about that. It was a lit of fun, and we got pins and pens at the end. After taking a group photo in front of the German Embassy sign, we went to dinner at a German restaurant and then bussed back to our hotel to crash after the long day.

The next day, Thursday, we did a lot of activities, and had a lot of in depth discussions about what we wanted to gain from our experience and what it means to be an ambassador. The regular AFS students began to arrive. We also did some role-playing over situations we might encounter in Germany. On Friday we were all getting very anxious to leave. But until then, we talked some more about what we hope to gain and what it means to be an ambassador. (In fact we did more than just that but it's so hard to remember, and that was without a doubt the recurring theme).

The airport went relatively smoothly. We had two volunteers actually flying with us, and when we got off the plane after a basically sleepless night, AFS Germany volunteers were there to put us on our trains or bring us to meet our host families. And this is where everyone's experiences start to diverge.

I saw my host family upstairs, and it was very exciting to meet them. We drove home through Frankfurt. Though my house is still in the city, it's far from the center and it's surprisingly green. We ate breakfast, and I went to the market with my host father and sister to get fresh food. The whole day is sort of a blur... I ran some errands with my host mom... We ate lunch... My sister took me on a small tour of the neighborhood... We ate dinner... I went to bed.

It's amazing to me how much I can understand, considering how I only sort of taught myself German over the summer, and at the same time how much I don't understand. But I already feel quite comfortable with my family, and I'm getting used to hearing German all around me.

Well, it is almost breakfast time so I think it is time to go downstairs.


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