Hey everybody. It's been a little while since I have written, and I find that it is actually a bit difficult to think of things to write about. (I haven't just been sitting at home all day, though, I swear!). Let's see. I am finished with my language course, which is a way a relief and a way a bit sad. It has helped me immensly, to the point that when I meet new people, they tell me that my German is very good, and ask me how long I have been studying it. This is very exciting :D So far, I have been able to tell someone the time, give a lady directions to a hospital, and confirm for several slightly confused souls the direction of the U-Bahn. I can also ask and (mostly) understand directions, read maps, and navigate my way through very large subway and train stations, all of which are very useful skills. And considering I'm just a poor girl from rural Maine who used to be afraid to take the subway alone, I think I'm doing alright.
So far this vacation I have met some more of my host sister's friends, and hung out with some of my own AFS friends. Normally we just go our for coffee, or hot chocolate, and shop or walk along the river. Last night we went out for cocktails in the local bar, which was fun. Having never drank (or is it 'drunk'? grammarians, help me!) before, and being very tired, I only had half of my Vanilla Sky. It was quite tasty, though. Afterwards my friend and I went out into the city. But since it was cold, and we had to be back soon, we did not spend a lot of time outside.
I have been trying to think of some sort of a list of differences and similarities between German and American culture and people, but I am afraid I have not been able to come up with a lot. However, one thing that I did notice from the very beginning (and it took me a while to get used to) is this: In America, when you go into a store or a restaurant, people say hello, and ask you how you are. When you leave, nothing happens. In Germany, when you go into a store or a restaurant, nobody asks you how you are, but you (and they) always say 'tschüss' when you leave. Another thing is, of course, the food. In Germany people eat a lot of bread. I find that very understandable, because the bread is good. On the bread goes butter (the more the better) and jam or cheese or meat. That goes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The rest of my vacation is pretty full of no plans at all. There are some scheduling complications, and my host parents still have to work this first week. I am hoping to make some day trips to other cities or something, but I will have to wait and see. After that I will be starting real school, for which I am nervous and very excited.