Monday, April 23, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012- Köln, Germany

Hope everyone had a spectacular Saturday! I know I did! Here are my adventures in Köln, Germany!

We left for the train station at 8:30 Saturday morning. Johannah (one of our colleagues) picked Viola and I up at home. The train station in OstBevern is HUGE (sarcasm). Viola had warned me just how big it was before I got there! HA! It was actually very small, which I don't mind at all because it is easier to locate where you are supposed to go. We met another colleague, Lena, on the train! Then, we headed for Münster where we would met the other teachers, Hannah, and Jenni (she is who collaborated with Dr. Carter and arranged our trip to OstBevern) who were also going to Köln. After we met everyone at the station we boarded our next train! We were Köln bound! Here are some pictures from the first true train ride for me and Hannah.
Hannah and Jenni

Viola and I

About two hours later we arrived! We got off the train and there was a down pour! I am a brainiac and wore Toms, which are about the worst shoes I could have worn for a rainy day like this! I tried to look at the bright side and think "at least I have shoes", right?! We started to walk towards the Dom: Köln Cathedral! This place is one of the most visited places in Germany! This is why:

Beautiful! I love churches that have the Gothic style. They are absolutely breath taking! You can see also the bridge to the right in the picture. The name of this bridge is the Hohenzollernbrücke Bridge. People know this bridge as the "lock bridge".
Hannah and I with our Red Towel in front of the Dom :) 

People call this bridge the "lock bridge" because  couples get locks with a key and bring them here. They "lock their love" together on the gates. Once they lock it, they throw the key off the bridge into the Rhein River. So sweet! There are thousands and thousands of locks here! See for yourself :) 

The Rhein River--I bet there are a lot of keys down there! :)

We walked across the bridge and then went straight to the Dom. It was even more beautiful up close! The detail and architecture was amazing. Here are some pictures inside and outside of the Dom:

All the little sculptures tell a story!

People pay one euro (or so) to purchase a candle. They light the candle, say a prayer for a loved one or friend, and leave them here. The cathedral was lit up with candles. It was gorgeous!

The front of the cathedral

After, we walked outside to take pictures in front of the Dom. Little did we know we would have some live entertainment with some pretty good looking fellas! Here in Germany bachelor/bachelorette parties are called Stagg Parties. The difference is, here in Germany they take it to a whole new level! Men sometimes dress in women's clothing and wear make up and wigs and others simply wear a poster around their neck with songs to sing. Whether it be singing, dancing, or selling flowers, they try to earn money to pay for their parties drinks for the evening! Pretty interesting! We have seen them all over but this was our first personal encounter! Hannah gave 50 cents to the guy to have him sing to us "Quit Playing Games With my Heart" by the Backstreet Boys! HILARIOUS! Of course we all joined in and belted, for who doesn't love some BSB?! :) He was also selling photographs of himself for 50 cents so of course we had to help the poor guy out. Plus who wouldn't want this in a frame?!

 Here he and his crew are about to sing to us!

Köln is such a beautiful city! We saw an underground house from the Romans. It is one of the oldest towns in Europe! Pretty neat we were able to experience this! We also had lunch at a true Köln, German restaurant! I wish I could remember the name of my meal but here it is: LECKER!!

During lunch one of our hilarious colleagues, Christian, kept talking about the Köln vs. Stuttgart fußball game! We didn't actually think he was going to it! However, he was serious! Well, of course Hannah and I wanted to experience a soccer game. We hopped on the closest train and headed across town to Rheinenergie-Stadion. 

Unfortunately when we arrived the game was sold out. Christian however was determined to get us in the game. We followed him to the gate entrance. He spoke to the security people in German of course and I was trying to make out what he was saying. I'm pretty sure I heard, "These girls came all the way from America. They are from Kentucky and came to see this game! Won't you let us in?" They simply shook their heads and said no. So, if that wasn't enough we walked to the opposite side of the stadium to the other entrance and tried there. Again, no. We didn't get to go inside the game but the crowd roaring and the loud noise was still very exciting! Maybe we'll get to go to another game!

We got back on the train and went back. We met up with Viola and Christian's wife. We were now heading to the Chocolate Museum! LECKER!! On the way, we decided to do some geocaching. For those of you who don't know what that is you HAVE to look it up! Just google it! Basically people all over the world hide things and you use a GPS to locate the hidden items. Most people leave a paper where you write your name stating that you have been there. You can get on the website and log all the caches you have found and see all the people that have also found it. You can even hide your own! It is SOOOO much fun, like a treasure hunt! I am going to make this a hobby when I get home! The Chocolate Museum was so interesting! I learned so much about chocolate that I didn't know! You would be surprised how much it takes to make a little bar of chocolate. Here are some pictures from the museum:

Of course we had to visit the gift shop at the end. Now, I know you can buy Lindor in Kentucky but this packaging was written in German! Maybe I can do a Math lesson on it using the nutrition label! Who knows?! I did get some chocolates for a teacher from my old school in Kentucky! :) As we were leaving the museum, we hadn't gotten very far when I reached into my pocket for my camera. I kept it there all day long because every time I turn, I snap a photo! However, this time is wasn't there. Now, this wasn't just any camera. This was my mom's very expensive, very nice camera! I immediately went in to panic mode and went straight back to the museum. We got the door right as they were closing and locking the doors. After basically begging the man to let me in the gift shop to look around it was no where. I went to the restroom where I had last been before leaving... not there. I was devastated! I would've been alright had it been my camera! The fact that it was mom's was killing me! I was crying my eyes out and so angry at myself for losing it. It was not like me at all! I retraced my steps trying to remember the last picture I took. I remembered putting my camera in my jacket like usual. Except this time I wasn't wearing my jacket I was carrying it! It was no where. We got the information and planned on emailing and calling the next morning in hopes my camera would be found. We got back on the train and headed for Münster. Finally two hours later, we arrived. We went to the bathroom once we got off the train (which we had to pay 50 cents for!) I've never had to pay to use the bathroom! Interesting! While I was in the bathroom, I had an itch on my left shoulder. I scratched and then did a double, triple, quadruple, take and felt something hard! I looked down and there was a pocket (which I was not aware of) I quickly unzipped it, hands shaking and all, and there it was! MY MOM'S CAMERA!!! Praise the lord!! I screamed so loud and started kicking and jumping and acting a fool. Viola opened her bathroom stall and there I stood with my camera to show her! We hugged a big hug and cheered! For my camera had actually been in my pocket the whole time. Just one I was unaware of! Whoops!!! :) I'm just glad I didn't lose it after all!

We got home fairly late and I went straight to bed. I had felt like I was getting a cold and wet feet all day sure didn't help! The day in Köln was a wonderful!!
I will leave you with some more pictures of the beautiful city-- Köln

Till' Next Time! :)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012- OstBevern

Friday, April 20,2012

Happy Friday to us! After a very eventful week I was excited for the weekend! Plus, the next day a group of us from JAS would be going to Köln! Friday was a great day! I teach two classes on Fridays a fifth grade class and a seventh grade class! I got to observe Christina for the first time and learned a great game that I am sure to use in my classroom! Basically four students are chosen and they each go to a corner. They played to practice their English vocabulary using simple past and infinitive forms! The first student to answer gets to move to the next corner. Then, the winner is the student who makes it all the way around and back to the corner where they began! The kids love it and I can't wait to try this out in my own classroom! I also observed German and Music with Viola! Finally, I collected all the letters from the students! Friday was mailing day! WHOO HOO!! Some students did not bring in pictures, so Viola and I decided to print their school pictures in the library! During my planning period I cut out each picture and glued them to the back of the student's letter! They were officially ready for mailing! :)  The day went by so quickly! After school, Viola and I came home for a bit and then went to pick up her niece from the train station. Tonight we would have choir rehearsal! Her sister, nieces, and uncle are all in in the choir together! I think it is great they all share the joy of music together! After we picked up her niece, we went to the post office where I bought envelopes and stamps for the children's letters. Then we went to the market, quickly came home and got on our bikes, and left for choir. I got to meet Viola's lovely sister for the first time! She is very sweet! Here's a story about something that's not so sweet!!

Viola was telling me about her salt water taffy experience on the way to choir. She mentioned how she thought she would love the taste but shared how quickly she spit it out after putting it in her mouth! It wasn't as good as she had hoped. Little did we know, I would have a similar experience only moments later! She had also mentioned a candy made out of Ginger. The only ginger I know is the pink stuff they give you at Shogun or other Japanese restaurants! I have never had ginger candy. I was starting to feel like I was getting a cold. My nose has been stuffy and I have a constant cough. This is never good for singing! My throat was dry so Viola handed me a ginger candy. I was thinking sweet. Right? Candy is usually sweet! WRONG! It looked very soft so I put it in my mouth and bit down. HARD AS A ROCK! Now, it was stuck in my teeth. After almost breaking my tooth, I finally got the candy out! Viola started to laugh. Then, the sweet taste I thought it would be, quickly turned to the hottest thing I had ever experienced. I started to sweat, cry, and laugh all at the same time! IT WAS SO HOT! Viola and her sister got tickled and we couldn't control the laughter! I was in tears! Laughter is the best medicine! Viola and I laugh together all the time! She is SO much fun! I am going to be devastated when I have to leave her!

A storm came during choir rehearsal. It had been a beautiful day and the first day I didn't have to wear a coat. I sure wish I had brought my coat with me cause after the storm, it was FREEZING outside! A bike ride in the cold when you're not feeling good=YUCK! Luckily, we live very close to the music hall. Friday evening was very relaxing! Viola and I went to the mailbox and sent the letters to Kentucky! I am so excited for them to get the letters and hopefully write back soon!!! We went to bed pretty early, for our big day in Köln would come bright and early the next morning! :)

Till' Next Time!!

Wednesday and Thursday, April 16 & 17, 2012- OstBevern

Since I continue to get behind in writing to ya'll, I am going to share Wednesday and Thursday at JAS first!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

 Wednesday was yet another wonderful day at school! Wednesday is my more laid back day of the week. I spent two periods making my schedule. You wouldn't think this would be difficult but figuring out what I am teaching and what I want to observe is very time consuming! After organizing my schedule I realized I only had thirteen days of school left! THIRTEEN! Where has the time gone?! I am not ready to go home at all, much less leave these amazing kiddos I just met! I was so sad when I realized just how short of time four weeks really is! I carefully planned my schedule and now I only teach one class on Wednesdays! I observe Viola in Music and Christina in English! The one class I will be teaching on Wednesdays is a seventh grade English class with my wonderful colleague, Lena. She is so sweet! I really enjoy working with these kids. I always thought there was no way I could teach the older kids and that I was meant to teach elementary or the young ones! However, I now realize it doesn't matter how old the kids are, I love teaching them all! Observing Viola's music classes are so much fun. It reminds me of when I had music in school. The kids danced, boys with girls, and it was so sweet! After school, Christian, one of my colleagues arranged a roll play. There were ten of us (teachers) who did this together! Now, forgive me for not explaining this well, but I was confused the entire time! We all went upstairs to Viola's classroom where the tables were arranged in a horseshoe. Each person was assigned a country. It was sort of like a business game and each of us served as delegates from different countries. We were to debate and find solutions on current international issues, as in the real world at the United Nations. We focused on environmental problems and global warming. Our "theme" as you may call it focused on CO2 emissions. Have I lost you yet? Hannah was assigned to America and I was assigned to Germany. After a few minutes of introduction (in German of course) Hannah and I were completely and utterly LOST! We had no idea what was going on. Fortunately, we were able to "combine" countries and become one, the USA. At first we thought this would help our chances of understanding, as a colleague translated everything in English for us! But, we were still.... LOST! I felt terrible for not understanding but I ended up learning a lot! The older students actually do the same debate that we did. They probably would do better than Hannah and I, that's for sure! :) It was fun spending time with some colleagues and getting to know them! After the debate, Viola and I rode our bikes home. We were both EXHAUSTED! Viola had another meeting to go to in which I planned on going to also. However, I came up to my room and the next thing I knew I woke up and it was 7:15 pm. I didn't even remember falling asleep! It was much needed rest though! Another wonderful day in OstBevern!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

 On Thursday I observed the other class I will be teaching! This also a fifth grade class. The periods here for each subject are each forty-five minutes long. However, on Thursdays this class is two class periods! So, I have a total of ninety minutes with them! I had met these students previously when I was observing Music with Viola! They are a great group of kiddos! I am so excited to be teaching them. Since I had my other fifth grade class write letters back to my students in Kentucky, I thought it would be great if this class could write letters as well. So, I decided to have them write to another class at the school in Kentucky where I student taught. I spoke with a couple teachers there and they were more than happy to have their students write! I am so excited the students are forming pen pals, I just can't stand it! They are all so excited!!! I was teaching this lesson today and I was so excited before class started. I hoped the students would be able to understand me since I was speaking in English. I was very surprised just how well they did understand. One thing I really like about teaching here is after I give instructions, the homeroom teacher always asks the students who can repeat this in German for the class. That way, they always know what is going on! It is really great. It is very challenging for me sometimes because I notice I can talk very quickly. My vocabulary has also changed a lot because I want to make sure everyone understands what I am talking about! I have also noticed my grammar is getting better. I don't think I realized how bad it was until I got here! So, this is certainly a good thing!! :) I taught this group similarly to my other fifth grade class. We went over how to write a letter and how we should address the letter. I also wrote on the chalk board for them like I did my other class!
 I took a picture of it so I could share with ya'll!
The students began with "Dear American Student". Then, they wrote about themselves and asked questions such as "What is school like in Kentucky?" and "What are your hobbies?" They ended the letter with "Your new friend". SO CUTE! I love it! While they were writing their letters, I walked around with the school yearbook one of my students from Kentucky let me borrow. I showed them the pictures of the students who they were writing to. The look on their faces was priceless! They did such a wonderful job writing. Their English is superb for ten and eleven year olds! I can't wait for my kiddos in Kentucky to read their letters! They worked so hard on them!
Here are some of them hard at work!!
I ended the school day observing Viola in math, German (which I LOVE), and music! After school, I came home for a few hours and relaxed. Viola and I also had a delicious snack! A mixture of break and cake with marmalade inside, AND powdered sugar on top! LECKER! LECKER!
A field trip had been planned with some older students and a few teachers to go see Romeo and Juliet in Münster later Thursday evening. A teacher who was unable to attend gave Hannah and I her two tickets! We were so excited! Around 6:30, I rode my bike to school and hopped on the bus for Münster. We picked Hannah and the vice principal up in Telgte which is about fifteen minutes from OstBevern.
Here are some pictures of the theatre:
This version of Romeo and Juliet was much different from what I had ever seen! Although it was different it was still very good! The actors did an amazing job! The kids really enjoyed the play as well. We finally arrived back in OstBevern and I rode my bike home! I thought I might be scared coming home alone in the dark but it is so great here! There are no worries and it is normal for people to bike at night. I felt very safe! I arrived home very late, around 11:30 and finally got some rest! Another eventful and exciting day in Germany! :)

Till' Next Time!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 17, 2012- OstBevern

Day two of schule.

We were still trying to work out my schedule for teaching here in Germany so I continued to follow Viola to all of her classes! Today was the first day I taught a lesson! Before I left for Germany I had my sixth graders at the school in Kentucky write letters, on my last day, to the German students. They are very close in age! My sixth grades were eleven and twelve and my fifth graders here are ten, eleven, and some twelve year olds! I was very excited they were close in age, as this would give them many commonalities to share with one another! So, Tuesday I gave each student a letter from the American student. I wish I had taken a picture of their faces! They were SO excited they would be starting "pen pals" with another student from Kentucky! It was so cute seeing them! After giving them the letters, I explained how we would write them back. I have their English book and looked over it Monday night. In the back there is an English to Germany dictionary and a German to English dictionary, which is a great resource! I then went over a brief version of the friendly letter format. I explained that they would write Dear _____, (the name of the student they received in Kentucky), then the body or the paragraph where they would to questions and tell their pen pal about themselves, their family, hobbies, and much more! Then we ended the letters with Your new friend, _____ (and their name). They struggled with some English but we went around and helped them! I also drew a t-chart on the board. On one side I wrote common English words used in the letters such as:: my name is, hobbies, family, years old, etc. On the other side I translated it in German for them:: mein name ist, hobbies, familie, jahre alt. This way the students could better translate their letters! The students also got into groups and read their letters aloud to one another. Viola and I talk all the time about it is better to learn a language when you can hear how it is supposed to be spoken, rather than simply reading it out of a textbook! This is SO true! This was a great time for them to practice hearing and reading it to one another! For homework, they were required to make corrections and/or complete the first draft of their letter! One student even suggested that they send pictures of themselves, their family, their homes, and their town. I failed to mention this so I was very happy to see the children engaged and wanting to do more! They are such bright little kiddos! :)

My favorite part of the day was while the students were writing their first drafts. One student came up to Viola and asked, "How much does it cost to get to Kentucky?" Viola turned to me and asked me. I told her it was very expensive and the price. The student's eyes got so big! He was stunned and you could see it written all over his face, "I don't have that much money". So what would you do? Start saving? Take out a loan? Get a scholarship? Well, whatever it is you don't need to worry any longer. This precious child has just the answer. He then replied with, "Well I guess I will just take the bus!" Viola and I then burst into laughter. It was so sweet! I can see it now. That student on a bus and reaching the Atlantic only to find the bus can't travel on water! It was too funny! We explained how far it was and that you couldn't take a bus. We decided it be best that I share just how far away Kentucky is from OstBevern.

Later Tuesday night I prepared a PowerPoint for the kids. I knew I had to show them how far it was somehow and make it fun! I will share with you on my next blog what I did!

The rest of the day was great! The kids were all so sweet and I continued to introduce myself to a few other classes using my "me bag" and the picture slide show. I did it so many times but it never got old! It was so exciting each and every time, as the classes were all much different. Some of them struggled a lot with English and asking questions, where other classes would have had me fooled that they were even German! They remind me so much of the kids back in Kentucky. No matter where you are in the world, kids are kids. This is why I LOVE what I do!!

Till' Next Time!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 16, 2012- OstBevern

My first day of schule (school)at JAS.

Sunday night I could hardly sleep I was so excited for my first day at school. I had so many unanswered questions, I was dying to know! What would the kids be like? What will they think of me? Viola gave me her old phone and I bought a sim card with "Aldi Talk". What this is, is basically a one time fee and I talk to her and the boys for free! Which is very nice incase we are traveling and become separated, I have a way to contact them. Anywho, the purpose of that information is that I set my alarm on it for the mornings! I was looking for a ring tone that would guarantee me waking up (I'm a very hard sleeper!). Then, I came across the perfect song by Simon and Garfunkle: "The Sound of Silence". I love this song and hadn't heard it in forever! So, this is now my designated ring tone, which is very peaceful to wake up to, I must say!

Now that I am off subject, let me tell you about my first day of schule. Viola and I ride our bikes to school everyday. It is certainly a good way to wake you up on a cold morning! I love that we ride though. It makes me feel much more productive and I could certainly use the exercise. Before I go on I must tell you this bike is a little big for me and much different than any bike I ever rode in the US. It has big skinny tires and the handle bars swoop down. You also pedal backwards to break! Like children's bikes in the US. I need to take a picture so you can see it, as my descriptions will not give you the image I want to share. I don't know what it is about the bike but it makes me want to whistle! I try to hold back from doing this! Everyone is so good at riding their bikes here and in contrast, I'm... well... terrible! I am SO short for my bike. It takes everything in me to get on and get going and even more to get off. I finally figured out to bring my leg over and hop off. Those that know me well must be dying laughing right now. The image of me on a bicycle is quite hysterical! But wait, it only gets better from here. The school is very close so it takes no longer than five minutes to get there by bike. Right before you get to school there are posts you have to swerve in and out of. The first time I saw them there might as well have been a huge red light flashing and a sign that says "Emily: DO NOT ENTER". The first time I hopped off the bike, walked through them, and then go back on. Now that sounds like no struggle but let me tell ya, it was! This time I didn't want to go through the trouble of getting on and off; plus I hate making Viola wait on the slow American bike rider. I decided to conquer the posts. I approached them and before I knew it my tire hit the post and I almost when flying off the bike. Viola was ahead of me and makes it look so easy! I giggled and pushed myself off. I hope no one saw me. It was very embarrassing! I will bike through those posts before I leave. Mark my word! I will show pictures of the posts someday so you can understand how hard it is, or maybe... its just me! Keep laughing, but you better get used to it cause this girl is getting a bike when I get back to Kentucky :)

I walked into the schule and saw kids everywhere! I was now even more excited! We went to the teachers lounge which is a huge room with an individual desk/table for each teacher. Between periods the teachers come here to eat, plan, make copies, etc. I really wish our schools in Kentucky had this. It is so nice and makes it feel like the teachers are a big family. They are always collaborating together, which is fabulous! My class is named "5a". We made our way up to the classroom and I introduced myself. I prepared a "me box/bag" which I learned from my education classes at WKU. I used a WKU bag and inside of it I put items that represent who I am. For example, I put a University of Kentucky (GO CATS!) t-shirt, headphones because I love music, my nook because I love to read, etc. etc. The kids LOVED it! I passed around the items so they could have a close look. Then, I "quizzed" them to see if they understood my explanation since I spoke English. You would be surprised just how smart and great these kids did! After I prepared a picture slideshow of my family. I told them who they were and their names. They loved seeing them. It made me sad the first introduction seeing my whole family. I know if they had been here they would have been so proud of me! The lesson was a success and it broke the ice very well, I thought! The kids kept speaking to me in German and although I could understand some of them, there were many things I wasn't sure of. Thank goodness for Viola and Frau Hegel. The rest of the day I continued to introduce myself to all of Viola's classes. I had kids ranging from 5th grade-7th grade. They were all such wonderful kids! Sometimes we had extra time at the end of my introduction for the students to ask questions where they asked in English and sometimes in German. We encouraged them to try using English which many of them did very well. I was very impressed! The first day was so wonderful! It made me so excited for the next couple weeks here. I couldn't have asked for a better experience and I am learning so much! I may be teaching English but they are teaching me German, and I LOVE IT!!! I need to remember to bring my camera so I can share photos with you!

Till' Next Time! :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012- OstBevern

Sunday was a great day in OstBevern! My sister, Whitney told Viola that I sang via Facebook. I was always in church choir and was in the choir during high school. I've always had a huge passion for music and singing. When I went away to WKU I was no longer a part of any musical group. So, I turned to a guitar and writing music on my own. Needless to say, the passion for writing, singing, and playing music was pushed aside as my school work began getting harder and requiring more time as the years went by. That emptiness of music has now be fulfilled!

On Sunday Viola and some of her women's choir had rehearsal for an upcoming wedding here in Germany. I was excited to listen to them rehearse. Viola is SO talented. She is a music teacher and choir director here. When she plays the piano and sings you can see the passion for music in her eyes. I wish I could play the piano like her and her son Aladin. He is amazing as well. The ladies arrived at the house in the afternoon and one lady in particular kept me laughing. She is one of those people that laughs and makes everyone laugh, it's contagious! They were all very sweet! I noticed my name come up in conversation. I turned to see if I could understand any of the words they were speaking in German. Then, in English they asked if I wanted to sing. Viola had told them I was a singer! I was hesitant at first because it had been so long! I didn't even know if I could sight sing anymore. So, I followed them to the piano and we began warm ups. Within the first five minutes I was so excited! I'm half a world away from home yet the music wasn't much different. Music is a beautiful thing no matter where you are! After warming up we began singing the song "I can't help falling in love with you". You Kentuckians may know this song from the Elvis days! At least that's how I knew the song! After the first song, I realized I wasn't just rehearsing with them...I would be singing with a wedding! I was so surprised that I would be taking part in this. But why wouldn't I? I mean how many people study abroad and get to sing in a German wedding?! Count me in :) We will also be singing "An Irish Blessing" which is a beautiful song that I was not familiar with. The ladies stayed for a few hours and I got to know them fairly well. It was so much fun and I felt like part of the group! I am so happy I get to be a part of this special event!

After the ladies left, I came upstairs to my room and relaxed for a little while before dinner. Then, I Skyped my family! I miss them very much! I'm very surprised I'm not homesick. I haven't even cried once, which is huge for me! I'm a big ole' sap! Although I'm missing them, I feel like I am forming a second family here with Viola and the boys. They make me feel so at home and for that, I am so thankful!

Here is a picture of Viola and I that her father took:

This concludes my first Sunday Funday in OstBevern :)

Till' Next Time!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 14, 2012- OstBevern and Münster!

Hallo friends! I am again slacking on keeping my blog updated! Germany sure does keep me busy...and I love it! I am going to share with you my day on Saturday!

After a long day in Amsterdam on Friday, Saturday wasn't as busy which was nice. I felt like I was on the go non stop since I had arrived. Although this is certainly not a bad thing! Saturday morning my host family woke me up around 10:00 am. Yes you read that right, I slept in! It was much needed and wunderbar (wonderful)! I then walked downstairs to the kitchen. As I walked in I was greeted with "Guten Morgen" (good morning). Usually my host family speaks in German and then translates it into English for me. I am beginning to catch on to words and phrases much better but I still struggle to understand everything! I am so anxious to be able to talk as fast and have a full conversation with them! Unfortunately, learning a new language to its full extent takes quite sometime, as you would imagine! Anywho, I notice after a few minutes everything they were saying was in German. Finally I caught on that we would not be speaking English this all! With questions and conversations flowing I tried my best to comprehend everything! Viola would point to things and do motions to help me understand the words and phrases. This was very helpful! I loved this! I truly believe you can never learn a new language unless you listen to it consistently and then practice speaking it! It reminds me of one of the seven habits with The Leader in Me. Habit number five: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. You certainly have to listen before you can speak this language! I had wonderful German teachers in middle school and high school however, I have learned more in six days than I did in four years! I don't know what it is, maybe the "hocks and spits" as some may say, but I love this language! This whole experience makes me want to go back to school and major in German! Don't worry Mom and Dad, I won't be doing that anytime soon!! :)

After breakfast, Viola and I went to the grocery store or as they call it here the "market". Doesn't "market" just sound so much nicer than "grocery"? We went to Aldi, which we also have in Kentucky! Although I have never been in the store I have passed it a million times going up and down Campbell Ln. in Bowling Green! The store was very nice! One thing (of a million) I love about Germany is how eco-friendly they are. I will be the FIRST to claim I am not eco-friendly! Do I recycle? Nein (no). When I get back to Kentucky, I will be "going green"! Here in OstBevern if you save your bottles (like water bottles) and take the to the store you can get money back. There is a machine in the market that you put your bottles in, then it calculates the amount in euros, and prints a receipt that you give to the cashier when you check out. You would be surprised at how much money you can get, just from saving the earth! Does anyone back home know if you can do this at our stores? If so, where have I been? *Note to my sister Maggie: If we have a machine start saving the bottles, sister! We will be rich :) Viola and I bought all sorts of things at the market! After Aldi, we went to Penny Market to pick up a few other things. We also went to the bakery next door. If I wasn't hungry before, now I was! You walk into a bakery here and want to crawl inside one of the warmers! It smells like heaven, if heaven has a smell! :) So much lecker (yummy) food everywhere we went! It's only right to go to the market, come home, and cook! After all, who isn't hungry after shopping for food?

The great thing about getting home from the market was when Viola called for her sons to come unload the groceries. She said to me, "The boys will take care of this part". If only my poor mother had this much help! Sorry mama! Bless her heart. Now, we cook! What's on the menu you ask? Ah, Pasta asciutta. Viola began cutting up the ingredients and I was the designated stirrer. Hamburger meat, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper,... must I go on? And, we had it with spicy noodles! Oh and of course a salad! DELISH! I'll tell you one thing, I am not starving here in OstBevern!

Later in the evening I starting getting ready for a night with some colleagues from JAS. We were heading to Münster for dinner and to go to some well-known pubs. Hannah and I were in for a good night and that's exactly what was accomplished! We talked about school and how the system works back in Kentucky! It was very interesting to hear how the school works here in OstBevern. Much different from our schools but I learned some great ideas I'm sure to use in my future classroom!

Pictures from the evening in Münster:

On the way home we listened to some familiar tunes that my colleague, Christina, had on a CD. I was loving her music! She has GREAT taste! We all had a ball together! It was so much fun seeing the "night life" in Germany! We are sure to go back and I hope its soon. :)

This concluded my first Saturday in Germany. If this is how my trip begins, I can't wait to see all the adventures in the future!

Till' Next time! :)