In the next few weeks, my host family and I have very exciting plans. On Saturday my family held a party for family, neighbors and friends. This was an Adventstee party. I am not sure if there is a translation for this, but it has to do with a candle lighting tradition. We also have what are called Adventskalendars, which are calendars counting up to Christmas day, and each day you are given a small gift. My host parents have very generously bought me one of presents specially made in Cologne. I am not very well informed in the Christmas traditions or religious aspects, so this type of celebration is all new for me.
This year, I will be spending Dec. 21 through 28 skiing with my host family and neighbors in a resort in Austria. I am beyond excited. The next two weeks of school can not pass quickly enough. Having been skiing only once before, I can not imagine a cooler way to learn than in the mountains of Austria.
Shortly after the trip, I will return to Cologne, and move to my second host family. Even though my second host family only lives three houses down, it still is going to be a huge change. I will spend from New Year’s, until Easter break with the Walger family, and then move to the Czasny family (next door neighbors to the Walgers). I am very fortunate to have already met with all my host families many times, and that they are all very close friends with each other.
Although there are big changes coming, I am ready to embrace them. I love my current host family, but I know that living with a different family will show me another side of the German lifestyle.
So far I am very happy with the progress of my exchange. I love my friends, my city, my family. My language is improving, and I have many plans to look forward to in 2014. I do get a bit homesick, but luckily my friends and family at home as well as here are very supportive, and always willing to listen when I need to talk. I am doing a pretty bad job of keeping up with my blog, but I promise I will try to post at least monthly. I have been very busy with travel, school, and friends but I think these next two weeks will slow down a bit and before Weihnachten season is in full swing, I will try to update. I also have many pictures on my personal facebook page.
Thank you to everyone who is interested in my exchange, and to everyone who supports and helps me be here! I love every second of it!
Sophie Miller is a Cooperstown Rotary Exchange Student in Germany.