BY AMY BISHOP
Herzliches Grn¯es from Germany everyone! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Amy Bishop and I’m an exchange student from Cooperstown and am in Dassendorf, Germany, for the 2010-11 school year. I’m a graduated senior from Cooperstown Central School and have chosen to spend this year abroad, instead of going straight to college.
Dassendorf is a small dorf (village) about a half hour (by bus) away from Hamburg. It is split into two parts; Dassendorf Dorf (village) and Dassendorf Wald (forest). I live in the forest, which means that I have fantastic trails right behind my house to explore in my spare timeùand when it’s not raining. (It rains at least once a day here. It was sunny all day, but I can see gray clouds creeping in, out my window as I write this) Even a small town like Dassendorf has a good public transportation system.
I take the public bus to school and back every day. (There are no yellow school buses here) Getting to Hamburg takes about 45 minutes, getting to school takes about a half hour.
My family here is truly like a second family to me. Klaus (my host dad), Tina (host mom), and Henry (brother), are taking such good care of me. My host sister Ari, left for Argentina a week ago, but while she was here, we were best friends. (We still are) She was my first friend here.
My immediate host family is so welcoming and kind, and then my extended family (grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles) have taken me in.
I went to Hamburg for a fall festival on September 4 with my grandparents and cousin, Franka. Today, walking in the door, Klaus exclaimed: ``Meine Tochter ist heim!’’ (``My daughter is home!’’) I’m no replacement for my host sister, just an addition to the family.
I’ve realized that it’s the little things that happen that make this exchange year so fantastic. The big things are exciting and amazing, but it’s the little things that I tuck away in a corner of my mind to smile about later. For example, reading a passage in German class, and having to look up only a few words or my first invitation to go somewhere with friends, or getting a surprise hug from my host mom. It’s me opening my window before bed, leaning out, breathing in the night air, and closing the window with a smile and a thought: I’m in Germany.
- Amy Bishop is a Cooperstown Rotary Exchange student who is spending the year in Germany.