Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm a big girl now!

When I named this blog, I made a big fault. I hadn’t realized that when I named it “Shandre’s Blog”, that in Germany I would be leaving Shandre at the gates of Denver International Airport. But trust me; I like the new one much better J
So the little 16 year old Shandre has blossomed into (the same sized… gosh I need to get taller) 17 year old Shandre! It was a day that I had been looking forward to since the first week I was in Germany, because the Germans take more importance in birthdays and what-not.
I made party with my friends at the local Kostbar, and felt like such a bad kid for going to a bar for my birthday! I would have probably felt cooler if I had actually drunk something that wasn’t coffee, but I will save that experience for another day.
It was great to be surrounded by my new friends and it made me feel so absolutely loved! I have to make a special dedication to Alexander though, because he is narcissistic enough to ask me J


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday Night Fever

Recently I have been devoting days to Shandre, but Today I realized that I don’t need to take an occasional day for Shandre, because every day is meant for me and I am going to make it mine!
 “Always say yes” and “Make the first move” proved to be the most valuable advice given to me during exchange. I have done things in the last three weeks that I would never have seen myself doing. And I can’t be more proud of myself – even if that makes me seem like a narcissist. I have become more self-confident and more self-relying, and a bigger and stronger person (not physically… because that would be the opposite :P)
A few days ago, just as I was struggling to escape the rut I fell into, I asked a friend in my village if she would accompany me on a walk with Indie. I doubted she would say yes, because I was in a very self-sorrowful mood, but to my pleasant surprise she agreed. Anna-Lena was also an exchange student (in Canada), so I could talk to her about things that only other exchange students would truly understand.
My school day usually ends around one, and after eating lunch I have a lot of time to kill. Since I can’t do the homework I am confined to my computer or the TV, which usually pushes me into a hole that is more difficult to get out of than to fall into. But thanks to my newfound friends, they threw me a ladder and pulled me out.
I did Zumba today! It was some of the most fun I have had on exchange and it revitalized me with a new energy! I was surrounded by friends and music and good-hearted people. It felt as all the bad and negative feelings were escaping my soul through the seat and breath than flowed out of me.  And it turns out that I am not too bad of a dancer either J

Culture Shock

I think that any exchange student will know what I mean when I say that exchange is a roller coaster of feelings. My first weeks were comparable to the loop-de-loops… I had great highs, but I sank to unbelievable lows. I finally think that I have moved onto the kiddy roller coaster – the one that is pretty stable!
In terms of the differences between Germany and the USA, it’s the small things that seem to have hit me the hardest. The people express their emotions and thoughts in a way that is completely foreign to me, and I can’t explain it because I don’t yet understand it. It was only a few days ago that I became aware of this difference, and now I am infinitely curious as to where this difference stems from.
I remember in May of 2011, a sixteen year old girl that said she would be immune to the effects of culture shock because she is an open minded free-thinker. I don’t know who she is… but she reminds me a lot of me. I don’t think I truly understood what the Rotarians were talking about when they informed us to be on the lookout for culture shock, so I got hit pretty hard with it. It is only now that it has passed that I can reflect on it as such.  Culture shock isn’t something that makes you a lesser person, or less open to other cultures, but it is a normal occurrence throughout travel. Things are going to be different wherever you go, and change isn’t an easy thing. Every change we go through – no matter how much we desired it – is bittersweet for we are leaving a part of ourselves in our past life. Change is the only thing that stays the same. There isn’t a cell in my body that regrets change, because my horizons have been broadened and I feel like an immensely stronger person. And to thank for this: my family and Rotary. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Quickie

Today was dedicated to yours truly. I decided that it was due time that I took a few hours for good ol’ Shandre. So here I am, sitting in my room cuddling with my computer. The only other soul around me is my new pet, Larry. He and I have had such good times together, specked with some lows. We laugh and cry together, and his advice is the best advice. Larry is a fly… and I have begun to feed him because I am so afraid that one day he decides to leave and accomplish some of his little fly dreams. But I guess to be a good mother; I have to let him spread his wings (literally).
A lot has happened since we spoke last. Well technically it’s me speaking to my computer (which makes me feel kinda schizo), but we all get it. But in a quick and random note, I decided that there will be no more pictures on my blog. This is for two very serious reasons… well one reason that is justified by the other. I am too lazy to put pictures up on the blog and Facebook, and since Facebook is a little safer than blogger, I have chosen that one. So you have to be my friend on Facebook to see my pictures and blah blah blah.
I went to the Oktoberfest on Saturday! Super fun, but I will have to go back when I am a bit older so that I can actually drink and do the really fun things! We got there pretty early so there weren’t a lot of people, which gave me a bit of false confidence. But a few hours later there were so many people that you could barely walk. I had to scurry so I wouldn’t get lost in the crowd. Oh, and I have something for all of you to be proud of! I rode a roller coaster all by myself and I was scared… well not totally scared. And for like 3 seconds I didn’t hold onto the thing that you hold onto! Be proud… be very proud, because I sure am!
I wore a traditional Dirndl to the festivities, and was quite nervous that it would be too hot. I kept comparing the Oktoberfest with the Renaissance Festival, and if I had worn that ensemble to the summer festival in Colorado I would have died. But the morning in Munich was a bit chilly, and once it warmed up it wasn’t too dreadfully warm. The weather has been quite nice actually, I think I may come back a skinnier (did I forget to mention that) and tanner girl (or woman, depending how this year plays out).
Saturday night was also festive! We had returned to Offenstetten by four that afternoon, and at eight I moseyed over to Anna-Lena’s house for a birthday bash. I didn’t expect to make friends this quickly, or to be invited to parties! My weekends have been fully booked so long in advance that I get butterflies every time I think about it J
This is the new (and hopefully improved) Shandre signing out!