February 3, 2017No Comments

Hey what’s new?

The answer is a lot. About two weeks ago I switched to my second host family. I had a spectacular five months with my first family and I can't possibly thank them enough. We did so much together and I think it was the perfect family to start my exchange with. They gave me so much of their time which is what I have to thank for my awesome German. If you ever read this, know how much I appreciate you hosting me.

Awesome makes it sound like my German is flawless which it's not but I find it to be a very American word that has gotten me places here in Germany. When I used it in my first family I would always get a laugh and now it has become a joke between me and my new host brother.

Host siblings? What?! Yes, new family, new siblings, new dog, new everything. Since it has taken me two weeks to write this you can assume I've integrated well into the new family. Good assuming skills my friend you couldn't be more correct. I lucked out in the host family department or really in the exchange department. I feel so fortunate in everything I have in this year abroad; supportive friends and family, a wonderful district, club, counselor and yeo, and two amazing host families.

Just this week I reached the halfway point of my exchange. It really got me thinking how far I've come in these first five and a half months. I feel really good about everything. I've done and seen amazing things, I have freedom, I'm learning, my German is improving, and I've got five more months that I know I have to make count. At this moment nothing could bring me down. I couldn't be happier.

I've already bonded a lot with my new host family. Our favorite thing to do is watch movies together. On this note, American movies with German voiceovers are not good. When you know what Tony Stark's voice sounds like you don't want to hear Iron Man talking in emotionless German. It just doesn't sound good. I'm sorry German voice guy but you need to go back to Tony Stark voice lessons. Another thing is I'm pretty sure there is one German guy and girl that do the voices for every movie ever. Last time I checked Harry Potter and Dracula from Hotel Transylvania 2 do not sound the same but I've been gone for almost six months so then again what do I know.

I live with my host mom and nine year old host sister and then my 18 year old host brother is also often over. Lukas my host brother would like you all to know that he is the best host brother ever. Intelligent, handsome, and awesome (his words not mine). We speak German together (natürlich) and life is going good. Also they have Greek yogurt with honey so I think I'll be happy here.

Aside from host family changes there has also been a development in my soccer life. Oh wait, did I forget to mention I was playing soccer here? My bad. Sunday I had my first game. I should've played in two already but remember that time I blogged about being deathly ill? Yeah there's your answer about why I didn't. But anyways, Sunday, first game, awesome. We were playing at home against a team from Neuss. We didn't expect them to be very good and they lived up to that expectation because we scored a goal in the first minute of the game. Unfortunately I didn't score but I got to play the entire game so I was satisfied. We won 5-0 in the end.

I didn't realize how much I missed playing in games until I finally got out on the field again. Practice is not the same as a game. At all. I've been practicing for about four months with this team but going out onto the field last Sunday brought me back to games back home. Sprinting down the field, always watching the ball move, and knocking into players to steal the ball transported me back to Portland. My head felt cleared. It was spectacular. Plus I think I got some aggression out I didn't realize I had pent up. Trying to body slam someone who is double your size really does things for the body.

My whole team was so supportive of me before my first game. I'm so happy to be part of a community again.



Karnival is almost here so another update will be coming your way soon but that's enough for now.

your favorite human, kaeleigh

January 9, 2017No Comments

I met James Bond

Okay I admit that title is a total lie but I had to get you to start reading. What really happened was I went skiing in a place where James Bond, Spectre was filmed. Almost the same thing right?


Remember this from the movie? Yeah that's in Sölden, Austria. 

I got to Frankfurt hbf Friday night. I saw Lena waiting for me through the train window, jumped down the steps and hugged her for a solid five minutes almost in tears. Here would begin one of the best weeks ever.

Little back story...who is Lena? Well depending on your connection to me as a human being you may already know. But if not then you should know she is a 16 year old girl from Frankfurt who lived in Portland last year. My family and I hosted her in our house for three months so we're really close. You could even say we're sisters.

Now anyways, I went home with Lena and we stayed up really late talking and packing for skiing the next day. If you have to get up at 3:30 in the morning to drive to Austria why not stay up until 1!? The nonexistent sleep was no problem because we slept the six hours to Sölden. Oh and it was New Years! We rented our skis and got our passes for the next day and then rested for the long night ahead. Lena and I were going clubbinggg. Which is legal in Europe by the way. We watched fireworks in the streets and had an all together fun night in our little snow town.

The next morning we slept in and got onto the slopes around noon. We had no new snow so I discovered how not fun skiing on ice is. We got new snow on the third ski day and after that all was good. After six days of skiing I can say I improved a ton. I had a lot of fun skiing. We were always doing different runs so everything was always new.

We ate lunch every day in a new hut we found on the many slopes. I tried so much typical German/Austrian food! For example leberknödelsuppe, apfelstrudel, wiener schnitzel, kaiserschmarrn, and zwetschgenknödel. The first one literally translates to"liver dumpling soup." Sounds really delicious right? Haha okay maybe not but it really did taste good. To really explain what it was like it was a large meatball in a chicken broth with parsley on top. You break the meatball apart and eat it with the broth. It's good I promise.

The next one is more of a dessert but when you're skiing normal health rules do not apply. If you want to eat an apple pastry for lunch then do it. The apple strudel was very similar to an apple pie but it's served with a hot vanilla sauce over it. I found the sauce a little weird but the pastry itself was good.

Wiener Schnitzel is breaded veal (fried) served with lemon juice on top and usually accompanied by potatoes in some form. For me that form was fries. Like I said skiing food is healthy.

Kaiserschmarrn is a shredded pancake that you eat with apple sauce or a fruit compote like plum or lingonberry. German pancakes are the thickness between a crepe and an American pancake but these were like American pancakes, thick and fluffy and sooooo incredible. I didn't have my maple syrup but apple sauce and powdered sugar were almost as good.

I was not a big fan of zwetschgenknödel. It's another dessert that consists of a potato dumpling (knödel) with a plum filling served with hot vanilla sauce over. The dumpling itself was okay but I didn't like the plum filling. When I first saw it I thought it was a chocolate filling so I got really excited and ended up being unpleasantly surprised.

I hope you're hungry now. Head on over to Sölden, Austria and experience some killer skiing, meet James Bond, and eat some awesome food. Below I included a map of the many trails plus the awesome pictures I took throughout the week. I couldn't have asked for a better trip with my best friend/sister and I can't wait to spend more time with her.













my host parents for a week <3


after skiing hair is the best hair




where our little apartment was


p.s. Europeans who read this if I got any of the food names wrong don't judge me, thanks

p.s.s. before taking the train home I went to the one Chipotle in all of Germany and died of happiness, it was worth any amount of money

much love, kale salad

January 1, 2017No Comments

Four countries, three days

The thing that you can't help but love and admire about Europe is how close everything is. In the US I would never be able to say I was in four different countries in three days but here in Europe I just did it.

I started off in Germany (obviously) and drove three hours to Nieuwvelt in the Netherlands. To get there we drove through Belgium but I'm not counting that since we didn't stop. My host family and I and our family friends were renting a beach house on the coast for four days. I took about 100 beach pictures so prepare yourself for those. I loved the beach because it reminded me of the Oregon coast. We were supposed to have sun but ended up having fog every day (sound familiar?). We took walks on the beach bundled up in scarves and coats even though it was almost below freezing. I loved every minute of it. Okay maybe not every minute because I lost feeling in my fingers a few times.





my host parents  <3


Our one visible sunset









Our little house in the fog


Daily icy beach walks weren't the only thing we did in these four days. We also took a day trip to Brugge, Belgium. QUESTION TIME: Why can't names of places be the same in all languages? It would make life so much simpler. Brugge is called Bruges in English so now you American folk can understand because obviously your mouths are unable to say Brugge... Alright now back on track, Brugge was incredible. I've visited a lot of cities in the four months I've been in Europe and this is absolutely in the top three. It was so beautiful especially decorated for Christmas. Now for another stream of photos.


oh you know, just a house from 1480 #average













Belgium is a really interesting place because about half of the country speaks Dutch and the other half French. How that border was distinguished and how well it works I could not tell you. It's not like French and Dutch are very similar languages. I heard Dutch for the first time on this trip and man is that a weird sounding language. Another "first" of this trip was discovering the authentic magic of Belgian waffles. I didn't know you could die and be reborn again after a single bite of something but you can. Needless to say it was mindbogglingly (<-- that word looks really weird right? Is it real or did I make it up?) delicious and I will be going back for more.

The next day we took one more trip to the beach hoping for sun and got lucky. For 5 minutes. After successfully collecting some shells and getting water in my shoe it was time to head home. I was back home for a whole two hours before hopping back into the car with a new suitcase off to Düsseldorf hbf to catch a train to my bestest friend and sister, Lena. Which leads to my next adventure (which will be blogged about soon) and next country. Austria! A week of skiing in a place that has weird sounding German and lots of mountains.

To be continued...


December 19, 2016No Comments

Back in Berlin

In my previous post I talked about how I would be going to Berlin! Well, I just got back and now I'm going to tell you about it. But first you probably want an update on my health because my last post sounded pretty awful. I didn't leave the house from Sunday the 4th of December until Tuesday the 13th. I missed an entire week of school (no complaints there), watched a lot of movies, and wrote a lot of Christmas cards. It was a long time but I managed. Tuesday night I was still sick but well enough to go to my Rotary Christmas dinner. I couldn't taste the fancy food but I think it was good...?

The next morning I got up early and headed to the train station. Off to Berlin! We (as in Team Willich) took an hour and a half train ride to Frankfurt where we met with district 1860 who we would be traveling to Berlin with. We got onto their bus and had to awkwardly introduce ourselves. It was like the new kid enters their first school bus horror scene. We found seats and then began our eight hour drive to Berlin. We listened to music and got to know some of the new people we would be spending the week with. This was the last day I was still noticeably sick so I wasn't the most energetic on the bus.

The ride went surprisingly fast and we arrived at our hotel. We found our rooms and then left for Berlin Hauptbahnhof (central station) where we took the train to an Italian restaurant. I was expecting a pizza parlor but it ended up being a pretty fancy place. I ordered a calzone (Ben Wyatt would be proud) which I was not disappointed with. After pizza we walked to the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg gate) at midnight. It was lit up with lights and there was a giant Christmas tree. Germany takes Christmas very seriously. We took some pictures like the tourists we are and then headed back to the hotel to finally sleep.



The next day we woke up for an early breakfast and then started a bus city tour. After a long day of travel and minimal sleep the night before I will admit that I did sleep through a bit of that tour. In my defense I was still sick and I needed the rest to make it through the rest of the day with full energy.

I cannot tell you about the bus tour but I can tell you about the next tour we took a few hours later to Sans Souci castle in  Potsdam. Sans Souci was the summer palace of King Frederick the Great who was the king of Prussia from 1740-1786. The name of the castle is French and means "without worry." King Frederick wanted the castle built so he could have a getaway from the chaotic Berlin Court. The castle was more like a villa than a palace. It was only one story and had only ten bedrooms, enough to hold his all male guests. King Frederick invited many intellectuals to his castle. It is said that he "squeezed" the knowledge from them then promptly threw them away.

One thing that sets King Frederick the Great apart from other kings is that he asked to be buried at Sans Souci. He has a simple grave stone and his two beloved dogs buried beside him. Most kings are buried with their royal families in churches but King Frederick thought of himself as a philosopher rather than a king and wanted to be buried without excessive splendor.

And now pictures...


Typical exchange student dancing circle, happens wherever we go



The palace garden



The king grew grapes along this wall, he is known for introducing many new fruits and vegetables to the region



After Sans Souci we went back to the hotel, ate dinner, and then left for a Jugenddisco (club for young people). Sick Kale was sick no more because she had to dance to her American music.

The next day we took a tour of Parliament and the Federal Chancellery. We saw Angela Merkel on her way into the Chancellery and she waved at us. It was so cool!

The next day was Saturday. We had the whole day to do whatever we wanted in Berlin. Eva, Raquel, and I bought a day train pass and spent the day traveling all over the city.  We went first to the East Side Gallery which is the part of the Berlin Wall that is covered in murals.

After the East Side Gallery we went to the Pergamon Museum (with recommendation from my lovely friend Ezra Mead). It was a really cool museum that had two giant Greek architectural pieces and another exhibit of Islamic art. The main attraction of the museum, the Pergamon Alter was under construction so unfortunately we were unable to see it but we did see the Market Gate of Miletus (pictured below). I met up with my home district twin Kailey in the museum. She's also on exchange in Germany and she happened to be in Berlin the same time as me so we were able to meet up! It was really fun to see someone from home again even for a short time.


Yes I took this picture off the internet, sorry. But it really did look like this. My iPhone 5S just couldn't capture it properly

The girls and I had some Christmas shopping to do so after our time in the museum we took a train to the Mall of Berlin. We had been there before on our Deutschland tour back in October so we knew it was the perfect place to buy gifts. Plus it was warm unlike outside where it was freaking freezing. The mall is huge and let me just say it's a good thing I didn't have more time there than I did or else I would've bought myself a whole new wardrobe.

Saturday was a really successful day. I saw the Berlin wall, went to a museum, bought Christmas gifts, and managed to use the Berlin train system for an entire day without getting lost. Big accomplishments. Sunday was less active and productive because it consisted of sitting on the bus back to Frankfurt for another seven hours. Team Willich said their goodbyes to our new friends in district 1860 and made our way back home. I did miss my own district a bit on this trip but all in all it was a good five days.

Until we meet again Berlin, Kaeleigh

December 8, 2016No Comments

I’m fine really, haha

Typical Thursday, I'd be in school right now doing school things, I'd come home and hang out for a bit and then I would head to soccer like all was good in the world. But sometimes Thursdays aren't typical and sometimes all is not good in the world.

Maybe you've heard or maybe you haven't but I've been pretty sick since Sunday. When you find out you're sick it's sucky because you're like dang it's December 4th and this is going to put me behind schedule in my holiday prep because my packages need to be shipped and I'm going to Berlin next week so everything needs to be done before that and just wow where is the time. Does the fact that I use incredibly long run on sentences still mean I can be considered a good writer (I wrote rider instead of writer there for a second and I'm embarrassed)?

But we're getting sidetracked. It's Sunday and you wake up with a god awful sore throat like your colds always start off with and life is sad but you know what you're dealing with so it's not too bad. You chill all day and the next day wake up and it's worse. It literally feels like you're swallowing nails every time you swallow. So you go to the doctor and get some antibiotics and over the counter ibuprofen. You trust the doctors even though you have no idea what they're saying because how in the world are you supposed to know the names of illnesses in German??? But anyway you probably have strep throat (Streptokokken in German in case you were interested).

Next day comes and you haven't improved at all. You're a lover of food but every time you try to eat or drink something you want to cut your head off to stop the pain in your ears and throat. So you go back to the doctor to have your throat looked at again but instead they say, "Surprise! Welcome to Germany where we do blood tests with no warning!" So Kaeleigh got blood drawn for the first time and wow. How much I did not enjoy that.

Surprise again! It gets worse! It's the next day (Wednesday right?) and your face has broken out into a bright red rash! But why? Must be the ibuprofen because it says it could be a side effect in those warning papers they give you with all medication. So you're taken off of your pain killers and must endure the pain with no help. Blood tests are in but not official. It is suspected that not only do you have a bacterial infection but also a virus. Double illness, go Kale! Your week and a half to get rid of the strep throat just turned into a month to beat that virus. Santa bring on the Advil!

And now it's the not typical Thursday. You wake up and guess what? Your rash has spread across your entire body! I guess it wasn't the ibuprofen after all. You now have to stop taking the antibiotics too and replace them with allergy pills to bring down the terrifying rash. But have no fear Netflix and tea will always be here. Another kind of plus? Now when you eat food it's like choking down sandpaper rather than nails. That can be considered improvement right?

This has been my week. It sounds bloody miserable and yes it was/is but I'm surviving. Yes I would rather have not gotten two different illnesses at once but on the plus side I didn't have to go to school and I finished "The Crown" (watch it) on Netflix so everything is alright. This was supposed to bring humor to my sucky situation and I hope it worked. Praying for good health soon.

later gater

November 30, 2016No Comments

Triple digits & busy schedules

105 days?! I absolutely cannot believe I have been gone for so long already. It feels like I've been away for a month, no more. I miss it all but by now I can say that I'm fully immersed in this new life of mine.

The German speaking is coming along slowly but surely. I began to make serious progress at the end of October and I continue to improve every day. This exchange has been the best thing to ever have happened to me. It has also been the busiest I have ever been which explains how it has gone by so quickly. I've blogged about every significant event I've done throughout these four months (except the many parties I've attended for various things, sorryyyyy) and I have to say I've done quite a lot already. And I still have over 200 days of this wild adventure!

I realize my posts have become less frequent but you should know it's not because I don't want to write but simply because I'm too busy. Let me give you an idea of what my schedule looks like. In a normal week I have five days of school (obviously), soccer practice Tuesdays and Thursdays, a German class Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and sometimes a Rotary meeting Tuesdays as well. And that isn't even counting the weekend which is always jammed packed with events. The problem with having 55 exchange students within your reach is that someone is always asking to get together and what's better than hanging out with exchange students? Literally nothing in the world.

Just last weekend I was with them all in Münster for a Christmas weekend. We went to one of Germany's famous Christmas markets and went ice skating! Plus we got an entertaining visit from Santa. I'm seeing them all again this weekend for a final party before our oldies leave in the next two months. I'm not ready for that. My exchange mentors aren't allowed to just walk out and leave, completely unnacceptable.

Here are some pictures from that weekend.


In the month ahead I have a five day trip to Berlin, CHRISTMAS, a short trip to the Netherlands, and a ski trip with my most favoritest German sister in der ganzen Welt. Those are all blog worthy events to hopefully you'll be hearing more from me soon.

Until then, kale


oldie: an exchange student that arrived in January and is coming to an end of their exchange

newbie: an exchange student that arrived in August and is still in the beginning of their exchange. I'm currently a newbie but when my newbies arrive in January and February I will then be considered an oldie

November 10, 2016No Comments

November 8th, 2016

I will admit to not being a close follower of politics. What I know about global news and  my own country's internal turmoil is what people tell me. Maybe that makes me a bad, uninformed American but I'm admitting to that now before going further.

It is now November 10th and Donald Trump is the president of the United States of America. How do I feel about this? I feel a lot of things but what I feel the most is disappointment and even shame. I am only 17 years old which means that I couldn't contribute to the voting that occurred a few days ago. Sure I could go to the rallies and encourage people to send in their votes but when it comes down to it I could not contribute to the final outcome. Through this election process I stood on the sidelines observing all of the insanity that was occurring and hoped that who I thought would win...wouldn't.

But there I was on November 9th walking through the doors of building four in St. Bernhard Gymnasium. The one American girl. The girls who's country now had no respect. The voting wasn't official yet. I sat in German class checking my phone every five minutes for that final outcome while my classmates took turns staring at me. He needs four more votes, she needs over 50...What are you going to do if he wins? It's not even a matter of if anymore, only when. Kaeleigh. It's over. He won. Everyone goes back to their staring. It's time to burst this awkwardness bubble. "Yeah sorry guys, America screwed up." Everyone chuckles and looks away. I melt into my seat until the end of class.

At home, "Kaeleigh did you hear the news?" From a friend, "Bad outcome huh?" From a stranger in a restaurant, "Are you from the US? What do you think about the election?" From another friend, "Maybe he won't be so bad..." Every time someone asked me or even looked at me there was a look of pity. A look that said "I don't know how you let this happen."

Being on exchange I am representing the US. This has become much harder this week. The US has granted itself a new image internationally. Saying that I'm an American is harder and I hate that. The US is such a prideful country! I want to be prideful of being an American but currently saying that is like saying "I support Donald Trump and everything that he stands for." But it shouldn't be that way. Yes Trump is the new president of the United States but no he is not the United States. Over 300 million people live in the US and we have the ability to influence the changes made in our country. Donald Trump does not define me as an American and I don't want anyone to think that.

So yes I am still prideful to be an American and no I will not stop waving my flag through Germany for the next nine months I am here just because a provocative and possibly unqualified person has been elected as my president. I am an American and I will continue to act out the positive pieces of my country no matter who is leading it.

Thank you for reading and please don't lose hope in the United States. There is still hope for us no matter what. I can see that all the way from here.



October 23, 2016No Comments

Deutschland is the best land

Deutschland tour is officially over which means I am officially depressed. Two weeks spent with 55 of the best people on this Earth and now they're all home missing tour just like me. The relationships you make with the people in your district are unbreakable. You can't help but love every single person there and that's why it's so hard to leave them.

But now onto the details of tour...we visited 12 cities in 14 days. Heidelberg, Freiburg, Mainau Island, Fussen, Oberammergau, Munich, Dachau, Rothenburg, Dresden, Berlin, Schwerin, and Hamburg. We stayed in hostels in every city we went to and stayed for either one night or two. The hostels were nice and I enjoyed staying in them. Plus I got to share rooms with 4-6 girls so that was always fun. We ate breakfast and dinner in the hostels and lunch out in whichever city we were in for the day.

We moved from city to city on one of those buses you always associate with tourists. The bus rides were one of the best parts of tour. Everyone was standing up and dancing to latino music or laying across each others laps laughing and talking. There was always food and drinks being passed around which is probably why all of us were sick by the end of the trip. Our drives were one to six hours long so there was a lot of bonding time.

In the cities we mainly walked or used public transport rather than our bus. The walking was almost as fun as the bus only more tiring. We always listened to music and got funny looks from the people passing us. I liked the feeling because it felt like I was part of something and it was something awesome. Yes I am an exchange student. Yes these are all my friends from around the world. Yes we are all a crazy family. And yes you can stare if you want because this is who we are. #exchangepride

The first day of tour was my birthday (October 8th) so as you can imagine it was a very fun and exciting day for me. It couldn't have been a more perfect 17th. We were in Heidelberg that day which was one of my favorite cities of the trip.

We stayed in Heidelberg for one night. On the 9th we walked up a bazillion stairs to the castle pictured above. After our tour of the castle we left for Freiburg.




Our next destination was Mainau Island. We didn't stay overnight there but spent a full day exploring the island. It's on Lake Constance which connects Germany, Switzerland and Austria near the Alps. Its shorelines lie in the German states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, the Austrian state of Vorarlberg, and the Swiss cantons of Thurgau, St Gallen and Schaffhausen. The lake is also connected to the Rhine river.

The island is owned by the Lennart Bernadotte Foundation which was started by Prince Lennart Bernadotte, originally a prince of Sweden. Some members of the family still live in the family house on the island. Mainau Island is known for its incredible gardens including an indoor one with thousands of butterflies and picturesque views of the lake. I didn't want to take my camera out in the butterfly garden so unfortunately I don't have any pictures of that but I did take a lot of pictures with friends & flags.

We visited two of the best castles in Germany next but somehow I made the mistake of not having my camera with me that day so of course I don't have many good pictures of them (nice work Kaeleigh). I can tell you that they were incredibly beautiful. We took tours inside both of them and my favorite part was definitely the murals. Every single wall was decorated with incredibly detailed paintings. The first castle, Schloss Hohenschwangau was the childhood home of Ludwig ii of Bavaria. Ludwig ii was the king of Bavaria from 1864 to 1886. He became king when he was 18 years old and loved palaces and castles so much that he spent all of his money building Schloss Neuschwanstein. He never got to see the castle completed because he died mysteriously before it's completion. All that is known about his death is that he was went on a walk with his doctor in the castle grounds and the two were found dead a few hours later in a lake near the castle. Many tried to prove Ludwig the 2nd insane because of his incredible spending on Neuschwanstein.

The darker castle is Schloss Hohenschwangau which was built by Ludwig's father. Ludwig ii lived in the castle and watched through his telescope as Schloss Neuschwanstein was being built in the distance. Walt Disney visited Schloss Neuschwanstein and used it as inspiration for Cinderella's castle.

Unfortunately we were unable to stay overnight in the castles (too bad I know). Instead we went to Oberammergau. I don't know who found this place because it seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. There was a ski lift so I believe people go there to ski which we didn't do by the way. There wasn't snow yet. We had to walk up to the "house" it wasn't a hostel but it was bigger than a house and it hailed the whole time. 30 minutes of walking uphill while hail is pouring down. It was sucky in the moment but looking back it could've been worse. The view from the house was incredible plus we had some of the best food of tour there.


There were cute cows on our walk up


The view from the top

Next up, Munich. I really enjoyed it there. We went to the center of the city and got to spend some time walking around and shopping. I enjoyed the part we went to because there were few cars, just lots of people walking around in the streets.

Something cool that I learned in Munich is that the music played by the Rathaus-Glockenspiel at the Munich town hall (pictured above, middle, top row) changes every year on New Years. So every year you come back to Munich it will play a different song.

Also in Munich we visited the Deutsches Museum which is a technical museum as well as the BMW museum. We took a tour of the BMW factory and got to see exactly how the cars are made. It was super cool.

After Munich we stopped at the Dachau concentration camp. The camp was opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler with the purpose of forced labor. The camp was built and then torn down and rebuilt by the prisoners to hold more people. There were 32,000 documented deaths at the camp.


Rothenburg was our next destination. It was the "typical" Germany every outsider expects. Red roofs, colorful walls, and cobblestone roads. Being someone who's not German I enjoyed seeing the "typical" Germany found in Rothenburg.

I'm at 1,170 words and I still have four cities to go. I'd just like to give a round of applause real quick to you Mr./Mrs. Reader. I'm very proud of you for making it this far. Thanks for reading and don't leave yet I'm just getting to my favorite city, Dresden!

We spent two nights in Dresden and got tons of free time there. The architecture of the buildings along the river was what made Dresden my favorite city of the tour. And lucky for you it's where I took the most pictures. Another thing I liked about Dresden was that it was very lively. There were lots of people walking around and a lot of musicians playing on the streets. We could hear music almost everywhere we went.

After our second day in Dresden we hopped on the bus and went to the Meissen porcelain museum. We did a tour to see how the porcelain is made, detailed, and painted then viewed the museum. I didn't expect to learn about porcelain on this tour but I did and I guess I feel changed as a human being???

Next stop, Berlin. I took some cliche Berlin wall pics because it's an obligation...

Other than the wall we went to the biggest mall in Europe (Mall of Berlin), the Jewish memorial, Berlin concert hall, Brandenburg Gate, and German Parliament. Plus Dominos Pizza, can't miss that one.

On our way to Hamburg, the final city we stopped in Schwerin to see Schwerin castle. I took lots of great photos there which you might've seen on Facebook but if not I'll put some here as well. One thing I really noticed over the whole tour was how everything seemed to be under construction. You couldn't look out over a cityscape without seeing a crane. It made me really realize how the effects of World War 2 are still being dealt with. Germany is still advancing/growing and in some cases at an incredibly fast rate. Many historical buildings were destroyed during the war and are still being rebuilt to match how they used to look or are being updated to a more modern/usable version.

In Hamburg we took a tour of a new part of Hamburg called HafenCity. It's an old warehouse district of Hamburg that is being modernized and will become the home and workplace of thousands of people. It was very interesting to see because you can look one direction and see all of old Hamburg and then the other direction to an incredibly modernized Hamburg. I saw some of the most modernized architecture I've ever seen in my life there. It was definitely different from all the architecture I had seen in the previous cities.

On our final night in Hamburg we had an "end of tour" party. The night started happy and ended in tears because it was the end our oldies (exchange students who have been here since January) final tour. As I mentioned at the very beginning, the relationships made with exchange students are very strong. Having to say goodbye was incredibly hard for us newbies but more so for our oldies who leave Germany in the next few months.

This tour was incredible and I wish more than anything that I could turn back time and do it all over again. Instead I'm unpacking my bags, mailing my postcards, and getting ready for school tomorrow. Good news is exchange students never accept the fact that the party is over. I'll be seeing them all again very soon. 1,775 words and I think I've covered it all. Here concludes the summary of my two week adventure touring Germany with my exchange family.

Until next time, Ice Queen/Cream

September 28, 2016No Comments

Crazy busy life

Things I did last week:

  1. Phantasialand
  2. Tour of Willich
  3. Motorcycle ride to the Netherlands
  4. Soccer practice(s)
  5. Shopping with friends:)
  6. Watched Borussia Mönchengladbach crush Ingolstadt
  8. Visited Ordensburg Vogelsang
  9. Took a 12km hike

If you've read my previous posts you've already heard about my time at Phantasialand and in the Netherlands so I'm gonna focus on my weekend which starts at #6.

Saturday's crazy plans started at 14:30 when Rafael, Raquel, Eva, and Juan showed up at my house with their host dads ready to head to Mönchengladbach. We drove about half an hour, parked, and walked another 20 minutes to the stadium. The crowds were crazy. It reminded me a lot of Timbers games back home. All the fans in shirts supporting certain players and wearing scarves with Borussia across the front.

Borussia Mönchengladbach (the team we were rooting for) won the game which was awesome. As soon as the game ended we drove home and Thomas (h-dad) and I immediately changed into Oktoberfest outfits. Unfortunately I didn't get many good pictures of me in my dirndl but here's one.


Here we have Kaeleigh in her dirndl holding a .5L glass of beer


The live music



My soccer team


Oktoberfest was really fun. I was there with my soccer team but ended up going back and forth between school friends and soccer girls the whole night. Everyone was having a blast which definitely had something to do with the alcohol but it was Oktoberfest so no hate. There were probably a hundred tables in the tent and everyone was either sitting or standing on them yelling a conversation or dancing while holding their giant glasses of beer. It was definitely a German experience and I really enjoyed it.

The next morning I had to get up early (unfortunately) and drive to Ordensburg Vogelsang. Ordensburg Vogelsang used to be a a Socialist educational center for young men between 1936-1939. The purpose of the school was to educate young men about national socialism so that in the future they could be placed in government positions representing the Nazis. We got a long tour of the estate which was huge. The school was built in the hills in a part of Germany where not many people lived. The few people that did live there built the school in about 2 years. The final touches were never placed on the school but it's still spectacular in that "this is terrible but really cool at the same time" kind of way. It was built high in the hills and made to look like a castle to put in place the idea that the Socialists were above everyone else. The men who went there stayed for one year learning to be exactly the same "one man" not individuals and how to be future leaders. They had 5 hours of sports classes a day and were told that "failure is not an option." There were many nude male statues at the school to show what the perfect man was expected to look like and the men that lived there aspired to fit that model. All in all the message of the school was "you are the elite, here's how you act like it."

After the tour we left Vogelsang and went to a lake that was also part of Eifel National Park. We took a big touristy boat across the lake which took about 15 minutes then got off and got some lunch at a little cafe. There were lots of fancy little cars driving by on the one lane road in front of the cafe and looking around there were tiny houses on the hills around us. It seems weird to me to permanently live in a National Park so I don't know what the deal with the houses is. Maybe summer homes? Anyways, they were incredibly cute and seemed like the perfect place to spend your summer.

There were some actual houses but there were also a lot of old trailers that looked like they permanently lived in the hills because they had small houses attached to them. People literally built house extensions around their trailers! I thought that was super cute.

The purpose of the boat trip was to get us to the opposite side of the lake where we planned to walk back. The walk was 12km (about 7.5 miles). It was mainly shady on concrete/dirt roads surrounded by trees and of course the lake which we were making our way around. The hike felt long after so little sleep the night before but I still enjoyed it. Plus I had my Haribo gummy bears to pull me through. The gummy bears pulled me through the 12km but as soon as I got home I crashed and didn't wake up until nine the next morning (school started at 11:15, lucky me).


On the boat:)


Hill homes






Good end to the day

Long week completed now onto the next...



September 25, 2016No Comments

It was phantastic

"Fastest multi-launch roller coaster worldwide." Need I say more?

This week I went to one of the biggest amusement parks in all of Germany. Phantasialand! It. Was. Awesome. It reminded me of Disneyland in the fact that it had separate areas with different themes; Berlin, Mexico, Deep in Africa, Fantasy, China Town, and Mystery. My favorite area was Berlin.


The new roller coaster was called Taron. I've been to Disneyland, Disneyworld, and Six Flags but I think Taron makes top three best roller coasters I've ever been on. There were no loops but it was incredibly fast.



Not only did Phantasialand have awesome rides it also had shows. Susanne (h-mom) really wanted us to see the ice show. It was a good break from the walking so we didn't complain. The name of the show was "Ice College." We sat down, the strobe lights turned on, and a song from High School Musical started to play. I knew I was in for a real treat.


Bad quality picture but I need you to see what I'm talking about

Two girls, probably in their late twenties skated out in plaid mini skirts and berets like Cher from Clueless (I really really hope you know what I'm talking about). Then came the obvious "nerd" girl in overalls and pigtails. The mean girls started pushing her around like any high school drama movie ever and then the guys came out. Bowling jackets, biker jackets, basketball game (on ice), prom, a literal Chad from High School Musical. It was all too much. I had to try so hard to hold in my laughter. What made the whole thing worse was that some of the skaters were probably in their forties and their job was to act like they were 17. I kind of felt bad for them.

I know this is a lot of criticism for an ice skating show at an amusement park but I was very weirded out. I never expected to go to Germany to watch a do over of High School Musical on ice. The skating was actually quite good. All in all it was very entertaining.

Now for more pictures:)



My host sister Linda and her boyfriend Tim


Me entertaining the group while we waited in line


Trying to eat a sandwich and having my picture taken


Before our first ride


Before our water ride


Post Phantasialand meal

Have a phantastic day!

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