September 18, 2016No Comments


Hello blogosphere...

It has been awhile since I've  updated you on my awesome life and for that I apologize. This week I've just been going through the average motions of life. One cool thing I did was use the bus/train to go to Dusseldorf (biggest city near me) for the first time by myself. The travel time is about 50 minutes total. 20 on the bus and 30 on the train. I really enjoyed the trip on a casual Saturday afternoon because it wasn't busy and it was the first time I had done independent travel since being here, even if it was only a short trip. In Dusseldorf I met up with an exchange friend (Taylor, from Canada) and she showed me the most breathtaking shopping strip I have ever seen. Not gonna lie I almost had a heart attack when I saw all the beautiful clothes and shoes through the windows. It's a miracle I didn't buy the whole street.

Now onto today, I got picked up this morning and taken to the city hall building (it's actually a castle, average Germany things) where the annual Kinderfest is held. Kinderfest is a day where a bunch of families and businesses set up booths selling second hand children's toys and clothes. There were also lots of games and fun stuff for kids. I was working at a booth selling hotdogs and popcorn with my Rotary club. I worked the popcorn machine which I'm just gonna say is not an easy job.

Why is making popcorn difficult you ask? Well let me tell you...SIDENOTE: don't you just hate it when the bottom of your foot itches? Like you have to itch it but at the same time it's totally uncomfortable because then it tickles! Man I hate that (this happened to me while I was writing this I'm not crazy I swear)...Okay back on track. I worked a popcorn machine for six hours and got eight battle scars doing it.

To make the popcorn you put oil, sugar, and the kernels into the top and then turn on the heat. They start to pop and eventually it overflows and you dump the bucket. But the oil inside is still popping! Hot kernels and oil fly everywhere hence the eight burns I got. One on my face! I mean come on I'm just tryna sell some popcorn here. I can't say I enjoyed having 10 people waiting for popcorn watch me flinch every time hot oil hit my hand as I try to fill their bags but it wasn't a terrible day. Making popcorn was fun and it tasted good too. Plus hanging out with my exchange crew and Rotary club is always a good time.


Oh you know, just me taking pictures with the city mayor, no big deal.



Looking happy with my "thanks for risking your life making popcorn for 6 hours" ketchup

On a final marks one month of being in Germany *confetti*

September 12, 2016No Comments

Rotary Raging

Today is Monday and that means rotary welcome weekend is officially over *sad face.*

On Saturday morning I left for Mettman, Germany which is a city about 30 minutes from where I live to meet all of the other exchange students in my district. There were about 60 of us plus about 20 rebounds/rotex (people who have already been on exchange). We spent all of Saturday hanging out and getting to know each other. Most of us had been in a group chat together since before we even left for exchange but it's so much different to meet the people in person.

We're from all over the world and that's so crazy to think. I now know people from Portugal, Finland, Poland, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Australia, Canada, and so many more. I think I talked to almost every person in the group and everyone is incredible. I can't wait to see them all again for Deutschland tour in 26 days! I also have to say that I understand why Rotary puts in place the rule "don't only be friends with exchange students" because that's all I want to do after this weekend. The thing about exchange students is that 99% of the time they are incredible people. It takes guts to spend a year abroad and the people who do it understand the good and bad parts about it and it was really great to be able to spend a day talking about it with them.

Not only did I meet people from different parts of the world I also met six from my own country. We come from Alaska, Illinois, Florida, New York, Texas, and of course Oregon. I think it's cool that we're from all over the US, we well represent the whole country.

On a last little note, I now have the goal of coming home knowing how to dance like a Latin American so hold me accountable for this please.

September 8, 2016No Comments

A day in the life of a kale leaf

Do you ever just wonder what an average day looks like for a girl like me? Well same. So I wrote about it. Just for you:)

Morning stuff is kinda boring so I'm gonna race through it...

  • 6:30 wake up
  • 6:45 pick out my bomb outfit for the day
  • 7:00 breakfast w/ Thomas of cereal or toast w/ nutella
  • 7:30 bike to school (biking is my favorite thing if I haven't already mentioned that)

My first class starts at 7:40 unless I have a late start and I have 1-4 classes per day. Everyday in a two week span is different and then it repeats. It's pretty confusing but I like it because I get to do something different everyday. I only go to my classes one or two times a week except English which I have two or three.

Today I had English, Deutsch, geography, and math. Lucky for me my Deutsch class got cancelled which oddly happens a lot here. In English I participated in the class discussion for the obvious reason that the entire class is taught in my native language. It's actually an interesting class for me because we're not really learning English but rather learning IN English. The topic the class is discussing is globalization. Everyone in the class chose English as one of their two leistungskurses which are the classes you take the most of and are most interested in. At the end of the semester they will write a paper on globalization and we will move onto the American Dream. Lucky for my class they have a real life American in their class who failed their AP U.S. History exam just last Spring *thumbs up*(I'm only slightly bitter).

As I have mentioned before, school isn't filled with much math, geography, music, or religion learning for me. Right now it's a way for me to learn German. Listening to German all day is kinda boring so I find myself doing a lot of doodles in class. I took some pictures of my doodles so far because I know you're interested.

In geography I studied some German verbs (sounds fun I know) and after went home for  lunch. Then came my favorite class. Math. With my favorite teacher. Herr Welder. Now if you knew me you would know that I'm not a big fan of math but now let's put that math in German and make it math I've never learned before with a teacher that is certain I'm going to magically understand. Today he started talking to me rapid fire in German (like always) and when I didn't understand turned to his favorite translator in the first row of the class. She then turned to me and said "Have you practiced any calculus? Do you understand now?" HA! Herr Welder you are a funny man. I did not in fact go home and study my calculus book in German so I could show off my mad math skills to you today. Didn't make the priority list sorry, maybe next time. Or never.

After he was done with me I turned back to my math notes and pretended to be busy. I wrote a bunch of awesome notes to myself which I know you want to read so here they are.


When Kaeleigh writes German calculus notes like a good student even though she has no idea what she's writing


Here is me doing bad math calculating how many seconds I had left in that dreadful class then I wrote some awesome insightful notes about it:)


Oh wait another ten notes about math class?

End of school bell rang and I booked it out of there. Now I'm home blogging like the blogger I am and am headed to soccer practice soon. Oh wait she's playing soccer in Germany? Who knew?! More about that soon...

later gater

p.s. I spelled calculus right the first time, go me


September 7, 2016No Comments

1st Rotary Meeting

For the next year I will be attending weekly Rotary meetings in either the afternoon or evening on Tuesdays. The meetings are held at a hotel, same as mine back home but much smaller. There are about 32 members of the Willich Rotary Club. I think there were about 20 of us for this particular meeting.

Before sitting down Raquel, Eva, and I stood by our chairs and waited as people came into the room and shook our hands to say hello. When we finally sat down I looked down at my place setting and saw my napkin neatly folded in the center of my placemat where my plate would eventually need to go. I went to move it aside when I noticed a little green grasshopper on it. It blended in with the lime green napkin so I didn't notice it at first. Someone was speaking at that point either the President of the club or Rafael, I don't remember and I didn't know what to do with the napkin. Luckily my counselor was sitting behind me and noticed my predicament and let my little friend out through the window. Eventful start to my first meeting.

The speaker for the meeting that day was Rafael, the inbound from Brazil. He was giving his presentation (IN GERMAN) about his exchange so far and some information about what life is like back home. He's been here since January so his German is quite good, gives me hope for mine. His presentation was well done and the club seemed to like it. Plus he brought brigadeiro (sticky/chocolaty dessert with sprinkles on top, basically pure sugar) which we made together the night before. It was also his birthday so happy 17th to him.

Attending this Rotary meeting reminded me of the ones I went to back home in Portland. The meetings were similar but with the obvious language difference. Downtown Portland Rotary is also bigger and the best in the world;)

Thanks to my sponsor & hosting clubs I wouldn't be here without you.

September 3, 2016No Comments

Diamonds for days

I never expected to find myself at a jewelry auction while in Germany but it happened...

The auction was held in Mönchengladbach which is a neighboring city to Willich only much bigger. Susanne and I got to the building where the auction was held and inside the room found rows of chairs and four glass boxes full of jewelry. There was also a table for electronics that were being sold. We walked around looking at all the pieces for an hour (much too long for my liking). Diamonds are only pretty for so long in my opinion.

After thoroughly looking at all the pairs of earrings, necklaces, watches, and pendants I began people watching. The crowd in the room was very interesting. I can tell you that there were lots of pairs of loafers which I thought was quite funny. Also mismatched suits. I saw one man in light denim jeans, a dark grey suit jacket, and brown cowboy boots. I'm not quite sure what look he was going for but he rocked it.

There were a lot of older women accompanied by their husbands as well as some foreign looking men (my guess is Turkish) who were only interested in the electronics. There were also a few people who came with their "diamond inspection kits" meaning a magnifying glass, a small light, and a diamond size measurer (there's probably a better word for this but oh well). You could tell who the experts were and it was best to stay out of their way. They were on a mission.

I had never been to a live auction before and it was very interesting to see one done in German. I feel like the ones back home are spoken a little faster but the speaker at this one did sell the items quite fast. About 30 seconds and the item was either sold or put aside because no one wanted it. I didn't raise my hand for any of the items because I'd much rather spend my money on something else but I enjoyed the experience of being there.

Have a sparkly day:)

August 23, 2016No Comments

Mambo cha cha

I hope my weird title caught your attention. Now that you're listening I can tell you about my experience in a German step aerobics class.

What is step aerobics you ask? Well I learned that it is a group of dance moves done on a step. We did twirls over the step, a lot of arm swinging, step ball changes, and around ze world (go over the step, turn, and do it again). The instructor said that the exercise for the day would be too difficult for me a little beginner. I made sure to prove her wrong. I can around ze world (that's how the instructor pronounced it) with the best of em. She was nice enough to teach the class in English for me which I didn't really need and felt bad about. I can count in German and the class is mainly just following what she does. But I appreciated the effort.

The class was basically one of those things where you have to laugh at yourself. It was fun and good exercise but I felt ridiculous doing it. I was also in the room with seven other over 40 women so that made it even funnier. The instructor named the moves so we knew what to do and one was called Mambo which was then followed by the cha cha. Every time she said it I had to keep myself from laughing. At the end of the class we had to do the three sets of moves all by ourselves and I have to say it was actually pretty hard. 10/10 would recommend step aerobics if only for the experience.

-Yours truly

August 22, 2016No Comments

Pictures speak louder than words

I keep forgetting to include the pictures I've taken so here's a bunch of them:) I hope you enjoy.


Gardening with h-mom


This is the street across from my house


My first German rainbow



Rafael, the Brazilian exchange student and Burkhard my YEO after Brazil won the Olympic gold medal


A typical German breakfast


August 22, 2016No Comments

I started writing stuff down

Hello hello hello!

In my post before I said that I had a hard time remembering all the awesome stuff I wanted to blog about so I've started writing them down (I'm really proud of myself for doing this so when you see fit please mail me a sticker as a reward, thank you). I did this all yesterday and today. I basically wrote small notes on weird things I learned or picked up throughout the day. I just read through my notes and realized how weird they would look from an outside perspective so I thought it would be funny to share them. Then I can break them down and explain more.

  • house shoes
  • bathrooms are always by the front door
  • half to five not half past four
  • biggest carrot distributor
  • burgers with a fork?!?!
  • eat everything or die
  • no such thing as German coffee
  • guinea pig is the national food in Ecuador
  • orange eggs
  • pearls in the toothpaste
  • donkey, sheep, horse
  • corn fields
  • hugging everyone
  • almost died on the ropes course

Soooo yeah that's my list. Some are self explanatory but still the list is weird right? I'll start my explanations from the top.

Everyone in Germany wears house shoes. They're comfy shoes that they wear around the house but never out. This is something we have in the states (slippers, duh) but it's way more common here. Also I don't have a pair so yeah, sad.

Someone told me that 95% of the time there is a powder room by the front door in every German household. Whether this is actually true or not I have no idea. I've only been in two houses so far. But I'll keep y'all updated.

My host dad taught me that in German you don't say the time like half past four but rather half to five which I thought was interesting.

The next few things I picked up at my YEO's house. He told me that Willich is the biggest carrot distributor. Whether he meant in Germany, Europe, or the world he didn't specify. He also said that it is proper manners in Germany to eat everything on your plate. This rule is taken very seriously and kinda sucked when I felt super nauseous on my first day from jet lag. Sorry h-fam I tried my best. Before I left, my parents asked my to try the German coffee for them and so when the topic of coffee came up I turned on my listening ears. I talked about Portland being known for its coffee (Stumptown whoop whoop) and said that I must try whatever Germany has to offer. I was then informed that Germany doesn't have its own coffee, they import it (sorry parents). Quite disappointing but not really actually because I don't even like coffee really. Unless it's iced with a bucket of simple syrup in it:)

Did you know the national dish in Ecuador is guinea pig? Yeah neither did I. I've heard it tastes bad so no need to try but do visit the Galapagos Islands it's worth any amount of money (thanks for the info Pia).

Scrambled eggs are orange here I don't know why. I've seen an orange squirrel, doves, a donkey, horses, and some sheep since being here. There's also a lot of farm land, not a lot because this place is only like 8 miles but I'm sayin a decent amount. Also, I've tried two different types of German toothpaste. One tasted like black licorice and the other had weird bead things in it (secret dentist tip?? I don't know).

At dinner, we had a large group and you should know that Germans or rather Europeans take their table manners very seriously. But now we were having burgers that night and it is completely unacceptable to eat a burger with a fork and knife. It didn't even cross my mind when I was given mine. I dug right in without a second thought but after I few minutes I looked around at everyone else and saw two people in our large group with a fork and knife in hand slicing away at their burgers. In my head the America emergency bells were going off. "Warning, warning, someone has broken American protocol, self destruction in process." I kept my thoughts to  myself though. The Germans can improperly eat their burgers if they please. And if they ever read this know that I do love you dearly. You're wonderful humans.

Since being in Germany I have hugged almost every single person upon meeting them. I don't know if this is a rotary thing, maybe they want you to feel more at home or something broader. All I know is everyone here specifically the kids and teens are really skinny. Today I internally apologized to this person I was required to hug who happened to be incredibly tall and skinny because I just crashed into their collarbone and it was quite awkward but I mean what can you do (you're welcome for this really embarrassing insight).

And we've finally made it to my last note. This is a long post, I'm proud of you for making it through. Today the exchange students and I were taken on a ropes course with ziplines and tricky suspension bridges. It was all super high up and terrifying but definitely fun. As we got to the end of our final course (Risiko ooo ahhh) there was a choice to take the safe route or the super sketchy route. I was on my way to the safe route when Rafael (exchange student from Brazil) came up behind me and said I HAD to do the scary one. I wasn't about to back down. It took me about 10 minutes to do it but I jumped like frickin Tarzan onto a hanging net. It also hurt. A lot. But it's all for the experience right? Rotary rules, never say no:)

This post was a little more sporadic than usual but I hope you still found it interesting. More soon, kale out

August 20, 2016No Comments

Too much to talk about 

Argh this whole blog thing is really hard. Everyday I think of about ten awesome things to write about but I forget to write them down and when I finally sit down to blog I can't think of anything!

It's noon on day three but I didn't write yesterday and I don't want to neglect my bazillion followers of a day of Kaeleigh awesomeness;) so I'll give y'all a recap.

  • Biked to the supermarket for the first time with my host mom
  • Met all of my neighbors (and I mean all)
  • Met a small, fluffy, white dog named Tequila (highlight of my day)
  • Gardened with my host parents
  • Had a party with Rotarians and host families of the four exchange students here
  • Slayed kicker (foosball) with the exchange students and their host siblings
  • Finally went to bed, sleep comes real fast here

So more on the neighbors thing... I live in Schiefbahn which is part of Willich. It's about 11,000 people which kinda sounds like a lot but I swear everyone knows everyone. Maybe they don't but if you pass someone on the street 9-10 times they will stop to say hello. I was out front of my house with my host parents planting some new things and even people in cars were stopping to talk!

My host mom and I walked around the neighborhood asking people if they had any outside tables we could borrow for our party that night. The walk consisted of very little walking but lasted probably an hour because at the three houses we stopped at we talked for 20 minutes. And by talk I mean h-mom chatted it up with her neighbor squad and I stood by smiling and nodding understanding probably 10%. I later learned that the neighborhood has a set of tables they use whenever someone is hosting a party. Why don't we have this in the US that's my question.

Being in such a small place is very different but I'm interested to see what it will be like.  I'm really excited for school to start because I'll get to meet more kids my age. I haven't seen many but that's probably because it's only been a few days.

Weird note: saw what looked to be an old ladies bike club??? About 12 women over 60 riding together through Schiefbahn. Have to say that's basically elderly goals.

Ta ta for now, enjoy the pics:)

Pia (center) my YEO's daughter and Raquel (left) exchange student from Brazil

host moms and daughters

Thomas and I

exchange squad

Exchange students in Willich with our host families

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