Thank you to everyone who sent in questions!
Q1. What will I do without my exchange friends when I go home?
This question calls for a one word answer. Die.
Q2. Did you have any misconceptions of exchange?
I find this question somewhat hard to answer. My exchange process was an interesting one. What I remember was an interview in front of ten Rotarians, a phone call the next day telling me I was accepted, meeting some cool new inbounds/outbounds, finding out I was going to Germany, and then I was here. Everything kind of just happened. I went through the motions and suddenly I was living a new life and everything was good. What I'm trying to say is I didn't give myself time to think about my exchange and what it might be like which meant I didn't really develop any conceptions at all. I told myself that overthinking would cause nervousness so I decided to just jump in and I don't think that's a bad thing. Everything has turned out alright for me.
Q3. What do Germans think about the recent visit of Angela Merkel to the US and do they follow world politics much?
The only time German teens stop to talk to me about world politics is to ask "So what do you think about Trump?" German boys in particular seem to find Trump incredibly amusing. I've seen two school projects made with a Trump theme. They were projects for religion class... That isn't to say German youth are completely unaware about the world around them. I think a lot of them are from newspapers, tv, and the radio but I haven't discussed it with many of them.
German adults do take the time to discuss the topic with me; Rotarians when I attend meetings, my host families and their friends, and even random people I meet in restaurants or on the train. We've discussed how even Germans are scared for the future. Trump becoming president does not only affect the US it affects the entire world. Angela Merkel's visit to the US proved to the world how little interest Trump has in world affairs which goes to show how that fear is not misplaced.
US politics are being talked about everywhere. It's almost impossible to not know the latest news because it's all over our headlines too. In my first host family we watched the news every week and whatever was being discussed about the world we tried to talk about after. This discussion occurred partly because I didn't understand all of it but also because it's important to be knowledgable about world news.
Q4. What do you miss most from home?
I miss my people and the overall atmosphere of my beautiful hipster filled city. I miss flying down the highway blasting music and singing along. I miss Multnomah Village, Hillsdale, downtown, 23rd, Hawthorne, and basically every corner of Portland. I miss going on hikes. I miss my dog, my car, my room, my moms cooking, lunch at school with friends, sleepovers with my besties, going to the movie theater, track, driving, soccer, and laughing about inside jokes. I miss so many things and I can't wait to come back to them but at the same time it will be so hard to leave the people and this life I've made in Germany.
Q5. What is the first place you want to go to eat when you get back?
Chipotle, Pine State Biscuit, Nectar Frozen Yogurt, Por qué no, Original Pancake House, Jamba Juice, Boke Bowl, Little Big Burger, Bamboo Sushi, Salt & Straw, and Bunk Sandwiches. All. In. One. Day. Okay so maybe not all in one day but you know, eventually. Then begins the "lose all exchange weight" diet and workout plan. If you are interested in joining me in any/all of these magical restaurants or have never had the pleasure of going you know where to find me, come along:)
Q6. What is one thing you want to accomplish before you leave?
This is going to sound weird but I have this dream of going to a German bakery and working for a weekend or so to learn how to bake German bread. I talk so much about how Germans eat too much bread and how over it I am but I still want to bring it home for my Oregon peeps to try. Plus I just think getting to work in a bakery for a day would be cool. We'll see if my dream is attained.
Q7. How fluent in German will you be when you come home?
That is a good question. It's kind of hard to analyze your own speaking skills. I receive compliments about how my German is really good for only 7 months of learning so I guess that's something. I'm able to understand most of what people say and respond adequately. I still have lots of grammatical errors because German grammar is really really hard but I'm able to converse well. When I come home and someone says something to me in English I do plan on responding in rapid fire German just to throw them off. Be prepared.
Q8. What's your favorite new thing you've tried in Germany?
Is french fries as a side dish to every meal a valid answer?
Q9. What was the funniest/weirdest question you've been asked about the US?
Have you met Kylie Jenner?
Q10. What American item/food do you miss the most?
Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream, Kraft mac & cheese, and my bed.
Q11. What is your favorite place in Germany?
Since the question was place and not city I can easily say my favorite place in Germany is the stairs in Düsseldorf. These outdoor steps look out over the Rhein river and are never without an exchange student nearby. I have so many memories in this place and it will forever be in my heart.
Q12. What country do you want to visit next?
Since before exchange it has always been my dream to visit Greece and I still really want to go there one day but the next country on my list is undoubtedly Brazil. I have so many exchange friends from Brazil and they have inspired me to get there asap. I hear so much about Brazil it's almost like I've already been there but not quite because the craving to get there is so real I'm considering buying my plane ticket now and leaving tomorrow.
I really enjoyed answering these questions. It forced me to write down some of the things that cross my mind every day plus some new things I've never thought about.
Until the next time blogosphere, kaj