First and Second Days

It took an eternity, but the plane finally landed! I met my host family, who are very nice people. Helmut, the father, Ingrid, the mother, Ben (or Benny…Benni?), the 10 year old brother, and of course Lars: my host partner. It’s not too different, but there are some major differences: For breakfast, we eat stuff like in America- toast, cereal, etc. Lunch is the biggest meal, which is in mid afternoon or so. Yesterday I ate lasagna (three servings of it) with ice cream for desert, and today was chicken in a sauce mixed with fruit, and sides of rice and carrots. To drink we have apple juice, or oj, or sparkling water, and sometimes we mix the water with the apple juice (which Helmut Riegel pointed out is “not from concentrate”). And everything is so organized- if there is one thing on the floor, it is treated like the whole room is a mess. The bathrooms (there are 4 of them) have a futuristic type feel to them, where there are glass windows, and a method of turning them on which is completely different. When you go into the house, there is a rack of shoes (50 pairs of shoes-or some ridiculous number), and you put them on before going outside, but one never wears shoes indoors. The backyard is beautiful, complete with a trampoline. Ben speaks almost no English, so I talk to him in German sometimes. I asked why them were horses behind the backyard, and he said something like “these are for lessons”. For dinner, we eat just bread and cheese. Lars is often busy with his studies, as his teachers did not allow him to miss any exams due to the presence of us Americans. We rode bikes to school, and this neighborhood has the advantage of begin very quiet, but simultaneously, it is not at all far from the mall, and other such large buildings. Lars said this had something to due with people not being able to drive through his neighborhood to the city. In school, there were 1.5 hours of physics, then break, 1.5 hours of Musik (with a short break in the middle), then break, 1.5 hours of math (with another break in between), then ending with French. At Gymnasium Oberalster (their school, which consists of grades 5-12), you can pick between French or Latin for a language. English is a mandatory class. Every single person I have met so far (other than young children) speak perfect English. Lars is particularly studious, but like America, there are plenty of students who text during class/don’t pay attention. I took some notes during math, music I simply sat there, physics I watched them create an experiment, and in French I played hangman and pictionary with some students, as there was no lecture, just preparation for an exam tomorrow. After school, we went to World Coffee, which is exactly like Starbucks, and has virtually the exact same logo and colors. We explored the mall, which is across the street from World Coffee (the W is pronounced like a V, naturally). Some people in school said I am “nice” so that’s fortunate. After hanging out at World Coffee for a while, I found my way home alone, as Lars had already left in order to study. So I took my self drawn map (which turned out to be completely incorrect), and found my way home by memory. Last night, most of the GAPP students and I went out to eat at a restaurant which serves things like pizza, chicken, and so forth. Lars lent me his old phone, so I can call when I need to (it has a crack on the front of it), and it has picture taking capability! So I should be able to upload digital photos at some point maybe.

3 thoughts on “First and Second Days

  1. Hi John,

    Excellent first post! Sounds like you’re already have a great lifetime experience. So, how are the Hamburgers? Nice work making your way home from memory. I’d probably be wandering aimlessly through Amsterdam by now,


  2. John, Happy to hear of your activities and your safe arrival. Sounds like a great experience. After I read about your 3 helpings of lasagna, I thought you were getting ready to run !!! Thanks for sharing. Love, Grandma.

  3. Guten Tag.Das ist wunderbar you are able to take this trip. A wonderful country and population. Enjoyed reading your first entries, the home stay will saturate you right into the culture. By the time you read this it will be evening so Gute Nacht.

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