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This is about the time I was sent to Germany for 6 months. I was a 16 year old with bad German.  I was the only one in my group who could speak any. My group would point to me on the airplane as someone who could help translate for an Oma that was having some language issues on the plane.  

I went to Gymnasium (college tracked high school) at Neudorf Gymnasium in Duisburg, Germany.

Good Planning?  

I'm a poor planner.  I've always been a pretty poor planner.  I try.  No, really.  I try to plan things.  Generally, that doesn't work out so well.  

When I was in 7th grade, I had the option of which language I would choose the following year.  This was 1982, so there was some interest in Asian languages, but not much in suburban Seattle.  

There was French, Spanish, German.  Somehow, I don't recall how, I was aware of a German exchange program that had been going on for 15 years or so.  This program was operated out of the high school I would be attending.  

I decided, planned!, that I would take German, because I would go on this exchange.  

It was really a poorly thought out plan. There was no way I was going to be able to take an exchange student in my home.  None.  I didn't have any way of paying for such a trip.  I mean, I was begging people in my neighborhood for work, I was delivering papers...  

Home Was a Roof and a Bed
My home wasn't much of a home.  It was a house in a great area with a fabulous view, but we only got it because of the social security death benefits from my Mother.  It was a piece of crud, and the basement had places where the concrete was torn up, but it was never repaired.   My Dad was a "convenience hippy." I use that term to describe him, because he wasn't all that excited about any sort of social change.  He just liked the easy access to drugs, girls, and the ability to continue slacking his way through this part of his life.

The Exchange Program
We sang choruses of "Oh du schöne Schnitzelbank" through my junior high years.  I may have learned a few things, but language instruction in the US has always seemed like something that we do in a completely half assed manner. There was, at the time, very little opportunity to even speak a second language in the US.  

When the time came to make the move to high school, I started taking German.  High school started in the 10th grade for me.  Officially, 9th grade is on my transcripts, but the building didn't hold the 9th graders.  The German teacher went simply by the name "Frau." This was before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and she was a former East German citizen.  As a high school asshole, I wasn't ever really interested in asking her about her story.  Instead, I just made life a little hard on her. I mean, really hard on her.  

When I was still 14, I began working in a 4 star restaurant as a bus boy/dishwasher/prep cook.  I made pretty good money for a grubby teen.  I was able to buy a bass guitar that I still own and play.  I was able to buy a nice stereo system.  I was doing okay.  I guess I would come to school looking like shit, because she told me about it later.  

She would travel every Summer to Germany in order to visit the host families.  She was very careful about how she matched the students up with host families.  As I mentioned earlier, my family life wasn't really conducive to having someone stay with me.  In hindsight, she made the best choice ever.  

So when 11th grade came near, I probably told her that I wanted to go.  She took one look at my home, and decided that was a non starter.  I'm sure my Dad played it up a bit, because if there was one thing he wanted less than the two kids he already had to pay to take care of, it was the possibility of a third kid.  

Frau is still alive.  I saw her at her 90th birthday party.  She is the human equivalent of those little dogs with little legs who are joyful, yet somehow retain their ability to strike fear.  She was probably about 4'10", and she was the perfect roundness for her shortness.  

One thing to remember about me personally is that I lost my mother at a very young age.  What that means in this context is that when I would travel to Germany for 6 months of high school, it would likely be the first time I lived with a complete family that had any sort of harmony.  The harmony would be different than I expected, because the home where I would stay had two bedrooms for the parents.  There was no animosity, I just think they preferred to sleep in separate rooms.  

The Ruhrgebiet

Duisburg is in the Ruhrgebiet.  It was historically a manufacturing and coal mining area.  It was then the largest inland port in Germany.  It's a little bit like those rust belt areas in the US.  It was historically a blue collar population, and they were proud of the many ways in which they showed their blue collarness.  

Many of my friends who traveled to Germany stayed with families in which there was a doctor or other professional in the house.  My exchange parents were decidedly middle class. They lived in a multi-story apartment complex, in an apartment that was basically one entry way with 6 rooms surrounding it.  Two of the rooms were the bathroom and the kitchen. There was a yard that held a massive stone ping pong table.  The Father would putaway about a six pack of Beck's, and a pack of smokes a day.

Frau made an amazing choice for me.  The family, the area... everything was perfect.  My host Mother was an elementary school teacher, and she spoke with the deliberate cadence of someone who speaks frequently with children.  I think her particular patience with me while we spoke was one of the best things that happened for my German language learning.  

After about a month,  I traveled on a ski trip for Easter.  I returned speaking German that was the envy of all of my classmates.  It just clicked.  In order to learn a language, you have to determine the rhythm of that language.  

Ruhrpott- The Curious language of the region

The language spoken in this part of Germany is very characteristic.  Think about the pride that many blue collar areas have in the rough and tumble nature of their language. I have a specific dictionary with many of the different words that are unique to just the city of Duisburg.  

One of the very first things I was taught- How to order Pommes frites (fries) properly.  Einmal pommes rot/weiss.  

"Buh, eh, wat soll dat, den?!" In order to really sound German, you have to master the interjections.  There are numerous interjections that fit into sentences as sort of rhythm keepers.  And, while Germany may have some of the longest words you can imagine, (Sicherheitsmassnahme), there is also the ability to express a complex thought in nothing more than a grunt.  "Na?"  could mean a lot of things.  It's really just the word, "well?"

A good example of an interjection that keeps the rhythm of the sentence is "denn."  "Wie heisst du?" just means "What are you called?" But it's very common for Germans to interject the word "denn" in there for no reason, apparently than to keep the sentence sounding coherent.  "Wie heisst denn  du?" Instead of three, short and choppy single syllables, it becomes a more rhythmic statement.  

I was also taught the (in)correct way to say "Das" and "Was." It's common in Germany to replace the S on the end of Das und Was with a T, but in Duisburg it's a thing.  

When I would later visit Hamburg, I would be told by my friend's exchange family that I "was learning the worst German in all of Germany."

I thought it was fucking awesome.  I still think it is.  My exchange student is a doctor, but he wants to be an actor. He has been told that it's not possible to copy "Ruhrpöttisch."   Yet, when he visited me recently, he was all happy that he could come here to the US and find someone who speaks like he does.  

I think anyone should do an exchange program, but I have been constantly reminded of what a great experience it was for me.  Why was it so great for me?

Well, I learned to speak a language, even though the language is nearly useless in this world anymore.  I rarely get to speak German with anyone.  

When I was at Frau's birthday party, I stood up to speak in front of the others who had come to celebrate the 30+ years that she ran her own personal exchange program.  I tried not to cry, but I couldn't avoid it.  

I told her that I wanted to thank her for the experience, because it was the only time that I was able to live in a "real family."   A family where the parents were interested in their kids education, where they had matching silverware, and a family where someone cooked dinner every night.  

I know that those aren't the only things that make a family, but like many kids who are 16, I was preoccupied with the things I didn't have.   It was an amazing thing for me to be able to spend that 6 months with a family that was there for each other.  

The way our family is now.

Originally posted to otto on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:16 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  When she would tell me much later (21+ / 0-)

    Years ater, she told me this: "Ach, Ven I see you comink into ze classrrrooom vis your jeans all ripped, and your hands all red from Vashing, my heart just goes out to you."

    She wanted to make sure that I would get to go on the exchange, regardless of whether someone stayed with us.

    Streichholzschächtelchen

    by otto on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:16:00 AM PST

  •  The two bedrooms thing (13+ / 0-)

    "There was no animosity, I just think they preferred to sleep in separate rooms."

    Same with my grandparents, though the reason was clearly identifiable... once Grandpa got to sleep, you could hear him snoring all over the house.

    Conservatism is a function of age - Rousseau
    I've been 19 longer'n you've been alive - me

    by watercarrier4diogenes on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 10:33:47 AM PST

  •  As someone who was educated in multiple countries (8+ / 0-)

    (though not as a foreign exchange student), I'd highly recommend it to people, as they can benefit from the experience of being in a different country for a time.

  •  Wonderful story. Learning about other languages (7+ / 0-)

    and cultures is so important to opening minds and hearts.  It makes us see the "big picture" leads to being far more tolerant, empathetic humans.  I've been teaching for many years and have enjoyed so many exchange students from around the world, as well as discussing the exchange program with American students who have had this experience.

    Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. - Einstein

    by moose67 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 11:26:24 AM PST

  •  Nice! Your final line breaks me up (8+ / 0-)

    And if you hadn't gone? How can someone seek for something they don't know exists?

  •  I also was an exchange student (14+ / 0-)

    I went from a small town in middle Wisconsin to Medellin Colombia, a metropolis of millions. I was placed with a family who had sent a son of theirs through the same program, so they had to accept one in return. They were among the elite, but I didn't fit in at all. My "brother" in the family would mock me in front of his friends. The family would go to the country club, the equestrian shows (they had a horse) but I never felt a part of this higher class living and would rather jump on one of those ratty/colorful South American buses and go into the heart of town for hours. Or ride the bus up into the mountains above the city (where I would have to pass through MP road blocks with my collections of fungi from the local cow pies tucked away for later) I was given a job in a small pizza place by the owner who had lived in New York and spoke English. I had to get a job: my dad was sending me only $30.00 a month to live on. I was lucky to make it back to the US; shortly after I left the kidnappings and murders went on the rise in Colombia (1980). When I returned to my high school no one asked me a damn thing about "Credits" I may have earned in my Colombian High Schools (i went to two different ones, long story). After 9 months abroad I came home with no paperwork from the schools I (partially) attended. So I dropped out of high school when Jimmy Carter opened the border to a lot of Cubans. The relocation camps needed interpreters and I actually became a temporary Deputy US Marshall so I could wear full flak outfits to work when I was assigned to the high security brig. Cubans speak the worst Spanish of all they say while the area of Colombia I was in spoke very Castilian  (The King's Spanish). In the end I went from honor roll student to drop-out (my home life in WI was just as weird, involving a new step-mother & I was "in the way"). Aside from not graduating over a paperwork snafu, I just couldn't focus back down to a town of 6,000 in Cornfield WI when I just left a sprawling city of many millions where I was a lot more emancipated than back in WI under my old man's roof. It still puzzles me to this day how I could have been sent off for a 9 month stint having no notion of what I needed to come back home with to properly graduate. I spoke pretty good Spanish though, after that immersion! I was 17 and on my own in a foreign country, far far away from my own messed up home life. I loved it! Coming home was a real let down though.

    -8.25, -7.13 "Well, on second thought, let's not go to Camelot -- it is a silly place." "Right"

    by leathersmith on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 02:13:44 PM PST

    •  Medellin is wonderful. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mayfly, otto, Tennessee Dave, ladybug53, ER Doc

      Sorry you didn't get a typically warm Paisa family. They're the friendliest folks in Latin America, the only place where everyone would ask me if I'd made myself at home there. That and "bién pueda!"

      •  Folks would tell me I spoke like a paisano (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anana, otto, ladybug53, marleycat, lotlizard

        After living with the first family got too weird (I'm talking a serious lack of privacy) I moved in with the family of one of the waiters at the pizza place I worked at (Pizza Piccolo). Juan, the son of the elitist family, was only smart enough to attend a real trashy high school while Agustine, my waiter fired attended a very large Catholic HS which was a real experience for me as an would-be Lutheran. I found the class level taught in Colombia was a full year ahead of my HS in WI. So I went from learn Trig in English to trying to grok Calculus in Espanol. I would show up for all my classes but when it got over my head I'd duck out and head to the cafeteria and drink Tinto and smoke American cigarettes.

        My first family, the wealthy ones, had a hot water heater. The second family, much more a working class family, only had a tank on the roof for hot water.

        I wanted to add I also play bass and I took my Fender Musicman with me to South America. Bringing that back in through Customs was dicey - they thought it "felt a little heavy"

        it was a solid body guitar, of course it was heavy! They did not take it apart thought. All the while I had 3 pens in my shirt pocket, hollowed out and stuffed with crappy Colombian brown ditchweed, just for the exercise. I actually stumbled across the vaunted Colombian Gold while I was there, but it was still low strength compared to today's finest. It was pretty though!

        Once in a while I will google images of Medellin, to see how its grown. The barrio I started in, El Poblado, was right next to Pablo Escobar's neighborhood, Envigado.

        -8.25, -7.13 "Well, on second thought, let's not go to Camelot -- it is a silly place." "Right"

        by leathersmith on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 04:04:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You were there in more innocent times (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lotlizard

          Those were the days. I'm glad not to have illicit interests because they like to treat me like an 80's coke moll on any return to the States ---the shredding of my suitcase, the escort to a back room at an airport... But, even more, seeing the effects of narco violence, you don't want to participate in that. A paisa friend sent me this sad story about Medellín---in Spanish--- today from El Pais:

          http://internacional.elpais.com/...

          5 years ago, it was pretty tranquil (another favorite Paisa word) ---a Renaissance even--- but, damn, it is getting rough again.

          It struck me oddly that they have this system in Colombia of "stratus," rated from 1-6 according to poverty or wealth. Everyone says quite openly what they are. Sounds like you moved from a 5 to a 2 or 3, much more fun that way, no? They do still have stunning educational level

          •  The differences in classes were very obviouos (0+ / 0-)

            pics I google of El Poblado today looks a lot more amazing than when I was there but even then the stratification of classes was very pronounced just going to the next neighborhood over, Envigado. The people I associated with at first were very proper, to the point of being obnoxious snoots. And their homes were grand. And everyone and their little sister smoked American Cigarettes sold on street corners by 5 year old shoeless waifs. I didn't enjoy the first family at all, especially after they all ditched me at the house to take a weekend of their own at a snooty equestrian event in Cali. I had to ask the maids what happened to the family? The first family's business was going around to other people's homes and collecting children's garments (for girls mainly). The second family had a bunch of sewing machines and things in their garage, so I suppose they sold their work to someone like my first family. I also really enjoyed my part-time job at Pizza Piccolo, and the folks I worked with. Very nice people. Everyone was "tranquilo".

            Right about the time I prepared to leave more stories were going around about assassins on motorcycles. And the over-sized SUV's with dark tinted windows were all drug lords. Everyone else drove teeny little Renault's with the stick shift coming straight out of the dashboard.

            -8.25, -7.13 "Well, on second thought, let's not go to Camelot -- it is a silly place." "Right"

            by leathersmith on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 02:57:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting story & I checked out your web page (6+ / 0-)

      Sounds like an interesting place. Hope you find some apprentices

       Working Artists

    •  This is a great story (5+ / 0-)

      Thanks.

      Streichholzschächtelchen

      by otto on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:10:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've lost much of my Spanish over the years. It (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, ladybug53, ER Doc

    was Mexican Spanish, which is  musical, to my mind. One sort of sings it.  Recently I was in a Cuban fast-food place and gave the order in Spanish.  I had to repeat in English. Cuban Spanish sounds to me very staccato.  

    Fiscal conservative: a Republican ready to spend $5 to save a dime--especially if that dime is helping a non-donor.

    by Mayfly on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 03:17:34 PM PST

    •  I'm fascinated by accents (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      foresterbob, FarWestGirl, fritzrth, ER Doc

      I knew a woman once whose parents were from China, but she grew up in Panama, so she spoke Spanish fluently with a sort of Colombian/Panamanian accent. She told me that she would surprise a lot of Mexican-Americans by not only speaking fluent Spanish (because she was ethnically Chinese) but with a Panamanian accent.

      I also had a friend who was Peruvian. We had several fascinating discussions about the difference between different Spanish accents.

      “If you misspell some words, it’s not plagiarism.” – Some Writer

      by Dbug on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:45:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As someone who grew up hearing German (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, ladybug53, ER Doc, lotlizard, foresterbob

    and -- sort of -- speaks it now (VERY poorly) I quite enjoyed reading this diary! Vielen Dank for sharing your story! :)

    "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell) Join the Forward on Climate Rally on February 17!

    by Eowyn9 on Sun Feb 10, 2013 at 08:03:50 PM PST

  •  I went to Germany as an exchange student (7+ / 0-)

    for seven months when I was 16 as well. This was in 1972 and we were still in Viet Nam with Nixon in the White House. I had to deal with a lot of anti-Americanism but, like you,  it was a life-changing experience. I only wish that I had lived with a family instead of in a dorm at a boarding school in Altensteig (Black Forest region). The Schwabisch spoken by the locals always sounded like German with a Cockney accent.

    A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. - Greek proverb

    by marleycat on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 06:09:32 AM PST

    •  Cool (6+ / 0-)

      I agree about living with a family.  It was a much more harmonious environment.  

      The regionalism of German is so interesting.  

      I was at a party in Köln one time in 95.  We were all just having a nice time, and then this one guy spoke up.  As soon as he spoke, many of the people turned to him and just said, "Schwabe!"

      I suppose we might notice something like that here, but I don't think we'd really just yell it out at a party.

      Streichholzschächtelchen

      by otto on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:09:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent story! (6+ / 0-)

        I went to The Netherlands for the summer between junior & senior years of high school. I had two years of high school French, but no Dutch except what I'd heard my mothe speaking to her parents, (my grandparents were immigrants as late teens; Mom was fluent, but didn't teach her kids.)
         I stayed with a middle-class family. My "brother" was planning to spend the next school year in the US and wanted to tune up his English. The father spoke English fairly well; the mother's English was limited when I arrived, but was much better after dealing with me for 10 weeks. I didn't learn any Dutch, (would have been smarter to go to France,) but learned a lot about my ancestral homeland (Dutch on Dad's side, too.) I was a terrible guest in retrospect, & I'm sure they would have rather had someone else, but I learned a bunch. I pushed my three kids to do something similar, either high school or college, & all three have traveled more than I have. It was a worthwhile experience.

    -7.25, -6.26

    We are men of action; lies do not become us.

    by ER Doc on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:10:11 AM PST

    •  Isn't everyone in the Netherlands "middle class?" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc, foresterbob, FarWestGirl

      At least that is how they narrativise it :-)

      If you want to learn Dutch, you have to go to Flanders and learn Flemish. Of course your accent will be rustic, but language is so political in Belgium you won't find all that many English speakers outside of the major cities.

      I lived in Maastricht for 1 year in the early 90s. I took a college Dutch class, and only used it during visits to northern Belgium.

      •  English fluency is a little age-dependent & class- (4+ / 0-)

        dependent. Some of the older folks didn't learn English well. My "parents" were kids during WW II and she learned her English talking to GIs. Now, anyone graduating from Dutch gymnasium is competent if not fluent in at least four languages. It always used to be Dutch, English, German, & French, in that order of fluency. Now, the Asian languages are common, too. But the kids who go to the trade schools don't get nearly as much formal language training, so if you're living in the Netherlands, it might be hard to communicate with your plumber or car mechanic without Dutch. Flemish will work. :-)

        -7.25, -6.26

        We are men of action; lies do not become us.

        by ER Doc on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:46:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Really enjoyed your diary! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, FarWestGirl, fritzrth, ER Doc

    It gave you a good model of a warm, functioning family, not the expected benefit but a great one.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 11:20:43 AM PST

  •  I too was an exchange student, (8+ / 0-)

    except in a mid-sized town in Bolivia, Oruro.  I was only 17 when I went, but what changed me was the absolute poverty that I witnessed.  I'd never seen anything like it.  I also came from a small, white, rural, northern michigan town, and had never witnessed the absolute discrimination and classism that existed between the "upper" classes and the "campesinos".  Those people never stood a chance.  I couldn't believe the way the family I lived with (the first one in particular) who were fairly upper class, referred to the maids, anyone with darker skin.  they had no educational opportunities, were paid very little, etc.  A real eye opener for me.

  •  We are Host Parents - We Luv it (9+ / 0-)

    Fom the 'other side' - We have hosted full year high school students 3 times now, 2 Girls from Germany and 1 from South Ameirca.  We have no kids of our own...it has been the most rewarding experience of our lives. And we know have made a real difference in all our host daughter's lives.

    My wife & I have grown so much as people through the experiences - it is not easy, but well worth every tear, every hug, every mis-communication, every reconciliation, every tense silence over the dinner table, and every ray of sunshine that true understanding brings.

    We love our host daughters unconditionally, as they love us; the girls have given to us as much or more then they have gained themselves.  They truly have 2 families now - their natural one, and ours.

    We are now in the process of picking another girl  to host this coming school year - and the excitement and wonder has not lessened one bit.

    • "But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing." -Thomas Paine
    • "The trust of the innocent is the liar's most useful tool." Stephen King
    • I am the 99%

    by Tommymac on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 07:47:06 PM PST

  •  I spent a summer in a cultural exchange (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, Amber6541, fritzrth, ER Doc

    program in Japan, touring around the big island, Honshu. It was sponsored by the Rotary club, and we mostly stayed with host families as we traveled. Absolutely the best thing for kid to do, go out and see what the rest of the world is like.

    Thanks for sharing your experience, glad you had the chance to go.

    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
    ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

    by FarWestGirl on Mon Feb 11, 2013 at 09:29:44 PM PST

  •  My daughter's on exchange (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, fritzrth, Amber6541, ER Doc

    in Udine, Italy right now.

    The family seems like a really good fit for her, and they're being very generous with their time.

    Yesterday:  Venice in the snow!

    ‘‘For Barack, success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the differences you make in people’s lives.’’ ~ Michelle Obama, DNC, 4 Sep 2012

    by harchickgirl1 on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 02:21:04 AM PST

    •  Udine's not the prettiest Italian town (0+ / 0-)

      I can think of, but people there are absolutely the best.  Your daughter must be delighted to be there.  She'll certainly be well looked after, of that I have no doubt.  

      -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

      by GulfExpat on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 10:14:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ahh...she will be eating very well (0+ / 0-)

        especially...envy her
        all my travels around Europe when I was in college (on exchange in UK)...the people of Italy were by far the warmenst and nicest to me...and the food even to a poor student was the best

        •  How true, how true! (0+ / 0-)

          I remember a girl friend and I were hitching to Venice and were picked up just outside Verona.  It was a young guy from Bologna, whose father, it turned out, owned a small hotel.  He insisted on taking us home with him, and his dad rented us a room for maybe 30% of the actual rate.  The next day, a Sunday, we were taken to mass at the cathedral by the young guy and his sister, who introduced us to friends of his.  We arrived at church a half hour late, left at least a half hour early, then went to a cafe for Camparis, before heading back to the hotel where his mother invited us both to lunch with the family in their private dining room.  The food was to die for!  It was my first experience with saltimbocca alla romana and it was love at first bite!  

          -7.13 / -6.97 "The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." -- Edmund Burke

          by GulfExpat on Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 10:51:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Really enjoyed this diary, Otto! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, fritzrth

    Thank you for telling us your story.  I'm so glad you had the experience of living in a real family. The experience in Germany really was life-changing for you.

    I've lived in other countries, but not as an exchange student.  I think exchange students experience life in a  culture that's not possible any other way.

    I hope you can somehow continue to speak German.  I think there's a way to listen to German radio broadcasts on line, but I'm not sure how you access it.  Anyway, all the best!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 05:01:25 AM PST

  •  Vielen Dank, Otto (0+ / 0-)

    Es gab keinen Austauschprogramme als ich Deutsch studierte, und ich hab' nie die Gelegenheit gehabt in Deutschland zu leben. Bin doch eifersuchtig. B-)

    Ich hoffe aber dieses Jahr nach Deutschland zu reisen um ein Paar Monaten zu verbringen und an der Goethe Institut zu lernen. Danke sehr fuer die Geschichte.

    Auch, wieso Streichholzschaecthelchen?

    When one tries wrapping reality around one's beliefs instead of one's beliefs around reality, anything can be said and all meaning is lost. -- Ellis Barton at JoeMyGod

    by fritzrth on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 06:45:22 AM PST

    •  Sorry for the numerous typos! n/t (0+ / 0-)

      When one tries wrapping reality around one's beliefs instead of one's beliefs around reality, anything can be said and all meaning is lost. -- Ellis Barton at JoeMyGod

      by fritzrth on Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 07:02:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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