Thursday, November 5, 2009

Familie Wochenende

[ Family Weekend ]

October has already come and gone [ as well as an almost nonexistent Halloween ], but for me it was a very hectic month with a lot of changes. Over the past weeks I left Saarbrücken, started University in Göttingen, had a few bumps in the road finalizing my permanent host family placement [ so I utilized that limbo time without a family before school started to go to Poland instead of staying in a hostel], and amongst all the rapid changes, moving, and dragging of suitcases the entire month, I now have myself a bed to call my own [ well almost ] at the Ratke-Sebode household.

Things have been busy and transitions are never easy, so over the past week and a half, the topic of introducing my living situation and family has been a little neglected; but I am quickly catching up with all the events. Thinking back to my previous experiences in Japan and Finland, I realized that with the small exception while in Finland, when I moved in with the Kiukkonen family for one week to experience the end of the FUSYE program in Helsinki, this has been the first time that I have really uprooted myself from one host family - in two months I became very close with the Weber family - and had to unpack and really integrate myself into a new family and community - all of course after almost an entire month of kind of feeling like a vagabond [ and starting University auf Deutsch as well!].

The Sebode family lives not too south from the Neues Rathaus, and the main part of campus is a little north from the center of downtown, so with a bike I am in a nice placement within Göttingen to get around.

Since I spent my weekdays being really busy still finalizing which curriculum I wanted to take, I really saw my new host parents only in the mornings and evenings - so with all of our busy schedules we set aside the weekend as a family weekend to really get to know each other, which I thought was a nice idea.

On Saturday as Inge prepared dinner, I went out and played a game of pool at a local sports bar with Andreas and we caught some of the soccer game which was very enjoyable. Back at the house, with some Jazz music in the background, we had a very fun, hands on dinner that was Swiss in origin and involved grilling meats, vegetables and a layer of cheese all together at the table - like a backwards fondue. Some photo albums were pulled out and I brought out my laptop and we shared some pictures together.

For the majority of this year, it will just be me with my two new host parents - They have a son who is my age, but he is actually in Japan for this half of the year, and around Christmas time will be home for just a few days since he will utilize the second part of his year to study in South America - an exciting year to experience two continents, which I think is great! They also have a daughter that is currently studying in Paris as an Erasmus student. So the house has the feel as if there are young adults around, but it is really just me for now. I sent Moritz an email online excitedly asking about Tokyo, and also a thank you for letting me use his room.

Inge and Andreas were both teachers in the past - Andreas in German and Inge in English, Latin and French - so I have a huge opportunity to really work and build up a better understanding and comprehension of German with them. Now Inge is actually also taking some courses for herself at the same University that I am, and Andreas has a very cool organic produce shop in the middle of town that I will be sure to visit more than a few times.

As with all introductions, getting to know each other starts slow, and has its bumps of cultural misunderstandings, but I think I can finally start to settle in and orientate myself with Göttingen as my new home. November is now here, and I don't know if I am more scared that I have 3/4 left of this year to experience, or more surprised that 1/4 is already done - it has been stressful and challenging, but I think these challenges can only be good for me - there is still a lot to experience and learn.

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