Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The End of the Trip

The final few days in Germany seem like a blur.  I spent a lot of time with my host family and the pace was much more relaxed.  On Sunday morning I ate breakfast with the host family and gave them my gifts.  They really liked the Big Red stuffed doll.  We left around 3:30 to visit castle Nordkirchen.  The building is now used a school, but it looked really impressive from the inside.  They had an English tour scheduled for us which was really nice.  The highlight of the tour was the chapel because all of the other rooms had no furniture.  The tour was mostly descriptions of the paintings on the walls.  It definitely was not as impressive as Neuschwanstein, but the tour was more informative.  Sunday evening was the barbecue with the other host families.  I got to meet the people other student teachers were living with.  We also ate some really good food.  The weather was so cold, however, we had to stay inside.
The next week we were back at Anne Frank instead of the elementary school.  I did not have to be at class until 11:40, so I spent the morning working on job applications.  I was actually very productive.  My host grandmother who speaks no English took me, Kayla, and Jennay to Werne because buses don't run that late.  I did not have to teach today and we were finished after one class.  A group of us were going to go shopping in Dortmund, but Kayla and I decided to tour around Herbern a bit.  I had not really had the chance to see the town - I was always on a bus.  I liked walking through the streets and going into the stores.  It is a really small town surrounded by farmland.  I also spent some time with Kayla's family that afternoon playing piano and dancing with the Wii.  That night I introduced my family to Skyline Chili.  We had coneys.  Since they did not have any shredded cheddar cheese, we had to put gouda cheese on top, but it still turned out okay.  My host family liked them.
On Tuesday I was able to teach more.  I really like doing group work with the students.  We would help them correct English papers or write a new English text.  We also led short activities in their English books.  After school I went with Kayla and Chris to Dortmund.  It is not really a tourist town but it does have a lot of stores.  The biggest things we saw were a super cool humongous teeter-totter and the town's soccer stadium.  We spent a lot of time browsing the stores and finding last minute souvenirs.  I intended to use the last day of my 5-day rail pass on this trip, but we went the whole day without getting ticket-checked.  Upon return home that night I went on a walk with Ursula, Esther, and the family dog Dublin.  The farmland area is really pretty.
Most of Wednesday at school was spent finishing our video project.  We were asked to make a video to be shown at WKU as promotion, so we were busy adding pictures and music.  Lauren, Kelli, Kayla, and I were the only student teachers to stay for lunch.  We had a farewell from the teachers in the morning and then everyone was allowed to leave.  After lunch we walked to downtown Werne and got our last look at all of the German supermarkets and stores.  I spent the rest of the evening playing games and watching movies with my host family.  I will miss them.  I was packing until 11 and we left for the airport at 3 in the morning.
The journey home took much longer than expected.  We were already dreading the long layovers and our last flight was cancelled making the journey even more exhausting.  Sleeping in an airport is not fun.  The trip was all worth it, however.  I have seen a lot, taught a lot, and learned a lot as a result of this trip.  I hope my experience can inspire others to go abroad.

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