Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Day 25: May 15th, 2014

Travel day! We had to get up at 2:45 to drive to Munster to catch our first flight. It was going to be a long day. Our first flight didn't leave until 6am. It was a 30 minute flight to Frankfort where we had a 7 hour layover. Our flight out of Frankfort to New York left around 1pm. So, we spent the time sleeping and just hanging out. We had to change gates once before we got on our international flight. The 8 hour flight wasn't bad. I spent the time watching movies and sleeping. A lot of time was spent doing nothing. I was so happy when we touched down in America!

Then the craziness began. We had to wait an hour in line in passport control. While standing in line we found out our flight to Nashville was canceled. So we started freaking out. After getting through passport control we figured out what we were going to do. We ended up booking a flight to Louisville the next morning. We spent the night at the airport which was a new experience for me. It was tough sleeping in chairs and on the floor but we all survived. I was glad when we finally got on the plane to Louisville. When we landed in Kentucky I was so happy to be home!

Germany was a great experience and I will never forget everything I saw and did. The student teaching was fun and learned a lot about the German school system, which will be beneficial when I start teaching in America. 

Day 24: May 14th, 2014

Last day in Germany! Today we had one class in the morning. We spent the period reviewing stories students had written about a group of pictures. I helped them correct their grammar and sentence structure. After class, the principal gave a farewell speech to us. We spent the next couple hours trying to complete the video over our trip in Germany. We stayed until lunch. After lunch, Kelli, Lauren, Emily, and I walked to Werne. Emily and I wanted to walk around the town one last time. We stopped in a couple of stores. We took the bus back to Herbern around 4:30.

For dinner that night we made homemade pizza. Peter showed me how their pizza dough machine worked. We spent some quality family time making pizza and preparing dinner. After dinner, we got a family picture. I brought down my gifts I bought for the family in America. They just loved the gifts I got for them. I spent some time showing them the picture book I brought about the Bluegrass. It was a great last night. I spent the rest of the night sadly packing up my belongings.

Day 23: May 13th, 2014

Today's class schedule was a little bit busier than yesterdays. We had five class periods today. Heike threw us into her classes and let us teach parts of her lessons. I had a fun time working with the 5th, 7th, and 8th graders. The 5th graders were reading a story and they had to write sentences describing people from the story. In the 7th grade class we split up into groups and helped students write a paragraph summarizing information they had learned from a tape recording. Before lunch, we had an 8th grade group. We broke up into groups again. I had the group that was writing about school systems. They had done some researching about different parts of the American school system. So, in class we spent the time writing and discussing school systems.

After school Chris, Emily and I went to Dortmund. We saw the soccer stadium and did some shopping. I had a great time with them and glad I got to see another soccer stadium.

Day 22: May 12th, 2014

Three days left! This week we are at the Anne Frank for student teaching. I didn't have to go in for class until around 11. I only had one class today. So it was a pretty easy day. We had an 8th grade class today. We watched and observed Kelli teach since she had been working with those students last week. After class, Emily and I caught the bus back to Herbern. At my family's house we had lunch. Afterwards we played Just Dance and then walked around Herbern for an hour. It was a nice relaxing day!

Day 21: May 11th, 2014

Today was not only Sunday, but Mother's day and Franzi's birthday. Sunday most Germans take it easy and relax. The family slept in and didn't get up until around 9. I got up early and got ready for the day. I went down stairs early and sat with Lea who was already up as well. Once the family was up, Franzi opened her gifts and we ate breakfast. We had a big family meal together around 2. Franzi, Lea, Annika, and I played Just Dance after lunch. It was fun.

Later we went to the Nordkirchen Castle. We meet Emily, her host mom, Jennay, Bea, and their host mom. As a group we got a tour of the castle. Afterwards, my family plus Emily walked around the place. It was very beautiful.

We went straight from there to a dinner party that Stephanie and Ashely's host family was having. This was our big end of the trip get together for all the student teachers and our host family's. We spent a couple hours there conversing with people. Then we went home for the night.

Day 20: May 10th, 2014

It is my last weekend here in Germany! It is crazy to think that the trip is almost over. Today was spent doing a student teaching workshop. At 9 in the morning we meet at the Anne Frank. During the morning session we learned about the university program to become a teacher and discussed how the two were different and similar. For lunch we went to the famous pizza restaurant in Werne. It was delicious! In the afternoon session, a lady came and taught up some games we could play with students to help them learn content. It was very fun and helpful. The last part of the workshop was spent meeting a parliament member who lived in Hamm.

I spent the evening with my host family. I went to the grocery store and we rented a movie. That night, Franzi and I watched a movie in her room. It was a nice, relaxing night!

Day 19: May 9th, 2014

Today was my last day teaching at the elementary school with Emily and Jennay! We had six periods today; a full schedule! With the 3rd and 4th grade students we had them make Mother's Day cards in English. They had a lot of fun with this project. We gave them construction paper to make flowers and an already cut out flower pot to paste on the front of their card. We had a 2nd grade class we taught " Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" to for the last time. During the first break, we went outside and played soccer with the students. This 4th grade class had been asking all week if we could play soccer with them, so we did. I was sad because I didn't get to play with Lea as well because they are not allowed to mix with other classes.

I forgot to mention but during the first period we had a little girl at the end of class asked one of us to draw a picture of the statue of liberty. I volunteered to do it because I knew I could draw her. So, I spent the next couple periods drawing and coloring the Statue of Liberty. Near the end of the day I went to her classroom and gave her the picture. She was so happy. Her joy of receiving that picture made my day. Those are the moments that make teaching worth it! I knew in that moment I had made a lasting impact on that child just by giving her that picture.

After the last period we said our goodbyes and thanked the teachers for letting us teach at the school. Emily's host mom was there to pick us up because we had to rush off to the train station in Hamm to catch a 2 o'clock train to Koln. We meet Bea and Franzi at the train station. They got a ride from my host mom. The five of us were going to Koln for the afternoon/evening. When we got to Koln we meet a nephew of Emily's host mom and his friend. They were nice enough to show us around the city. They took us to the cathedral and we walked around the historic part of the city. We got to climb up one of the cathedrals towers to the very top. It was an amazing view. From above we were able to see most of the city. On the way down I counted all the steps. There were suppose to be 509 steps. I counted 510, so I felt very proud of myself for almost counting the exact number of steps! I learned much about some of the history and traditions of Koln.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Day 18: May 8th, 2014

Today was our fourth day at the elementary school. We only had three periods today, but all student teachers had a full schedule planned in the afternoon. In school we taught a lesson on families, "head, shoulders, knees, and toes", and the American flag. We saw each class twice and the 4th graders we would see 3 times. Once again it was fun! We planned our Mother's Day craft we were going to have the students do tomorrow for Mother's Day on Sunday.

This afternoon, we meet with the Mayor of Werne and talked to him about our stay in Germany and Werne. Then we went to visit the apple tree that was planted by the first student teaching group a year and half ago. We are the third group to come to Germany! It was cool to be a part of the tradition. Then we went to dinner and had a good time.

Day 17: May 7th, 2014

Today we taught some new lessons to our classes. For our 4th graders we learned about family members and how to introduce your family and talk about them in English. We had the students draw a picture of their family. We broke into small groups and had them talk about their family to the people in their group. For the younger grades, 1st and 2nd, we did a lesson on body parts. We used the song, "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" to learn different parts of the body. First we broke into groups and taught the children the English words. Then we came together as a group and taught them the song. They caught on quick. They did very well. A lady for the Herbern newspaper came and interviewed Heike and then took pictures of us teaching our body parts lesson.

In the afternoon we went to an elementary school in Werne called Wiehagenschule macht SpaB. There we participated in a program called "English is Fun". With Heike we played fun games to help the students practice using their English. We played several new games that I had never played before and then talked about family. The students enjoyed what we did and were very happy. I had a lot of fun interacting with them they were a great group.

In the evening I went swimming with Franzi at the public pool in Herbern. In Germany they call it rescue swimming. We just did laps in the pool. It was very laid back and easy. I enjoyed swimming, it had been awhile since I had been able to swim.

Day 16: May 6th, 2014

We taught about the American Flag today to all of our classes. We thought it was a good introductory lesson since we were from America. We wanted to tell them a little bit about where we come from. What I enjoyed most is that during the first break we went outside and played soccer with one of the 4th grade classes. They were so excited about us playing with them. I didn't know I was going to be playing, so I had on my boots today. They turned out to work just fine! The students were already asking us to play again tomorrow.

We ate lunch again at my house. Then we went into Werne where we were meeting Jennay's host mom. She was taking us to Bochum were a coal museum was. In the 1960s most of the coal mines were shut down. Only a few of them remain open. To recognize and remember those people who worked in the coal mines a museum was built that showed the developmental history of coal and recreated a coal mine to show what it would have been like to be down in the mines. It was all very interesting, but everything was in German. It was difficult to understand all of it. Jennay's host mom tried her best to translate what the tour guide was saying.

Day 15: May 5th, 2014

This week we get to teach at the local elementary school in Herbern! I have been looking forward to this!I want to experience teaching elementary school students in Germany. We were at a school called Marienschule Herbern. There are many things that are different from the elementary schools in the United States.

1. Shorter days; the students get out at 1:15 or earlier each day
2. They don't have the same class everyday
3. They get long breaks after two classes. The first break is 30 minutes and the next one is 25 minutes.
4. The students start learning English in the 1st grade; only speaking in 1st and 2nd and then writing in 3rd and 4th grade.

We taught two lessons today, both over the American Flag or Americkanische Flagge in German! The students really enjoyed the class. It was difficult trying to explain what we were saying. We quickly picked up on using signals to demonstrate what we were wanting the students to do.

After school Emily, Jennay, and I went back to my house for lunch. There we planned all of our lessons for the week. Later that evening I road around with Franzi on bikes to go watch Lea's soccer practice and go to the supermarket to pick up some items. It was nice riding around Herbern on a bike. I felt like a real German!

Day 14: May 4th, 2014

Our last day in Munich and Bavaria! It has been a great weekend!

Today we had one thing planned before leaving for Werne. We were going to visit the Dachau Concentration Camp memorial. This was new experience for me because I had never been to a concentration camp before. After the tour, it was hard for me to fully grasp and understand what I was felling. It was hard for me to believe I was in an area where so much pain and suffering took place. The most disturbing part of it all was walking through the crematory. To think this is where many innocent people died was very saddening. The day we were at the camp, they were having an annual ceremony to commemorate those lost in the camps. A very old man gave a speech. Later we learned he had been in four concentration camps, one of them being Dachau, and he was the head of the committee.

The rest of the day was spent traveling back to Werne on the train! It was nice to be back in Werne with my host family!

Day 13: May 3rd, 2014

We spent all day in Munich! The weather wasn't the best. It rained most of the day, but we were still out and about walking around. This is what we did:

1. Deutches Museum: This a famous museum for science and engineering. It had many inventions and information about the history of certain topics, such as boats, aeronautics, cars, instruments, glass blowing, paper, printing, wood, toys, etc. There was so much it was impossible to see it all for the couple hours we were there.

2. Allianz Arena: This the soccer stadium in Munich were the Bayern Munchen soccer team plays their home games. It was huge. I wanted to go on a tour, but it was sold out. I settled for walking around the stadium and then going to the fan shop!

3. Downtown Munich: We spent the rest of the day walking around the downtown area of Munich. There were many people out walking around and shopping. We went into some of the souvenir shops and churches.

4. Dinner at the Heirschgarten: Good food!! 

Day 12: May 2nd, 2014

I still can't believe I am in Bavaria or Southern Germany, just a couple days ago I was in Northern German. Now when I look out the window I see the Alps in the background. What a big change in scenery.
We spent the day walking around the Neuschwanstein castle and taking a tour of the inside of the castle. It was very interesting! We were only able to see 4 of the rooms because much of the castle was not completed after King Ludwig II died. His death is mystery; no one knows what happened. He was found in the river, so he either killed himself or someone killed him!

We took the train to Munich around 4 and arrived around 6. We found the hostel we were staying in and got settled. This is the first time I will be staying in a hostel. It is different from a hotel. When we first check in we have to pay and we have to grab our sheets to make our bed. That evening we went to the Hofbrauhaus which is the biggest beer tavern in the world. It was a great atmosphere and the food was good!

Day 11: May 1st, 2014

May 1st! This is an important day in Germany. Today is recognized as a day of rest for many workers. Many of the shops, stores, and restaurants are closed on this day.

Reiner was the name of the friend who let us stay at his house. I forgot to mention that in my last blog post. When we woke, up he had breakfast prepared for us. The usual meat, bread, and jelly. I can finally announce I had my first cup of coffee. I do not drink coffee, but Reiner poured me a glass and I did not want to be rude and not drink it. So, I added a bit of milk and drank it. It was not bad, but I still do not like it!

He offered to take us around Kempten for an our in the morning before we caught the train to Fussen. We spent an hour downtown Kempten looking at the old, historical buildings. There were not many people in the streets because of May day. It was very quiet and peaceful. We learned that Kempten is the oldest German town.

After walking around town, Reiner graciously offered to drive us to Fussen. It was a short 30 minute drive compared to the 1:20 ride on the train. We agreed and hopped on the autobahn! Reiner went 205 kmph which is really fast in mph! It was fun!

In Fussen, Reiner ended up staying with us most of the day and showed us around Fussen. We wanted to go hiking in the Alps and near Neuschwanstein castle. He showed us a trail that took us up the back side of the castle and gave us a great view of the town and landscape! I love going hiking and taking pictures of nature. This was my favorite part of the trip so far. Everything was so beautiful and amazing! We hiked for about 3 hours. We told him we really wanted to go to Austria, so Reiner once again offered to drive us across the boarder. In a matter of minutes we were in Austria!! We drove to this small restaurant by a lake in the Alps. It was a great sight to see. We ate inside with the Alps right outside our window. At the restaurant I finally tried Germany's version of macaroni and cheese. It was delicious!

For the next couple hours we drove around Austria and back into Germany. Reiner new the area fairly well. He took us to some smaller towns and a beautiful Catholic church in the area.

Around 7 we made it back to Fussen where Reiner left to go back to Kempten. We were very grateful for him showing us around the area. Without him we wouldn't have been able to see half of the things we got to see that day. It was a great day in Bavaria!

Day 10: April 30th, 2014

We leave for Bavaria today! First, I had one class in the morning with Heike. All six of the elementary teachers were in the class. The three of us who were with Heike yesterday had the opportunity to observe the other elementary teachers in action! For the rest of the morning Emily and I waited at the school and walked around Werne some. We found an ALDI near the school and looked around. I learned that ALDI was founded in Germany by brothers. We ate lunch at the school and then waited some more for our train.

Our train was leaving from Werne at 4:15. I was glad when the train finally came! We had about a 7 hour train ride to Kempten and we had to change trains a couple of times. Our train was delayed on the way to Ulm, so we got into Kempten later than we wanted  because we had to wait for the next train.

A friend of Emily's host mom graciously offered his home for us to spend the night in Kempten. He was there to pick us up at the train station around 11:30pm! He was very nice man for staying out that late and helping us. One thing that holds true is that German people are nice and willing to help people.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day 9: April 29th, 2014

Today we were given the chance to teach for the first time in Germany. Three of us, Jennay, Emily, and I were assigned to Heike's classes. So, we observed and taught in her English classes. The reason we are with her is because next week, we will be at the elementary school in Herbern. We had five periods today. Fifth grade was in the morning for two periods. Then seventh grade for two periods, and eighth grade for one period. We did some spontaneous teaching today. During seventh grade, Heike threw me in and had me review with them some grammar sentences with past present tense. It had been a long time since I had learned this grammar, so it was very confusing at first. Plus, the students learn British English and not American English. There is a difference! I did well with it and was glad.In the eighth grade class the three of us talked about small town life in America and helped the students come up with pros and cons to living in a small town.

One thing I like about German schools is that they allow many breaks. After every two periods, the students are given a break. The times very from 25, 20, to 15. The students are allowed to go outside, eat a snack, or use the bathroom. This allows the students to take what we would call in America a "brain break". We need more of those in American schools.

After school Emily and I went with her host mom to Munster to get the German Rail Passes stamped for tomorrows train ride down to Munich. It was a short drive on the autobahn to Munster. That was my first time driving on the autobahn and it was really fun and we went fast! While we were in Munster we walked around and saw some of the churches and castles. While visiting the castle, which is part of the university,  there was a small soccer game being played on the lawn out front. When leaving the castle the ball was kicked over our way. I trapped it and passed it back! I was so excited that was the first soccer ball I touched in Germany!!

We arrived home. I ate a quick bit for dinner and then headed up stairs to pack for the weekends trip to Fussen and Munich!

Day 8: April 28th, 2014

Today was the first day of student teaching! I woke up and got ready for the day. I went down to breakfast and ate with my host family. For breakfast in Germany they eat granola or cereal with yogurt or room temperature milk, toast or bread with jam or Nutella, and sometimes fruit.

To get to the Anne Frank Gymnasium we have to go to Werne. So, today Jennay's host mom drove us to school on her way to work. We did not have to start teaching today because the Dortmund News came to video tape us at school and in Werne. They wanted to put a segment in the nightly news about Americans coming to student teach in Germany. For most of the day we had people video taping us. For me that was the first time I have been video taped. It was a new experience and I enjoyed it.

We were free to go home after the news team left. A group of us decided to walk into Werne to see the center of town. We walked around for a little bit. We meet up with Jennay's host mom. She took us around to several churches in Werne and then drove us back to Herbern. I ended up coming with Emily to help her work on travel plans for our coming trip to Munich. Afterwards, Emily's host mom took us to see Westerwinkle castle which is a little outside of Herbern. It was a small, but pretty castle. The land around it wad very well kept and beautiful.

When I go home I ate dinner with my family. We talked for awhile about random topics. The dad has many questions for me and likes to practice his English on me. He is good! It was a very interesting first day in Werne, but I already love it!

Day 7: April 27th, 2014

Most of the day was spent traveling to Werne where we will be student teaching. We had to take an ICE train to Dortmund. From there we would take a smaller train to Werne.  The important thing to remember when riding trains anywhere is that they will leave you! It was a scary and exhilarating experience getting on the train. There were 11 of us who needed to get on with all of our luggage. So we had approximately 3 minutes to load all the luggage and get everyone on the train. They started to blow the whistle and we still had two people not on the train. We cut it close, but made it on!

As we approached Werne, I started to become nervous because I was about to meet my host family for the first time. I am very shy when I first meet people. When I got off of the train my host mom, dad, sister, and sister were there to pick me up. They were very welcoming. They leave outside of Werne in a town called Herbern, so we had about a 15 minute drive. On the drive they asked me many questions about my trip and where I come from. When we arrived at the house, they gave me a tour and showed me where I would be sleeping. That evening, we had a family dinner at the table and talked some more. This is a new experience for me (living with a host family), so it will take some getting used to. Tomorrow is our first day of teaching!

Day 6: April 26th, 2014

First day of the trip I got to sleep in. Emily and I decided not to go to the concentration camp outside of Berlin with the rest of the people. We stayed behind so we could see some more around Berlin. While the others were at the concentration camp, Emily and I decided to go back to the Tiergarten. We walked through the park and saw the Liberty Statue and Bellevue (Presidents House). Then we went to a small lake and rented a row boat for 30 minutes. That was my first time in a row boat. The technique to rowing was hard at first, but after 15 minutes I had a good grasp of it!

Later we meet the others back near the train station for Tiergarten. There we grabbed a bite to eat at a nice little restaurant near by. The restaurant was playing Micheal Jackson music; it was great! There was a flea market taking place across the street, so several of us went to look at all the items they had to offer.

In the evening we had a dinner party for our last night in Berlin. As a group we bought Dr. McGee a gift for graciously showing us around Berlin and making it a great experience. I am sad that we are leaving Berlin tomorrow, but ready for the next part of an already amazing trip!

Day 5: April 25th, 2014

Today we had a tour planned in the morning with a lady who lives in Berlin. Her name is Elaine, she is a friend of Dr. McGee. She showed us several different sights on the East side of Berlin.

List of sights:
1. Brandenburg Gate: It has become a great symbol of unification in Germany
2. Tiergarten: This garden is right out side of the Brandenburg Gate. The Gate used to be used as the main entrance into the city. The garden outside was the Kings hunting grounds. During WWII the garden or park was used to supply the people with fire wood and later used as a vegetable garden.
3. The Holocaust Memorial: This was a very interesting memorial. It was just a bunch of big stone rectangular prisms that you could walk in and out of, sort of like a maze. It is hard to describe the feelings I got as I walked through the memorial. At times I felt like I was experiencing what all the people in The Holocaust had experienced. It was dark, scary, and cold in the middle because the prisms were very tall. I felt trapped and alone.
4. Check Point Charlie: The famous spot where U.S. forces patrolled the boarder between the East and West Berlin
5. Famous Opera House
6. A memorial students had build outside of the university for the books that were burned by Nazi students.

After lunch we did a lot more sight seeing. We went to the East Side Gallery which was incredible. The paintings on the wall were outstanding. Each one had a story to tell. We went to an area that showed the land between the walls. It was very interesting to see the design. Lastly, we did some more shopping before heading back to the hotel for the evening.

Day 4: April 24th, 2014

Sorry for not keeping my blog updated. I have been very busy in Germany these past couple weeks. On April 24th, we had another busy schedule planned. After eating breakfast, the group took a train to a town outside of Berlin called Potsdam. In Potsdam we did a six hour bike tour of the town. A lady named Dorris was our guide for the day. We rode around the countryside and through down town Potsdam. This was an excellent way to see the whole town in one day. We calculated it we rode around on our bikes for 12 miles! During the tour she showed us famous palaces and castles, the house where the famous Potsdam conference was held, special landmarks related to when the Berlin Wall was standing. The town was very beautiful. I enjoyed riding through the town and seeing all the amazing things Potsdam had.

We returned our bikes back at the train station. A group of us decided to go back to Berlin. We were going to visit the East Side Gallery where part of the Berlin Wall was still standing, but we thought it was going to rain so decided to wait till another day. Instead, we visited the Berlin Dome and took the tram back to our hotel.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 3: April 23rd, 2014

Today I woke up early and tried to be productive. I went down and used the hotel computers to check emails and do my first blog post. We only have 30 minutes of free wifi at the hotel, so it will be hard to post a blog about every day. We had breakfast at the hotel. It is free to everyone staying at the hotel. It is similar to an English breakfast. They have assorted meats, cheese, and bread, along with fruit, vegetables, and granola. The breakfast was good.

We left the hotel around 10am and walked to the train station. Dr. McGee gave us our train passes for the five days we will be in Berlin. To activate the pass we had to stick the card in a machine that stamped the date on the card. This let the people checking tickets know how long the pass is good for.

We took the S-bahn to Haubanholf station. It is one of the major train stations in Berlin. Today we were going to visit the Reichstag, which is Germany's main government building. It would be like the United States White House. There were other government buildings around the Reichstag. We had time before our tour of the building, so Dr. McGee and Heike took us around to the back side of the building and showed us where the wall used to stand. Then we talked about how Germany and Berlin were divided into East and West sections. We talked about the land between the wall and what the Soviets put up to keep the people from escaping over to the West. It was very hard, dangerous, and scary times for Germany. The wall went right through the river that is located right near the Reichstang and Haubanholf. To prevent people from swimming across they put barbed wire at the bottom of the river. The wall fell in 1898. Today, West Germany is still helping East Germany recover.

Once we were in the Reichstag building we went to the top where the dome is located. This is an amazing structure. I could see much of the city from the top. The dome was made out of class, had a spiral staircase going all the way up, and a metal sheild that swung around to block the sun depending on the time of day. There was a draining system to allow the water that came in from the top to drain without getting everything wet at the bottom of the dome. We were up there for about 30 minutes. Then we had to go back down and meet with two members of the government who worked for a parliament member. They talked to us about how Germany's parliament system worked and what a week in Berlin was like for the members of parliament.

After leaving the Reichstag we went to eat lunch in one of the other government buildings. It started to rain so we made it there just in time. The dining hall was empty because it was past lunch time, so we had the whole place to ourselves.

We left the area and went to the Sony center and a shopping mall before dinner. We stayed there for an hour and walked around. There was a big Sony store, a LEGO planet, and other stores. The design of the plaza was interesting and cool. For dinner we went to Haucher Markt. We ate a nice restaurant. The food was good, although I ordered a salad because we ate lunch late and I wasn't very hungry. After dinner, Heike and Dr. McGee spend some time walking around the different courtyards that were located in the area. Emily and I decided to go with them and explore the courtyards. They were very fascinating because it was hard to believe that behind the buildings existed open areas and pathways. Afterwards we went back to the hotel for the night. Another amazing day in Berlin complete! 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Day 2: April 22nd, 2014

We finally made it to Berlin at 8am! Going through the passport inspection was different from other countries I have been. the officer onlz looked at my passport, stamped it, and gave it back. No questions were asked. This was a good thing, I guess!

Heike meet us at the airport with vans to take us to the hotel. It was about a 25 minute drive from the airport to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, we were given our rooms. I will be rooming with Emily here in Berlin. We were given time to go up and freshen up.

For the first day, we spent the day getting acquainted with the city. This was to keep us from going to sleep. We walked to the train station where there was an ATM. We took the time to take out money. We walked around the train station to see the shops that were there and where we would need to go to take the S-Bahn and U-Bahn.

We grabbed a bite to eat at a small sandwhich shop in the train station. The sandwhich I got was reallz good! I learned to say "das bitte" or "that please" to pick the sandwhich that I wanted.

From the train station we walked around the area and learned how to read a map of Berlin. The most memorable was this building called Kaufhaus des Westens. It was a huge department store with 7 levels. We spent about 30 minutes there walking around the 6th level. On this floor were a variety of foods from meat, cheese, wines, chocolate, dessert, fruits, veggies. etc. There were some foods you would find in America,  such as "Poptarts". The choclate flavored poptarts were called "Chocotastic". I thought that was so funny!

We walked around the streets for a couple of hours. I observed many things that were different than America. There was a lot of construction going on. The signs to walk across the street were interesting. There is a little green man with a hat and one arm sticking out, the other is a little red man with both arms stretched out making a "T". They are called "Ampelmann". These figures have become an icon and there are stores that sell items with these figures on them. The Ampelmann started in East Germany, but now is scattered throughout Berlin.

There was a church close by to our hotel, which we walked by. Right now it is under construction. It was bombed during WWII. They want to preserve what is left in memory of the war. It once was a very big and beautiful church. To continue holding services there a modern church was built right beside it. The building does not look like a church, instead it is a tall buildings with small square stain glass windows all the way around. It is in the shape of an octagon.

We were given time to go back to the hotel to take a nap. We got back around 2:30 and I feel asleep instantly and didn't wake-up until 4pm. I thought it was the next day when I woke up. I was so confused!

At 4:30 we left for dinner. On the way to dinner we stopped and activated the go phones that Heike provided for us to use while in Germany. We can use theses to call other people in the group or make international calls. We ate at a place called Zillemarkt. It was a nice resturant. I ordered schitzel, this was a popular dish in German. It is meat in a thin paddy and fried. It was good.

After dinner, we walked around to some different stores. We stopped to talk and exchange phone numbers. Then we went back to the hotel. It was a good first day! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Day 1: April 21st, 2014


We left for Germany on Monday and spent all day traveling. I left Bowling Green for the Nashville airport at 5:15. Check in went smoothly and we left Nashville for Newark at 9am. We arrived in Newark at 12pm and had a 5 hour lay over. The group spent the time walking around the airport, eating lunch, and relaxing. Finally we took off at 5:45 for Germany. The 8 hour flight wasn't bad and went by a lot faster than I thought it would. I spent the time trying to sleep and watching movies. My legs started to cramp half way through, but I servived. We landed in Germany at 8am on April 22nd. It is hard to believe I am in Germany right now and I am just trying to take it all in. More will becoming about the first couple days in Berlin!