Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Life on a Farm

When I was placed with my host family,  I knew without a doubt that i was placed just right! I have been living on a farm with a cow (Rosie), sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs, cats and a dog! Here are a few pictures of what i get to see everyday while living in Germany! Jordan even tagged along one day!!

This is Tiger! She greets me every morning when i go down to wait to go to school!  

This little feller posed perfectly for a picture.. though I'm convinced he only wanted me to feed him a roll. 

The star of the show!! ROSIE! This is the first cow i have ever met with such a personality! So sweet! 
Paul with Fred... This is one of 5 Guinea pigs my host family has.

If anyone knows me, they know when it comes to baby anything.. my heart melts.. We welcomed not just these two babies to the family, but 6 more baby lambs!!! I could listen to their sweet noises and watch them all day! 

Our farm day ended with quite a view. The landscape of Germany has to be one of the most beautiful sights ever. Open sky for miles all around! As much as i say that i miss home, I know i will miss this view even more when my time here is over. 

I apologize for this being such a short blog. I have been busy planning and working on a leadership project for the group here in Werne! Until next time, Goodnight or Gute Nacht!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In Two Places at Once (Berlin, Germany)

When you think of the term “History”, your mind takes them back to something that happened hundreds of years ago. In all reality, history is a very present thing. I realized this during our weekend trip to Berlin.  Though I was very excited to be spending the weekend in a new city with all of my friends, in the back of my mind I was not emotionally prepared for some of the things I would see and experience.

Friday, November 21, 2014: We started our trip with a nice 5ish hour train ride from our small city of Werne to Berlin. I was surprised how extremely comfortable it is to ride in a train vs. a plane! We arrived in Berlin around 7:30 at night, checked into our hotel and then walked to dinner! At this point, I still didn’t set with me that I was actually in Berlin, Germany!!

At dinner, I got to experience my first and not last Schnitzel. I am nearly 100% positive God himself made this meal because it was beyond the point of delicious, it was heavenly!! Schnitzel is basically a fried piece of thin pork with yummy sauce on it! Jordan ordered the same thing! I wish someone had snapped a picture of our faces when they laid our plate in front of us. Y’all think American portions are large? This Schnitzel was larger than our faces! And they served it with a salad AND fries!  (I wish I had a picture to show you but my phone was dead) Needless to say the Schnitzel defeated both of us because there was no way in the world we were going to be able to finish! After dinner we went back to the hotel so we could get some rest before our tour of Berlin the next day!

Saturday, November 22, 2014:  Our day began by walking to the location our tour guide would meet us at. While walking, I remember seeing a church that the steeple looked like it needed repair. I asked Heike what exactly happened and she quickly responded that the damage was from WWII. This is when it all began! My emotions were about to take me for a ride… the WHOLE day! I wasn’t mentally and emotionally prepared for just how much the history of Berlin would affect me.  Below are a few pictures of the church!

After looking around the church we started to make our way to the Berlin Wall.  Traveling there would be my first experience on a subway! It was kind of neat, but still strange and I had a hard time holding on to the rail just thinking about the bazillion germs that made their home there! Silly I know, but really… think about it!! Ewww!

Our tour guide had prepared many bit of historical information to tell us during our tour. The fist place we stopped at the wall was a plaque that was on the ground representing where the wall once stood. Each one of us took a picture with one foot on the east side and one on the west. (Hints the name of the blog, In Two Places at Once) You can see my picture of this is the first picture posted in the Blog.
Walking down the monument trail to the actual piece of the Berlin Wall really touched me. It put into perspective the actual separation and the pain it caused.  Families were split apart. Siblings, Daughters, Sons! We stopped at one point to see where a tunnel that went under the wall was once located. This was the only way for people to cross from one side of the wall to the other without getting caught. Here are a few pictures to show just exactly what I am talking about.

I believe the hardest part of this tour was actually seeing the berlin wall for the first time.  As I stood beside it to get my oh so touristy picture, I just imagined how many hands have touched the spot I was standing… longing to get to the other side not so many years ago! Seeing the damage done around the city doesn’t amount to actually walking on the same land so many people died simply trying to get to their loved ones and out of the Hell the Russians were causing them.  This is when I had my little emotional break down. It wasn’t because I felt the need to cry to make myself feel better, but that I owed it to all the men and women and CHILDREN that died.  Below you can see a picture of me by the wall and a few more pictures of the monument area as well.

Our tour of the wall ended by visiting observation deck to view a portion of the wall I had no knowledge of. There were in fact two walls that separated the east and west. In the middle of these two walls were different things to prevent the people from successfully making it across. Christopher, who is a student teacher here in Germany, told me that they planted land mines and other contraptions to kill anyone who tried to cross. They also had guards on the clock 24/7 that also shot anyone who attempted to jump the wall. Viewing this was another moment that brought tears to my eyes. Humans can be so ridiculous in the course of history!!  Below are a few pictures showing what exactly I was talking about!)

After all the tears were dried-up, out tour continued to the Brandenburg Gate. This is a sight to see! so beautiful and so much history! Not to mention we took one heck of a group picture with this beautiful structure. 

After spending some time here looking around, we then walked to the Parliament building a few kilometers (I'm so European!) down the road. The flags were breathtaking! Another group photo just had to be taken here as well! Looking back through all the photos i have taken while in Berlin.. i realized have one heck of a group of friends!! 

Our saturday ended with a nice dinner and a relaxing evening. The next morning we woke up and visited a few more sites before getting back on a train for Werne. I am thankful I was able to experience Berlin and i can only hope that everything i got from this trip will help me when i teach my students about the Berlin Wall one day. I know this blog is SUPER long and took me far to long to post but here you go! Until next time, Goodnight or Gute Nacht!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A tour of Werne!

Today is Wednesday, November 19th so this blog will be a collaboration of the first few days this week! Yesterday we had the honor of sitting down with the mayor of Werne. He was a very nice man and extremely welcoming of the student teachers from Kentucky visiting his city! There reception that was held in his office in the city.  When we walked in we were greeted with a smiling handshake and Coca-Colas on the table! He asked us a lot of questions about our travels to Germany, what we hope to get out of our time here, and what we thought about his city. I speak for the whole group when I say we had a wonderful time and are thankful for the opportunity to be here! Three newspapers came to record information and take pictures during the reception. Here is the picture that was printed in the newspapers the next day.

After the mayors reception the group decided that we wanted to explore the city, and have lunch together! Our first stop was at the local grocery store. Some of the girls needed to purchase a few items they forgot; the only thing I was after was chocolate! Milka Chocolate!! If you haven’t experienced this yet, I encourage you to hunt some down and reward yourself with this heavenly deliciousness from God! I’m sure I will bring some home and if you’re lucky! (Good thing you don’t like sweets Brian, so I don’t have to share!! haha)

Once we were finished shopping a bit, we all met at a little pizzeria in the middle of the town. I found it very amusing that we were a bunch of Americans, in Germany, eating Italian food! This was the first experience I had out in public without a translator! The owners of the restaurant didn’t speak any English and the whole menu was in German! Needless to say the only way to communicate was to smile and point at what we wanted. (Even if we had no idea exactly what we were ordering) Even with all the hurdles, the group had a great time, ate well, and left extremely stuffed!!  (Best Pizza I’ve ever had!! Be jealous Brian!! )

Following our intake of enough carbs to last us a lifetime, we walked around the city some more! We found a lovely little chocolate shop that filled the air with yummy chocolaty goodness smells!! We didn’t stop to buy anything this time! Only because we were so stuffed from pizza!

One thing about this city that really amazed me is that, here it is the middle of November, and there are people selling fresh flowers on the street! I mean flowers that you see for sale in the SPRING in America. Being the sucker for fresh flowers that I am, I had to refrain from buying some to take home! So I took a picture instead!! My host mom said that these fresh flowers come from Holland where they are grown in huge greenhouses!

You can imagine just how amusing it was for the locals to see a bunch of American girls roaming their city! I am so thankful for the opportunity to be on this journey in Germany with some of my best friends! There is never a dull moment! There is something so rewarding about spending time with people who are just as passionate about teaching as I am! Tonight all the host families and student teachers are getting together to go bowling. This should be fun!! This weekend Heike takes us to Berlin! I’m sure I’ll have a few blogs up in between! Until then, Gute Naute or Goodnight!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Burg Altena and Nordkirchen Palace

My first weekend in Germany was absolutely wonderful. Sandra decided that we should go sight seeing and visit some local castles. On this trip, Marie and Paul went as well! The first castle we visited was about an hour away by car. This was the longest I have been in a car in nearly a week and with a heavy combination of Jet lag and exhaustion, I quickly fell asleep on our way! The first stop was Burg Altena!

Sandra informed me that there were two different types of castles. There were castles for Knights and castles for Kings and Queens. Burg Altena was a castle for Knights! While touring this beautiful place, there were many moments that took my breath away. It’s hard to believe that many many years ago, REAL Knights and their armies walked through the same doors that I was walking that moment. Such a precious time to soak in history that I will never forget!

The second castle we visited on Sunday! The name was the Nordkirchen Palace. This castle housed many Kings and queens. On the tour of this castle, Sandra had to be my translator. She told me that it took nearly 27 years to finish the castle! Many sets of royal families lived in the wall of Nordkirchen. The one I believe to be the most interesting is when a lady named Maria lived there with her husband, who was the king. Maria did a lot of things for the country of Germany. Maria made her mark by founding the first place in Germany where people that have special needs could go work and make a living. I thought this was wonderful and very honorable for the time period she was in.

Also on Sunday, Sandra and Stefan’s best friends drove an hour to meet me and to travel to the castle with the family! They were so sweet and had such a great presence to be around!  Before going to the castle, Sandra prepared a very large lunch for the family and friends. Again, I was not disappointed! The food was amazing. In the center of the table they placed a small grill. I can’t remember what it is exactly called.  Surrounding the grill there were bowls of assorted meats and vegetables that you grilled right at the table! This was very need and a very “Social” way to have dinner!

Our weekend ended with coffee and a traditional dessert of waffles and cherries. Here in Germany. The German people do not eat waffles for breakfast! This was very different but again, Very good!  There is so much to do and see while I am here! I am trying to take as much as I can in during my stay! Though I am missing so many people, (Even you Brian!!! J) I am enjoying this opportunity I have! Until next time! Gute Nacht or Goodnight!

Friday, November 14, 2014

First days in Werne, Germany!

Upon arriving to this beautiful little town in  Germany, the group was tired from traveling. Though I felt as if my eyelids weighed 1000lbs and took everything in my to keep them open, I was excited to be touring the school I will be teaching for two weeks at during my stay here! (the other two weeks i will be teaching at an Elementary School!)

After touring the school, my host mom, Sandra picked me up! Once arriving at the house that I would call home for four weeks, I was very thankful for the opportunity to have a hot shower and rest a bit. (no sleeping though!) While I showered, Sandra cooked me a wonderful meal! My first real German meal!! And just so everyone knows, it was absolutely delicious! Here is a picture.. (yes i was one of THOSE people to took a picture of their food! But hey, Doesn't it look good!?)

(This was a pork dish served with potatoes, peas and carrots. The pork was very good. Not sure what in America it is similar to, but it was yummy!! )

After having a yummy dinner, my host mom and siblings took me into the city of Werne to look around! I felt as if i was walking through a movie set. ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!! Here are a few snapshots I took during out little walk! 
 This is a picture of one of the main market streets in Werne. There were many little shops where locals went to buy clothes, jewelry and what not!

 This is a picture of Market Square! Every Wednesday and Saturday farmers come and set up tables to sale their fresh produce. I explained to my host mom that this is very similar to what we have in America called Farmers Markets!

Werne has a lot of history in the walls of the city. The picture above of the location the walls of the city used to be. Werne was once surrounded by a wall, like many German cities back many years ago.  This wall protected a knights castle that once stood in Werne, a monastery, and the main catholic church that stands in the middle of the town that is still used today for Mass every week! This is a picture of Südmauer Street. Südmauer translated to English means "South Wall". So this picture is of where the south end of the wall was located in Werne. They also have a street called  Nordmauer, which is the location where the north portion of the wall was. Very interesting!! Very Neat!! Even more Beautiful! I'll have more pictures of the town to post later! Here is a picture of Werne from 1649 that my host mom Sandra showed me! 

After leaving the city, we went home to get ready for the Sankt Martins Festival in a small neighboring village called Stockhum. This is a holiday that the Protestant church celebrates a man name Sankt Martin. He was a roman solider who was noticed for his kindness when he gave a poor man his cape during a cold day. Jesus then met Sankt Martin in his dreams and told him that the man he gave warmth to was in fact Jesus himself. Sankt Martin then became a Priest and lived his life dedicated to the work of Jesus. This was such a beautiful story which touched my heart. Not only was this the first Protestant church i have ever attended, my heart overflowed with the kindness of the people! Below is a picture of "Sankt Martin" and his horse. He would be the leader of the Parade after  the children's program in the church. 

The tradition during this festival always starts with a program in the church done by children. I honestly had no idea what they were saying but it was fun to watch and just experience the German culture! After the program, everyone then went outside to "follow" Sankt Martin in a parade. Children made lanterns of all shapes, sizes, and creations that they held while following Sankt Martin! There was a band that played the traditional Sankt Martin song the whole length of the parade as well.  Below is a picture of one of my host siblings lantern they carried a few years ago. 

After the parade, all the members of the church met in the church court yard to eat and talk to one another. This was my first chance to try a true German Brautwurst, and i must say... it was delicious! I also had a "coke-a-cola" as well. This didn't taste like they do in America but still yummy! Overall my first full day in Germany was wonderful! I am beginning to fall in love with this culture and i can't seem to learn enough about this little city we are staying in! Tomorrow we are traveling to see a Knights Castle in a neighboring city and possibly do some shopping!! Until then Gute Nacht or Goodnight Friends!! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Somewhere Above Canada.

BackBonus post!! You should be happy! ;) 

I'm not sure there are words to describe how absolutely breath taking it is to be up in an airplane above the clouds. It looks like a bed of snow! God never fails to amaze me with the work of His hand.. 

So far, napping hasn't been my friend on the short flight toToronto! There is just to much excitement! We have had such a pleasure speaking with a lady from Scottland!! She had so many stories and tips about the difference Europe is from Kentucky! For example, we were talking about all the differences in food names! 

European: Biscuit to them is a cookie 
American: biscuit to us is.. Well a biscuit
European: candy isn't called candy! It. Called "sweets" 

Here is a picture of the "biscuit" we were served on the plane to Toranto! They were different, but yummy! 

This is so neat to me!! I can't wait to be in Germany and really experiences some of those differences.. (( I wonder the look I would get of I asked for biscuits and gravy)) haha! 

Anywho! Besides not being able to nap, the first plane ride was enjoyable. It helps when you have some crazies around you keeping you company! I've already mentioned Jessica's blog in the previous post!! But here is Morgan's! If you want to follow more of what our group is doing, I would highly recommend checking out their blogs as well.. Besides , Morgan is being a total creeper and taking a bazillion random pictures to post!! But that's ok! We love her! 

Plane buddy!! (Jessica) 

Backseat buddy! (Morgan) her blog is morganbpatton.wordpress.com 

First flight down! Now for the long haul! Next stop, Frankfurt, Germany! 

((I apologize for any spelling mistakes, I am blogging from my phone)))

And we're off!!

The nerves have set in! We are finally on our first leg of our journey to Germany! My morning started off early at my cousins house! 

Jessica (jessicaroach1.weebly.com) was my short leg traveling buddy from Bowling Green to Nashville! She had the opportunity to meet my silly dad and cousin on the way to Nashville! Great way to relieve some of our nerves! 

Now the whole group is patiently waiting at gate c14 her in Nashville to board!! 

Bowling Green, KY 

First stop: Toronto, Canada 
Second stop: Frankfurt, Germany
Third stop: Muenster, Germany 
Final: WERNE!! 

Here is a pic of the whole crew!! Such a great group of girls to travel with!! Can't wait to make memories with these girls in Germany! 

I'm sure by the time I get to Germany I will be to tired to update! Can't wait to share more very soon! 


Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Lovely German Host Family!

Here are some pictures of the host family I will be staying with while in Germany! I have contacted them a few times and I am very excited to meet them!

Cant wait to meet these sweet people! Only a few more weeks until we fly out! So many exciting things happening! Until then...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Guten Tag

Today i got some of the best news ever!!! I am so very excited to announce that in November, i will be taking a nine hour flight, across the Atlantic ocean, in to Deutschland! From all the choices i had to make, Germany was my number one and i am honored that the College of Educational Behavioral Science at Western Kentucky University would consider me for this opportunity.

I have so much to do to prepare for this trip! I will continue blogging weekly or if there is ever an event that i just HAVE to share!!! If you're interested!! keep following... i now have a seed in the ground for my international teaching abroad adventure!