Tag Archives: teens

A Letter To My Dearest Friends

 

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   August 27th 2016

Hello Friends,

(credit to Elizabeth ツ)

I feel likes it’s been so long since I left the absolutely historical A-Town, and said good-bye, slash see you soon.

But it’s only been around three months, which is aaalmost 5 months, so half of 10 months, so pretty much 10 months, which means that time is going to fly by soo quickly and in no time I will have lived the same amount of time back in Germany, as I have spent with the bestest team ever, and in Aiken. And that. That just seems way too little of time spent on/in/for/with(?) a life I miss very dearly. I think about you and it every. single. day.

But moving on from my reminisce, I hope that you are doing absolutely amazing and are killing current XC season (there’s nothing else I would expect tbh).

And so many of you are FREAKING SENIORS now. THAT is insane (and probably very much work loaded, as I would imagine, but I bet you are killing that as well).

Now that everybody is reading this letter (is someone reading it out loud or are you passing it around? I’d love to know right now), it seems like you successfully got the clues right and I am glad that it took this long, because I did not know where and how to start this letter and it took me forever to begin.

I really can’t explain how much I miss you.

Ya’ll (yes I did it, I can imagine David freaking out a bit here) are the coolest friends ever. So good news first (only ever good news in this letter though), get your guest bedrooms ready, because someone will be house hopping…kinda soon?!

I wanted to surprise as many people as I can, especially ALL the teachers, including John and Kayla (and you guys). I’m not sure if I want to keep my visit a secret or not. I gotta think about it. So please keep it low for now. I’ll tell you more soon.

I don’t have dates yet either.

However I will tell you soon enough, so we can make plans to go to the Big Mo and the Food Moe and to the roof of every mall near us.

I can’t wait!! (How’s the Aiken Mall doing btw?)

The moment I was back in Germany, my thoughts were already on the next plane back. Assuming that they ever left. Which I don’t think so.

I’m sorry if (more like that) this letter is not the big surprise everybody was hoping for. But the Aiken City Council just didn’t like my plans for the statue (apparently James Francis Byrnes’ is more important, but I totally agree). (also, it took me forever to find out his name)

I just miss the team so much.

Post-race Moe’s.

Crazy bus rides with awesome music.

Frelicia’s and Fredricka’s dancing and crazily wonderful personalities. (side note, I am the person who is best at whipping and nae nae’ing’ here, can you imagine that, lol?!)

Car rides with you, Biz.

Shrek references. Chilly Dillies and the Big Mo.

Ultimate Frisbee (I don’t have time to practice here, so don’t judge me when I come back).

Jaleel’s crazy, fluffy hair.

J squared.

Almost getting run over in downtown Aiken, because that is where we stupidly have to do long runs and/or because talking is much more fun than watching traffic…Squeeze away much?

Karlie’s bow or when David’s dad (greetings!!) wore her tutu.

Lunch together and when the tinfoil FINALLY was wrinkle-free. Endless fights about oreos?!

Mr. Luton’s test-prep game, when David took soo long to answer but still got the point. (I could’ve answered (at LEAST) twice meanwhile..)

I feel like going on like this forever.

But to get to the point.

Being back in Germany now, thinking back, I could easily spent at least junior year at AHS and not be bothered by the still very old buildings one bit. I miss my life with you and I would have never wanted to leave. Honestly, I don’t understand how it possibly could make sense to ONLY have one year of your life for that experience. I want to come back RIGHT NOW. (Let me just check my calendar, we still have 16 days of summer break, I’ll see what I can do)  ツ

Soo, to end this letter now..we better stay in touch. For runs and car rides and movies.

Lots of Love

xxx

Sophie

P.S: I’m still working on the bestest watch tan there is.

P.P.S: Also, I wanted to write this by hand but I’m pretty sure it would have been the real struggle.

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May Update II | In der Zeitung und im Pool

Mittwoch, 25.5-Sonntag, 29.5.2016

Track Banquet, Wednesday May 25th

Am Donnerstag vor einer Woche war dann das Track Banquet. Alle Track & Field Schüler inklusive Eltern, und die Coaches natürlich, haben sich in unserer Schul-Cafeteria zum Abendessen getroffen und Awards wurden vergeben.

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Da wurde abgeräumt!!!

Sogar ich habe etwas bekommen, da es mein erstes Jahr war. Kurz vorher habe ich meinen Coaches als (RIESEN) Dankeschön deutsche Schokolade und Dankeskarten überreicht, und einer meiner ‘Coaches’ hatte mir sogar auch etwas mitgebracht. Fast geweint habe ich. Das ganze Team ist doch schon eine wundervolle (nun dritte..) Familie für mich geworden.

 

The Big Mo Again, Friday May 27th

Und am Freitag ging es dann gleich nochmal zum Big Mo, dem Drive-In Kino. Layton hatte seinen 18. (!) Geburtstag und zusammen mit David und drei anderen Jungs und Elizabeth haben wir Alice und Civil War geschaut und vorher, Spezialität der Jungs, Ultimate Frisbee gespielt. Auf dem Weg zum Big Mo, circa 35min entfernt, war ich mit Elisabeth in einem Auto und es hat so unheimlich gut getan mit ihr zu reden und zu singen (Dancing Queen anyone?), da wir uns für fast einen Monat lang kaum gesehen hatten.

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Dann hatte ich meinen ersten Snow-Cone (Sour Apple, nur zu empfehlen) und habe allen ‘Chilly Dillys’ gekauft…nun dank meinerseits zum Insiderwitz entstanden. Basically (weiß gerade das deutsche Wort dafür nicht) riesige, eingelegte Gurken.

Auf dem Weg nach Hause haben drei der Jungs und ich im Auto zur Musik rumgetanzt.

In the Newspaper x2, Sunday May 29th

So, mit Elena war ich dann innerhalb einer Woche gleich zweimal in der Zeitung. Zum einen Mal in unserer monatlichen Schülerzeitung während der Sidewalk-Art Veranstaltung und am Wochenende in unserer lokalen Sonntagszeitung, da wir auf unserer Idee hin ein Interview mit dieser hatten, und zwar letzte Woche. Beide waren wir total aufgeregt und haben uns super darüber gefreut dass es wirklich geklappt hat! Eigentlich wollten wir mit dem Interview einen Fokus auf unsere Gastfamilien, und alle anderen Involvierten unseres Jahres hier, lenken um diesen zu danken. Leider ist das am Ende nicht so raus geklungen, aber toll war die Idee und Umsetzung trotzdem.

Einmal in der Schülerzeitung (jemand ist ganz happy darüber):

Und während dem Interview und in der Zeitung:

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Inklusive Local Coordinator (Deutschlehrer) und seiner Frau (nicht zu sehen)

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Surprise Farewell Party, Sunday May 29th

Tja. Was doll man jetzt dazu sagen…Gedacht hätte(n) ich (und Elena) so etwas ja GAR nicht. Eigentlich sollte es bei Elena zu Hause ‘nur’ ein treffen mit unserem super Local-Coordinator geben, sozusagen als Final Interview um alles abzuklären und um uns letzte Tips zu geben, bevor der Abflug (in 8 Tagen) bevorsteht.

Und wen sehe ich dann vor der Einfahrt des Hauses? Layton.

Uns als ich rausgelaufen bin kamen dann allerlei (Track/XC) Jungs aus ihren Autos raus. Der Überraschungseffekt ist ihnen deswegen leider nicht ganz so gut gelungen wie geplant, aber unheimlich verwundert und sehr glücklich war ich natürlich doch. NIE im Leben hätte ich das gedacht. Vor allem nicht, dass so viele kommen würden. Da waren so ziemlich alle meine Track-Freunde. Isabella war da. Elena’s Freunde, die ich ebenfalls kenne. Sogar meine Coaches sind gekommen. Und unser Local-Coordinator auch, um uns die letzten Papiere zu geben ;).

Tja, und dann hatten wir eine richtige Poolparty mit ganz viel Essen und Ultimate Frisbee (im Garten, nicht (nur) im Pool). Und am Ende bin ich doch noch im Pool gelandet. (Danke Lewis). Ich habe mich natürlich revanchiert und er hat es zurück bekommen :)!

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Klatschnass

So, das wars auch schon mit dem Mai. WOw. CRAAAZY. Nur noch acht Tage habe ich. Nur noch zwei halbe Schultage.

Ich sehe euch ganz bald, vielleicht gibt es ja noch einen allerletzten Post aus den Staaten

I’ll see you (soon)

eure Sophie

The Ultimate Checklist before Starting an Exchange Year

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So, once you decided that you really want to take a year abroad, alone, and experience a new culture, this is what to do. As these things are just an estimation, try to do these things as soon as possible, so even earlier than I wrote down. If you can.

1 YEAR BEFORE

> Check Financial Situations

Before starting an exchange year, ask your parents whether they can afford paying an organization, whether you need a scholarship, etc…

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> Choose An Organization And Country

After you are sure that you are able to do a year abroad, choose an organization (like the one I am using) to be prepared for your stay and think about THE COUNTRY, that you want to stay in.

> Appointment To Talk

Most organizations send a staff to talk to you and your parents personally. Before that, you won’t be able to fill out any papers, so try to make an appointment as early as possible.

> School

And now onto your current school. You obviously need to ask if you can go just like that for one/half a year. Ask your principal if you can go directly into the next grade after returning home or how it works in your school.

6 MONTHS BEFORE

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> The Detailed Application

After finishing all the points above, you will probably have to fill out the “real” application by now. And here, take time to complete all the questions and answer them with your parents. Try to do this as close to dead-line as possible, as you will most-likely change during half a year as a person. No stressing, some students are not even finished one month before their flight.. ;) (shocking, right?!)

> Check-Ups, Papers

Your organization will probably tell this to you too, but I will just list everything in here. Now it is also  time to check on your immunizations and that you have filled out any important papers/let your doctors/teachers fill them out.

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> Start To Save Money

Because you can’t let your parents pay for everything! Sell old clothes, go babysitting or don’t spend money in the city so that you have this money for all the malls in your new country ;)

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> Passport

Already checked if your passport is valid long enough? A new passport doesn’t take long to be made, but still, doing everything ahead of time is so much better, trust me ;)

> Bucket List

And it is of course time to do something like a bucket list too! Of things you want to visit, see, do, experience, and and and…

2-3 MONTHS BEFORE

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> Book Flights

Once you got your host-family, look into flights immediately, as they are cheaper the earlier you book them.

> Enjoy Family And Friend-Time

As sad as it is, your allowed luggage-weight won’t be enough to take all your friends and family with you, so indulge in and enjoy the few months that you have left! Make as many things as possible together and just have fun, because this time will fly by so fast!

1 MONTH BEFORE

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> Money And Phone Abroad

Before leaving, inform yourself about how to handle the money and phone situation. If you have to cancel your phone-contract and what bank-card you need. Ask your organization or former exchangers for help. (Or watch THIS video)

> Presents

After talking to your family for the first few times, you probably have a feeling for them and know what they would like. I would recommend something local from your country and city. You can also ask them whether they would like to have anything special, that they might already know and miss from former visits to your country.

2 WEEKS BEFORE

> Free Audible And Music-Trials

As I haven’t signed up for audible, I still have my free month good, just as with apple music. And as I don’t have any good music or “books” on my phone, I thought that this is a genius idea, as you don’t need any wifi either, so you can enjoy smooth beats while flying into your new 10months-life.

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Party

And you sadly have to say goodbye to your closest and best friends..so why not throw a “party”? Just plan something like inviting your 10 best friends and just sit down at a nice location and have a chat, play funny games and go swimming. This is what I am going to do and I just love this idea. A video and post about mine will come up soon!

> Bulkshopping

Yes, the trick is to not pack much as you can buy anything at your new home, but still, I have some things I can’t live without like my favorite moisturizer and shampoo, so I am going to buy a few bottles, as I don’t know what will be available over in the new country.

1 WEEK BEFORE

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> Plan Packing

Because we want to prevent the stress of packing two hours before the flight ;) Make a list and carefully think about what to take with you. Inform yourself about tips and hacks on packing and maybe pre-pack a week before, so you know how to do it and what to pack!

> Change Some Money

You obviously (should) have your card now, but having some extra bucks on you while traveling is always a good idea, as you never know what will happen. So change a bit of money, just in case..

 Are you participating at an exchange or doing year abroad and were these tips helpful? Let me know down below!! :)

Sophie