2004-05 Outbound to Switzerland
Date of Birth: December 13,
School: Buchholz High School
Sponsor: Gainesville Sunrise Rotary Club, District 6970, Florida USA
Host: Stans Rotary Club, District 1980,
October 16 Journal - "I used Italian
toilets and didn't have a shower. I wore the same pair of pants for 4
days. I did so many things that I would have never even thought of in the
November 6 Journal - "Even though it
scares me, I've come to accept the fact that I just need to start living
my life here and worry about making good grades here and everything."
March 3 Journal and Pictures - "This
family did so much for me in ways that I will never be able to repay them,
but I think that they know just how much I really love them."
my name is Monica Newberry. I
am currently a sophomore at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, FL.
I live with my dad, stepmom (mom), my brother, Jay (14), my sister,
Tanayha (11), four cats, and a ferret (Tinkerbell). Right now, I am really
into surfing and any other water sport , but I think when I come back all
of that will change to skiing or snowboarding.
am still trying to realize that I am actually going to one of the most
beautiful countries (Switzerland), in just 5 months.
I think that the hardest thing for me to overcome will be the
language, because all I have heard is that Swiss German is TOTALLY
different than Regular German; and you could go five miles and the dialect
of the language will change…Oh well, I think I can do it.
Danke Stefan deine Hilfe. ?
October 16 Journal
|Okay...I know how much everyone of my
Rotary peep's and their
parents have been anxiously waiting for this journal from possibly the most
extroverted person in the group...so, here it goes. I have been in Switzerland
for almost 10 weeks now, and I can honestly say that it feels like I have been
here for about a month. I'm going to try and organize this thing the best I can,
so I will start with the beginning and then how these 10 weeks have changed me
into a different Monica.
I arrived in Zurich on Saturday, August 7th, 2004 at
10:35am (one hour late). The plane ride was tiring and somewhat worrisome. I
was so tired from the flying, time changes, and going to the beach and
staying up all night the night before my flight (I know mom...bad idea),
that when I finally got to Switzerland I just wanted to find a bed and go to
sleep. When I first came here, it didn't really hit me like I was in a
different country, but instead that I was just here. I would hear people
speak to me and I would answer back, but then when I would try to remember
what was being asked...it was like it had never happened...I am still like
For the first two weeks I was here, I lived with my Rotary
counselor and officer. I really have to thank these two people for taking me
in and helping me more than anyone could have my first two weeks here. I
learned so much German and so much more about Switzerland that I had never
known before. Then, I started a three week language school the second week I
was here. I didn't really learn anything that would help me in school or in
the real Swiss life, but it was fun to get to know the other inbounds that
live close to me and go with them to Luzern (I know Elliott ... your fav.
city) and walk around and see Luzern. Then, after three weeks of language
school I went to my real school...The Kollegi. The school...is crazy. I take
so many different subjects and so many of them I have never had
before...this though, makes it so much better because then when I go back to
the states I'll be able to pass everything. I'm not going to go into detail,
I'm just going to say that they put me in the math class...they take 2 maths
and they are Calculus and Angewandte (don't ask). I don't really understand
these to the fullest yet, but everyday I work hard. I only went to school
for two weeks and then it was three weeks holiday (one week hiking in the
mountains with my class) and then I am back at school until December.
I really want to go into detail about this hiking week
with my class, because even though it was the hardest thing for me to ever
do (carrying a 16kilo rucksack and walking from Switzerland to
Italy...literally), in the end I loved it and wouldn't trade this experience
for anything. I met so many people from my class and got to be included in
everything they were doing. I learned Swiss games with cards (still don't
fully understand, but its all good) and so many stories that my class has
shared together. We made inside jokes, and I am now...the "Gangsta Mutha" of
the "Gangsta Babies"...funny, I know. I pulled muscles and wanted to take
the bus, but the girls in my class said..."You'll regret it...don't
go...stay with us." I did in the end, and I am so happy now. I used Italian
toilets and didn't have a shower. I wore the same pair of pants for 4 days.
I did so many things that I would have never even thought of in the states,
that I have done here and I love all of it. I have walked up a lot of
mountains since I have been here, and just a few weeks ago I went to a ski
place (Titlus) for the first snow of the season. I played in the snow in -4C
temperature with some other inbounds from Canada and Australia...it was so
great to see the snow for the first time...I LOVE THE SNOW!!! Now I am going
to start snowboarding...thanks Livi for your stuff.
The language was extremely hard at first, and since in
Switzerland they don't even speak real German that makes it even worse, but
I am starting to understand a lot of Swiss German and I find myself thinking
of what to say and everything in German. I have found out that I can be
Monica in English and the same Monica in German...it was hard, but I found a
way to overcome that barrier. I have learned so much and am grateful for
every single thing given to me here and back home. I left family, friends,
and my Rotary gang who I love more than anyone. I have had homesickness (for
about a week) and I thought..."Why am I doing this?...I had so much more
back home." I still don't know why I am doing this, right now, I'm just
going with what's given to me and taking it as an experience I will never
I have changed into a person I somewhat don't even
recognize in the mirror. I eat with a fork and knife (fork in left and knife
in right hand), I don't eat all of the Taco Bell (waiting for it Mom), and I
don't burp or fart (remember last orientation Jen)... I have become a polite
nice little girl and when I come back...you guys are going to flip. The good
thing though, is that I haven't forgotten who the real me is, and I am still
the funny, obnoxious, loud person that I was in Florida...just toned down a
bit at times.
Well, I think that is it for now, but I want to shout out
to some people and thank them for everything that they have ever done for
me: my parents (here and in Florida), my siblings (here and in Florida), my
Rotary gang (here and in Florida), every Rotary guy in Florida and all of
them here in Switzerland. Livi- I am so happy to hear that you are okay, and
hope that you are having a great time in Florida...I'll be in your house in
December I think. Well, I will send pics in a couple of days (lots) and I
love all of you....
November 6 Journal
|Okay...so I have been in Switzerland for 3 months now...the time
has actually started to feel normal ...it's about time. I know that it hasn't
been that long since I wrote, but I have a lot to say so I think it's time to
First...Katie came last weekend...that's
right...Katie...in France...came to see me...in Switzerland. I was so happy
to see her and show her my life here and my German skills. We talked about
all of the good times we shared together through the summer and it was nice
to reminice (spelling I know...englisch sucks now). I took her to a
Halloween Party with some friends from school and it was so much fun. We
ended up being the only 5 teenagers there, but it was still fun. She came at
a good time too because I was starting to have problems with my family and
she helped me through it...saying, "Monica, you're strong...don't even think
about going home." Well, Katie came for about 3 days and then was off to
France...it was a nice visit and I can't wait till we all get back...Summer
Well...I have started a normal routine and it's finally
getting boring...I go out with friends from school and speak German...the
normal stuff I guess I would do back in states...except the German part. The
language is coming...considering I started out with no German whatsoever I
think I've come a long way and am proud. I've been doing a lot of thinking
though...mainly about what I'm doing and where my life is going to be when I
get back. I thought I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up and which
college I wanted to go to and all of the stuff I needed to be thinking
about...SAT's. Now, I just don't know anything...and even though it scares
me, I've come to accept the fact that I just need to start living my life
here and worry about making good grades here and everything. I'm not really
homesick anymore...just trying to still remember the good things that I took
for granted back home. This year changes you in a way you would never
think...it shows you what you had that was so good that you never knew was
good until you're not there. I know this probably doesn't make sense, but it
doesn't have to...aren't you guys proud...I'm maturing...maybe not...I dunno.
Now I have to talk about Halloween and
Thanksgiving...European people just don't have these...they're too American.
Halloween was a sad time...I love trick-or-treating, but I decided that I
could live one year without that so I just sat at home and chilled with
Katie...still had fun dancing to random mixes. Thanksgiving though...I'm
gonna try and cook dinner for my family...of course, I will have help from
other people, but it should be nice to show them some of American
traditions...that's what I'm here for...showing and learning at the same
Okay...so in September I did go in the snow, but it was on
a mountain where I am going to start snowboarding maybe. I do have pics, but
I have to learn how to email them, so when I do, I will email some pics.
Snow...well, it's cold, but it's the greatest thing on earth...maybe tied
with the ocean and surfing though.
Well, I have to go because I'm late for a train...
March 3 Journal and Pictures
|So, since I haven't written in such a long time I can't really
update everyone on what I have been up to because that would take way too long;
instead I am going to tell all of you about something that happened here in
Switzerland that changed my year and something that I will always remember...My
I changed from my first to my second host family on
December 27th. It would have been earlier but I had told my counselor here
that there was no way I was going to move a week before Christmas, so after
much deliberation I got to stay. I know that I had said in my last journal
that I was having some problems with my family, but it wasn't problems that
they caused, it was problems that I was creating within myself. You see, I
had some serious problems with attachment and abandonment from when I was
younger and they were still there. When I had to move from my counselor's
house to my real family, I had gotten so attached to my counselor and her
family after only two weeks, that I didn't want that to happen again. The
first two months with my first family were not as good as they could have
been because I closed myself off to them...I wasn't really me. This wasn't
good for me or my family. I had written my counselor telling her that I
couldn't live there anymore and that I wanted to move, but there was no
reason why I shouldn't have liked it there.
Finally, my host mom couldn't take it anymore and asked
me: "Monika, do you like it here by us?" Of course, I said yes because I
didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but my host mom could see it in my
face and eyes that something wasn't right. So, she sat me down and we talked
for about two hours...just on my problems with attachment and everything
that I have. My host mom taught me that it's good to change families because
you get to see different parts of the culture (I know...Rotary already told
me this). She said that my families want to learn about Florida and America.
She also said that it's so much better when I'm open and talkative and
really me, than being so reserved and not speaking. After this talk with my
host mom, I made such an effort to be more open and really me...and that's
when it all clicked. I wasn't always perfect in this family, and in fact, I
got in A LOT of trouble when I was living with this family. I was spending
too much time with the other exchange students which was degrading my
German, I slept at other people's houses too much, I almost got sent home,
and there was one time where I had stayed out entirely too late. I still
don't know how my family dealt with this because I know that if I had done
some of the things with my family in Florida like here...I wouldn't probably
My host parents though were the most understanding people
I think I have ever met, and it was so much better when I was honest with
them than trying to hide it (which in fact I never did). This family did so
much for me in ways that I will never be able to repay them, but I think
that they know just how much I really love them. They taught me things I
thought I could never learn. My host mom taught me how to cook special Swiss
meals and things that will help me not only with my exchange year, but also
with the rest of my life. She was there for me when I needed someone to talk
to or just a hug or...a mom. My host dad was probably the funniest person I
have met so far here in Switzerland. We laughed together, joked together,
and ate Fleisch (meat) together. He was there for me when I was down or
missing my real dad...he was a great host dad. My sister...well, we had our
problems sometimes but that's completely normal. She taught me how to not
get into so much trouble and that it's good to be "me". We went to movies
together, shopping, and eating. She had her life and I had mine, but we made
days for each other...and they were great. This family dealt with my dad
calling at 9am expecting me to be awake...and the funny thing is is that my
family can't really speak English and so them trying to explain that I'm
asleep was priceless. They provided me with the best food I think I could
have imagined...which is why I probably gained 6 kilos (3.5 now). They
weren't only my host family...but my family.
I moved two days after Christmas. We were being hosted by
my new host family for a sort of dinner type thing. So, we hauled my now 3
suitcases to my new family and ate. I was doing extremely well at
first...not crying and being strong. But at around 11:30pm when everyone was
getting tired and wanting to go to sleep...it hit me that I wasn't going
too...I was staying. I just couldn't help it...I cried and I didn't care
anymore. It was the hardest thing for me...to leave my host mom that had
been more of a mom to me in my four months here. She talked me through it,
and even though the tears didn't stop it helped. To see my dad, mom, and
sister leave while I was still crying was probably the worst thing for both
Well, I know I can go to visit my family anytime I want,
and actually I do, but I truly love this family as well, and having to think
about how I'm moving in three weeks makes me want to cry...which is why I
don't think about it.
Well, I think that I have written a lot, but I just want
to say this to the new outbound class (man...does that sound weird): be
yourselves, be open, don't be scared. People say it's hard to be the same in
English and in another language...but for me, it really wasn't that big of a
problem. You just have to not think about what people are going to think or
say..."just do it."
Congratulations Outbound Class 2006...your journey begins
now. Congratuliert Hanna...Die Schweiz ist ein tolle Land.
Guys (you know who you are I hope)...can't wait til
Welcome Home Dinner...jammin in the van!
Jilly (Mommy)...thanks for letting me do my thing...I love
Monika...Smöni vo Floida
(can't say the r)
OK...these are pictures from my first
half year in Switzerland
So these are pics from my counselor's
house... my view and the sink in my room... so great!
This is what I woke up to every day for 2 whole weeks...
Stanserhorn (I think). I still wished that I lived there,
but I'm coping...
Komisch is the German word for strange...I had a sink in
my room at my Rotary Counselor's house... no one else did... only me. It
was weird at first, but then it made getting ready a lot faster.
These are exchanges, me, and the
famous bridge in Luzern...
the Chapel Bridge.
These are a group of people who I met in Language
School... Sebastian (California), Emma (Mexico), and Natalie (Jersey)...
I finally stopped laughing long enough to let Natalie
take the pic... the water is super good too.
This is a very important bridge in Luzern... it was
burned during the night and some famous paintings were destroyed, but
some were saved... I am learning stuff here, see?
This is me and my host dad (he's a
hunter=best fleisch) and then me and my host sis.
This is my host dad, the animal, and me...I think that it
was some kind of ram... I will send pics of all of the animals in our
This is my host sis and me... but you probably already
These are some pics from my Hiking
Week...my best friend Daniela with Fleisch, we hiked down that sucker
with 12Kilo backpacks...all the way to Italy...that's right.
Fleisch is the german word for meat. I love Fleisch
here... it's so good I could eat it all day. Well, my class is in love
with Fleisch too, so we ate a lot of Fleisch on the Wanderwoche... this
is Daniela with Fleisch...
So this is in Italy...we walked down this thing...the
white stuff is water...I fell about 6 times walking down this
sucker...and lived to tell about it...
I took this pic while eating lunch in Italy...this made
me think so much of Rico even though he is in Spain...he should really
be in Italy...luv ya Rico
So...I bring the gangstaness to
Switzerland...and I go in the snow for the first time in September...
two inbounds took me all the way to Titlus to play in the snow... best
This is what I taught my class ... bringing the ghetto to
Switzerland ... see us ... we're gangstas...
This is me in the snow...with my boots...just wait till
December when you see me...I love the snow... I had so much fun that day
in the snow...it was like a little kid getting candy for the first