Hallo! My name is Delaney Sorensen. I live in Longwood, Florida with my dad, mom and two older sisters. I am currently a sophomore at Lake Brantley High school. But I will be spending my junior year in Germany!
At school I am apart of the Lake Brantley Marching Patriots. I have played the alto saxophone for 5 years now. But I have also played violin and french horn. I am very involved in my school's debate team. When I am not busy with school, people can usually find me reading, playing soccer, listening/playing music, or hanging out with the amazing people that surround me.
When I first heard about this exchange program I was instantly intrigued and knew that it was something I had to do or at least that I wanted to pursue it. I would not be able to do any of this without the help of RYE Florida or the support of everyone around me. When I return from my adventures I plan on finishing high school, then going to college to pursue a career in the medical field.
Next year will be the hardest yet most rewarding year of my life. I can't thank Rotary enough for allowing me to have this amazing opportunity. I am so excited and can't wait to embark on this life changing journey in Germany!
Laney- Outbound to Germany
December 7, 2012
WHATTTTTTTT??? It has already been a month? It feels like just yesterday I
was staying up all night doing some last minute packing and making sure my
suitcases were the correct weight and going out to breakfast with my mom and
sisters crying my eyes out, but with a smile on my face. I can’t believe it
has already been a month since I first arrived in Deutschland. I hadn’t been
on a plane for about 8 years and it was my first time flying alone so
needless I was freaking out. My first mistake was wearing heels to the
airport. Luckily I packed flats in my carryon because I had to run from gate
to gate to get to my next flight. During each layover, the flight I was on
was landing as the next flight was boarding. It was quite a stressful
mission but it was a success! I made it to Berlin-Tegel airport the
following morning and was welcomed by my YEO, counselor, a few Rotarians,
and my host family. The first thing we did was go to a local bakery to buy
some bread for my first German meal. When I first arrived to the town of
Havelberg, I realized its size. Definitely smaller than Orlando with about
2,000 inhabitants. After getting over the initial shock of the small size of
the town, we drove to my village of Vehlgast.
Vehlgast is one of the smallest villages around here with about 30-50 people
living here and is about 17km from the town of Havelberg. Needless to say,
it was very different from Orlando. But seeing the forests, trees, open
lands, horses, cows, and the river Havel is a good change from the loud cars
and sirens back in Orlando.
When I first walked into my host family’s home I was blown away by the décor
and everything about it. I have two rooms that are all mine. The first room
you walk into is pretty much a living room with a TV, wardrobe, desk, and
pullout couch. That leads into my bedroom which has a bed and a wardrobe.
The upstairs is basically just for my host sister and me, but we often have
breakfast in the upstairs kitchen. Downstairs is for my host parents where
they watch TV and sometimes eat meals in the dining room together. Outside,
they have a garden with a natural pool which kind of reminds me of a smaller
version of the Wekiva Springs. They also have their own sauna which will be
kind of neat in the winter time. One of the people in our village owns a few
horses and I have pretty much fallen in love with him. My 2nd weekend in
Germany there was a huge annual celebration which was a boat parade. My host
family had a friend who built a pontoon boat where they put a table and
chairs and decorations. It was awesome and there was a laser show and
fireworks (kind of made me feel like the 4th of July in the middle of
August). Needless to say it was an awesome night.
The next weekend there was another huge celebration which was a horse
market. There were all sorts of fun activities and there were three parts:
horse market, kind of like a fairground, and another part which was like a
flea market. Those are the two biggest weekends for the town for the year,
and they were both a lot of fun.
When I first started school I was extremely nervous. I’m used to about 3,400
students at Lake Brantley High School, but at Diesterweg Gymnasium, there
are about 200 students. I was first put into the 9th class where I felt very
old. The students were a little closed off at first but after a few days I
started to make friends and I am now switched into the 12th class. School
here is very different, students actually have respect for their teachers,
and let me be honest and say it makes it very difficult not to fall asleep
when you don’t know what anyone is saying during the lesson. There are a lot
of nice teachers and students here. Everyone seems to know everyone and that
is a wonderful feeling. The weather here is beautiful without that Florida
humidity, and it is quite colder here. This winter, I will see snow for the
first time in my life; I just hope I brought enough warm clothes. There are
so many more amazing things that have happened to me, it is just hard to put
everything into one journal!
Time is flying, I am already 1/10 of the way through my exchange year and I
can’t believe it!
Needless to say, this has been a great start to a wonderful year. There have
been many bumps along the road, but the rainbow will soon come after the
storm (it happens to be raining outside as I am writing this). I am
extremely thankful and blessed to be here and I want to thank my friends and
family for supporting me and especially thanks to Rotary for giving me such
an amazing life changing opportunity.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer
yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you
know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!