Ashley, outbound to Germany

Read more about Ashley and all her blogs

I honestly thought I had two weeks until I needed to write this journal, but I looked at my calendar and then today was March 1st! February has flown by to the point where I’m not entirely sure I actually experienced the whole month! I have done so many amazing things this month, but most of them revolved around the greatest time of the German calendar, Karneval! Okay, technically not everywhere in Germany because apparently it is just in the areas around Cologne and Dusseldorf. It was such a fun time of the year and I will never forget it! Normally, people have one really stunning costume that they wear for the entire time. I however, being the overachiever that I am, had eight different costumes. They consisted of a cowgirl, scarf character, pirate, sheep, genie, scarecrow, Moroccan princess, and then a traditional Karneval Costume, Tunisan. I have attended singalongs, coffees, and so many parades that you’d think I’ve had enough a lready, but that is the problem, I haven’t! I just love the atmosphere of everyone being dressed up and singing songs together, it really is beautiful. Something else that is really showing language improvement, is that I am now able to understand and speak a little bit of the special dialect that they have in Cologne. Okay, I’m able to sing all of the songs and understand what they are saying, but I think that it’s cool I can speak really well in High-German and then also speak a little bit of the dialect that they have too! I also was able to visit an UNESCO World Culture Sight with my host family. We went to an old coal washing center and got a tour of the sight! It was really interesting to see some of the everyday lives and domestic aspects of how people used to live in the early 1900s. It was also nice to see some of the family members from my first host family. I’ve happily and wonderfully adjusted into my second host family and am having a great time. I am in a new choir at my local church which has been going great! I do think it is funny because I’m the youngest person there. I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be a senior citizens choir, but my host grandma invited me and they all are really sweet so it isn’t a problem. I love that I am back singing in my happy soprano voice once again! My transportation to school has also changed. I now take this really cool double decker bus to and from school. It takes about 40 minutes or so, but it isn’t so bad. I usually end up sleeping or talking to some of the other kids in my class. It actually is quite entertaining sometimes. My life hasn’t completely changed though. I am still a very active member of TenSing and am so happy that we are finally starting to work on our final show for the year! I even have a few solo songs, and also have a speaking role, IN GERMAN. I guess that is kind of clear, but I’m really excited since that is also a huge sig n that my German has improved enough that they are willing to give me a role in the show. I have also had a lot of really cool experiences that have to do with the entertainment industry. I saw a beautiful Irish dance and music show at a local theatre with people who came all the way from Ireland. It was nice to hear a little bit of English again and the show was just amazing. I also went to the live filming of a TV Show in Cologne. We went to see Little Big Stars (German version of Little Big Shots) and had an amazing time. There was a scientist, stunt biker, pianist, and also a singer who happened to be from California. It was really cool and interesting to see how a TV Show is filmed and I look forward to seeing the final product in a few months so I can see what the finished show looks like. Finally, I was on national German news television! Since I walked in the Karneval parade, it was pretty much bound to happen since it is recorded like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but I also was in a special clip. They gave people the option to record videos from the parade and send them in to be put in the broadcast. I was walking with two other exchange students and we sent in a video explaining that we were celebrating our first Karneval because we were exchange students, and they put it in the broadcast! It was really cool because we definitely weren’t expecting it! Overall, this month has flown by and I have made so many memories. I honestly am not sure how this year has gone by so fast because it feels like last week I just stepped off of the plane in a new country, not being able to speak the language, but having lots of hopes and goals for this year. I have already accomplished so much of what I dreamed I would, but I know I still have less than half a year to do even more and leave my legacy here. I can’t wait to see what this new month has in store and write to you all about it! Warum ist dieses Jahr so schnell gegangen? I know that I am going to have an amazing rest of this year! I just wish it would slow down a little bit!