Ashley, outbound to Germany

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Woah, woah, woah. I know what you are thinking, “Ashley how is it possible that you are writing another journal already? Didn’t you just write one a few weeks ago?” and the answer to this question is yes, I did, but time is moving at the speed of light and it’s already the end of May again! As of today, I have only 49 days left in Germany. What’s crazy to me is that I know the time is flying away quickly, but that doesn’t mean it is for the rest of the world back home in Florida or even for some of the other exchange students I know. May was the most musical month I could have hoped for, but it started out with some other events as well. Earlier this month, I planned a get together with some other Rotary Youth Exchange Students who are also from the United States. The occasion? The United States national hockey team was playing in Cologne in the World Championship (Weltmeisterschaft auf Deutsch) and we decided to go cheer them on against the Danes. The United States won 7-2 and overall, I had a pretty amazing time! 

The weekend after that, I finally got to use my birthday present with all of my friends, Bodyguard das Musical. It was so amazing. I didn’t know anything about the story before I went in other than the fact that there were Whitney Houston songs throughout the show. It was such a thrill to be there. The show started off with a bang, literally the show starts with a gun shot and all the lights going out suddenly, and was amazing all the way to the end. I think I’m starting to annoy my friends because I thank them at least once or twice a week. (Ich weis nicht ob ihr mein Journal lest, aber dankeschön!) One of the things that was really cool for me lies in the Bodyguard program. I bought a program, as I do almost always, and naturally was just reading through the cast bios when something interesting caught my eye. There were a lot of Americans in the show. Okay, six total, but four were from Florida and one of them studied at Florida State University, and studied exactly what I am hoping to in the next couple of years!! For me that was really eye opening because I realized that I can still pursue theater and performance, but can also use my German language skills at the exact same time! I’m not saying I’ll be leaving the US forever, but it’s good to know what my options are and that there are opportunities to combine both things that I hope to study! 

The weekend after that was a dress rehearsal for the musical that I will be performing in within the next couple of weeks! The show is called, “Catch Me if you Can” but it isn’t the show you all are thinking about because it is a self-written show that will blow you all away! I have my own role, a few other roles (the joys of double casting), and also sing a few solos (including the show’s opening…eek!) It is so nice to be performing again. I will say that is one of the things that I have missed the most this year, just being up on a stage in the ensemble or singing a solo. I’m so happy I found my theatre group here though, so I am able to put those thoughts out of my head and enjoy my year even more! 

Then this past weekend, I enjoyed my host family’s end of the year present which was a trip to Hamburg to see Der König der Löwen das Musical (The Lion Kind Broadway Musical!!! in German of course!) Of course that was the main part of the trip, but I also got to see a lot of exciting things such as the Michel (a famous church with a fantastic view of Hamburg), Elbphilharmonie (and got to go to the top!), took a ferry and got to know the harbor a little better, and also took a guided bus tour. Don’t worry, I avoided the Reeperbahn. For those of you who don’t know what that is, don’t look it up. I was so happy that the weather was amazing because last time I was in Hamburg with Rotary, it just rained the entire time, forcing us to hide in cafes and restaurants (but if you need a good place or eat or cup of coffee in Hamburg, let me know!). The musical was just stunning and there is literally no way to describe how amazing it was! Another highlight was the Rollercoaster Restaurant. You are probably confused, but let me explain, the food comes to you by means of a roller coaster! The food was delicious and the experience was unforgettable! 

Other cool things I got to do this month were visit the Haribo factory store in Bonn! For those of you who have been following my year on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll know Haribo is one of my favorite things to grab before a choir rehearsal or other fun things to do. There are so many different varieties and it was actually founded in Bonn which is about 40 minutes away from where I live. 

I have also officially signed up for my B2 Prüfung which will take place on July 7th! The B2 test is a German test for people who speak German as a foreign language. If/When I complete the test it means that my German is at a level of fluency where I could work in Germany and apply for college in Germany. I took the A2 test with Rotary in November and passed it with a 1 (equivalent of an A), so I’m hoping to do just as well this time around as well! 

It’s weird to think that my time here is coming to an end in a few months, but I know for a fact July 19th will not be the last time I’m here! I’m keeping on making the days count instead of counting the days. I can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store for me! I’ll be sure to tell you all about it.