Briana, outbound to Austria

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I remember about a year ago, I was sitting in my room on my phone refreshing my email every hour of the day. I remember waiting to see a little blue dot next to Paula Rodrick's name or Jeff Hart's name. I remember wanting this more than anything in the world. I remember staying up at night crying wanting to go on exchange more than anything. I remember the feeling I had when I was told I was accepted and going on this journey. I remember the night before the country revel getting surprised by family from Philadelphia coming to Florida just so they could witness me getting my country. I remember when I was told I was going on Austria. To be honest I didn't even know where Austria was. All I knew was I was going to a foreign land and I was happy with is. I remember when I was packing my suitcase the night before leaving to get on the plane. I remember before bed, my mom hugging me and telling me how proud she was on me. I remember her tel ling me how much she loved me and how much I deserved to go on this exchange. I remember my mother and my sister crying the whole way from Deland FL to Miami. I remember feeling so happy even though they were so sad until we actually got to Miami and we were sitting in IHOP. I remember the feeling of, I honestly couldn't tell you what I was feeling. I remember crying so hard that I couldn't even eat my food. I wasn't crying because I was sad but because I couldn't believe God had blessed me so much to be a part of something so great. I remember my mother following me all the way in the airport and I remember telling her "It's okay mom you can leave." and she didn't. She followed me all the way up to the check in desk. I remember it being something wrong with me getting on the plane and I remember hearing the flight attended saying "We are not going to let her on the plane." I remember the pain that went through my body because I want ed nothing more than to come to this amazing country. I remember the feeling of relief leave my body the second I sat down in my seat. I remember arriving in Austria and being so excited to be here. I remember hearing my name being called by my host family "Briana" and smiling and waving to them as if we had been friends for years. 

Being here in Austria has made Briana, Briana. I have learned so much about myself in these last 2 months. It has been such a struggle. It has been so hard. But I don't regret a single thing. I love being here. I love everything about living here. I love the people. I have fallen in love with the language. I know, I have had German for one year in High School, but that has only helped me a little bit. German is no easy language but I have decided to dedicate my life to learning this language. I have decided not to talk any classes online here. So that means I am going to have to re-take my Junior year of high school and probably graduate a year later than my class but, it's all worth it. My mother is not really happy about it but the way I see it as, I have my whole life to work but only one year to be on exchange. I have to make this one year count. I have to make this year the best year of my life and not only my life but the people around me lives. I have one year out of my whole life not to work, not to have “school work”, and one year to make memories that I want to tell my grandchildren and hopefully my great-grandchildren. While being on exchange I have learned that me being here is not only effecting my life but it is effecting my nieces’ life as well. I spoke to my mother the other day and she said she had walked in on my niece playing a German game on her tablet. She said my niece is trying to learn German because she sees her Aunt learning it. The feeling of proudness filled my whole body to know that. 

Well, enough of the sappy stuff. This month has been a very eventful one. I broke my arm. I know you’re wondering what is God’s earth could I have been doing to do to that. Well, earlier that day I was in town and I had saw these cute little fuzzy socks that were only 1 euro and I just couldn’t walk out the store without buying them. So here I am the little American girl rushing home to try on her brand new fuzzy socks. I rush home, go in my room, put on my new socks, and rush down stairs to show my host mom how cute they were. That didn’t really go that way. Right when I walked down the wooden stairs I slipped. I went for a ride. I slide all the way down the stairs and while I was sliding down the stairs enjoying the ride, one of the stairs hit my upper right arm. And that is the story of the exchange student with the broken arm. I had to wear a sling for 3 weeks. The worst part of the sling was that I had to wear it under my clothes and I had to shower with one arm. I also had to wear it under my clothes. Yes, I repeated that twice because it was very embarrassing having to walk around with one arm under my shirt. It was also very hot. 

Also this month I went on a Rotary weekend with the other exchange students spending their exchange here in Austria. We went sightseeing and it was really fun. But it was very beautiful. It was a good weekend because the kids who are spending their exchange in Hungary came and I got to see Jaden. After the amazing weekend with the exchange students, my host family took me to Burgenland. They took me for a cultural experience. I also got to meet a little bit of my host family’s family. 

This month hasn’t really been this eventful but it has been fun. My arm is better now and I am doing okay. This month has been very calm. It has allowed me to get used to being here. I am so happy I have an amazing host family to understand me. Even though I keep getting sick from everything. They have been very supportive. I couldn’t ask for a better year.