When I received that phone call, from my delegate leader that I was accepted into the People to People European Heritage Journey I was beyond ecstatic. Traveling Europe for two weeks, with 24 other kids and 4 adults, during the summer I knew was going to be great experience. We were going to see so many historical sights, experience so much culture, and also get a chance to stay with a local family in one of the countries! However, when I found out that the homestay was going to be in some small town, in Germany and not fabulous France like I imagined I wasn't as happy.
The day of our arrival in Mindelheim, Germany most of the delegation had mixed emotions. Some were scared/sad to already leave these people that they've already grown so close to in a period of days. For a new batch of strangers who don't even speak the same language as you do! Others were stoked to get away from everybody and experience something new! That's why they came on this trip! Me, personally was just indifferent, not really scared or anxious but not super excited either.
I was just hoping that it wasn't going to be awkward to stay for three days, with this German family of three whose daughter was the only one who spoke English- somewhat poorly. They told us before getting off the coach that school was currently out for the summer so we didn't have to worry about that. Well I was sadly misinformed, when the next morning I found myself being awaken to get up at my usual 6 am to get ready for school. The family I stayed with was more fortunate than others, the mother could drive Jasmin and I to school before heading off to work. Some delegates had to either bike to school with their homestay person or take the bus.
Jasmin's school was very different from my own, she didn't really rotate from class to class. She simply stayed in one classroom for two or three periods while the teachers and subjects changed. Naturally, she introduced me to her friends who were obsessed with me and where I came from, if I was enjoying my trip, how I pronounced certain words in English- in English class they only spoke German and very little English unless they were reading aloud. When school ended we went home while she studied I fiddled around on her computer.
That's when I noticed how energy conscious and environmental friendly they are. I, like most people, when I'm turning on/off my computer I just hit that power button on the tower. In Germany they do that also plus turn off the power strip to the computer itself! Its a pretty smart idea when you think about it, the microwave they unplug it after every use. Even at the school Jasmin attends, they have a type of machine where you put the bottles, that you buy from the drink machine in and you get back like 2 euro. I felt bad because all I do it recycle and leave all my appliances running all night.
Even though she didn't speak the best English it was still easy to understand my homestay girl. I still got to experience the french language because I spoke it with her. She loved some of the same shows I did like Grey's Anatomy. By the end of the three days I was kinda sad to leave Jasmin's nice family and continue on my P2P journey. I enjoyed small town Mindelheim more than I thought I would.
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