Auf Wiedersehen, Deutschland!

Until we see each other again, Germany! Today was my last day of class and my last day in Germany. I leave tomorrow afternoon. I don’t even know how to begin this final post. I guess first of all, more people are following along with this blog than I ever expected. I’ve managed just under 2,000 views this month, which is pretty pitiful in Internet terms. But the goal of this blog was to keep my family and friends informed during my trip (and hopefully entertained), so I consider this a success. Some days I really enjoyed crafting my blog posts, and other days I typed something just for the sake of a daily update and making sure everyone knew I was still alive.

In class today, I got the official document that I passed. Cool! We played a lot of games… and I’m still the reigning champion of the der/die/das/den/dem game! I also gave my presentation on the CMU moon rover today. I definitely messed so many sentences up, but I just kept going. The class seemed to understand. My month in Germany definitely taught me to just keep going and not worry about all of the little mistakes. And even though this presentation was in German, it was nothing compared to the pressure I felt during the real moon rover presentation. Now that was scary!

If you remember back to the time I saw Wie der Wind sich hebt, I mentioned that I went with a friend. I had met this friend, Anastasia, at one of the Goethe-Institut outings. I remembered that she was an art history student, which is why I asked her if she wanted to see the film with me. After class today, she found me and gave me a beautiful little drawing she had made of the girl from the film and a plane in the sky. It made me so incredibly happy. I’m going to miss the people I’ve met here, and I hope to keep in touch with them.

I ate lunch with Annika, Alex, Alix, and someone else from the other class (I haven’t really met her before). I had a lot of fun with them this July, and I’ll miss them all! During this conversation, we got on the topic of the Bavaria Filmstadt, which has Falkor, the dragon from The Neverending Story. At that moment, I was overcome with regret. I had seen the advertisements for the museum in one of the train stations, but I totally forgot to look into it! And I fondly remember watching The Neverending Story as a child. Oh well, I lost my chance.

I got home and looked up the museum hours. The last tour was at 4:30. It was 3:00. I had time! I looked up the directions, grabbed my things, and ran out the door. When I got off the Straßenbahn, it wasn’t really clear which way to go. I actually found two girls my age from Nuremberg also looking for the museum, so we all found it together. And yes, I went on an hour and a half tour just to sit on Falkor (who seems to be missing a ton of fur on his face…).

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I had dinner with Alex in Hirschgarten for the last time! It rained all day long, so there really wasn’t much going on there. On the ride home, I thought a lot about what I learned from this trip and how I wanted to end my blog.

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I’ve never looked down on people who come to the United States with very little English skills. The way I always saw it was, “That’s great, they know at least one more language than I do!” But after my experience in Germany, I have so much more respect for them. As an American in a foreign country, things were easy because tons of people speak English. Not everyone has that luxury. I realize how much work goes into saying basic sentences in another language. No matter how well I know the grammar rules, without enough practice, I’m still going to mess things up while I’m speaking. And because of this, I’ve realized just how comfortable it is just to take a break and speak in my first language.

I also expect myself to speak a little more confidently at home; I’m looking forward to when I don’t have to think so intently about what I’m going to say.

I’m a little sad the month has come to a close already, but I’m excited to be going home. I have a lot of things planned for August, with old friends and new. And before I know it, I’ll be starting the new semester. Thanks for reading, everyone!

-Celeste

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