Nora Alsum

My name is Nora. I am in eight grade. On April 13, I will be traveling to Germany for sixteen days along with some of my classmates. I will be staying with Jana Ludwig, who stayed with me in February.

Me and Jana sitting by a ice sculpture after a long day of shopping in Madison.

Our plane ride was so long and it seemed to take days, but we are finally here. So far, Jana has taken me to a grocery store, an Easter fire, a wild animal zoo, had me try bratwurst and schnitzel, church, and make Easter eggs. At the grocery store, it was very similar to an American store, but with less selection. Because it was the day of the Easter fire, the line went from the front of the grocery store to the back. We waited in line for over half an hour. The Easter fire is a German Easter tradition where the start a huge fire to Denver the resurrection of Christ. At the zoo, we saw wild boars, otters, fox, wolfs, eagles, and many more. There was also an eagle show at the zoo. A man would stand near a cliff, and eagles would soar inches over your head to grab the food from the man. Some of the eagles were trained from the zoo, while others were wild and would just come for the food. There was also an owl. The new foods that I tried were good. The schnitzel was a lot like fried chicken and bratwurst is like a brat, but better. We also went to church and it was at most ten pews and maybe fifteen people. Finally, we dyed the Easter eggs, and my host mom hide them and a lot of chocolate around their house for us and Jana's siblings to find.

At the zoo and the eagle show

First bratwurst

Host family

Egg decorating

I have now been here for five days. Recently, we have went to a museum. There were all kinds of fun things to do. After that we went to a German bowling game. It was almost the same as bowling, but the lanes were very small and the balls didn't have holes.

German bowling game

I went to school for the first time today. It was great. Unlike in American schools, there is no school bus. We had to walk a long to get to the public bus stop, and on the walk home it was very hilly. At school there are around 27 building. Three gyms, two cafeterias, A few round abouts, and sports courts. Between classes we have to walk a long way to get to the next building. In this school, school starts around 8:15 and then you have 45 minutes of class. Then you have five minute break and return to the same class for 45 more minutes. Then you have a fifteen minute break and go to a different classroom, for a different class. It is the same cycle three times during the day. We end school at 1:30 and wait for the public bus.

On my second day of school, I traveled with the rest of the Americans to Marburg. Marburg is a beautiful city in Hesse, Germany. It is one of the only cities not destroyed in World War Two. Some of the places we visited were the Elizabeth's church, a castle, and the towns square. It was all amazing and had so much history. For example the Elizabeth's church is made because of Saint Elizabeth was such an inspiration in her life that they built a church in honor of her. She gave up her wealth to live among and help those poor in Marburg. She was very good at her job. Now, Elizabeth's picture is all over Marburg, but she is always holding the church on her hand. Next, we walked across the town to the towns square. I also had a picture of Elizabeth. The buildings around it were all framed with wood. Finally, we made our journey to the castle. It was a long walk and then many stairs, but there were cool things from Brother's Grimm on the way up. When we finally got to the top, it was a beautiful view, even if there was a little snow. We walked around the castle and then headed back to the trained station, where we all got McDonald's. It was hilarious because seventeen Americans walk in and we tried to order food in English. Although it worked out fine it was quite the expirence. I still can't believe I am here, but it is truly a great experience and I am enjoying it so much.

One school day, the high schoolers took us on a tour of Kirchin. We went through the historical parks and streets around the town. Then we stopped and tried döner. We though it was beef, but we found out it was lamb. Regardless, it was amazing. Mine had corn, lettuce, cucumber, and garlic sauce.

Witch towers
Town hall

One night, Mira, Tizi, Ashley, Kylie, Jana, and I went to Zumba. Tizi's Mom teaches the class so it was fun. Everyone in the class was so good, then Kylie and I were always behind and turning the wrong way.

Jana brought me to a mathmathiucum, I think that is how you spell it. It was a museum full of brain puzzles and hands on things. We met Katherine and Ashley there. It was a lot of fun. After, her family made homemade chicken nuggets and fries.

Spaghetti ice cream

Vanilla ice ceam that comes out looking like noodles, strawberry sauce, and grated white chocolate.

Chinese restaurant

Tried fried honey bananas and fried duck.

It was buffet style, but they have you keep the same plate the whole time.

Small chicken and pommas cone

Delicious road side fried chicken and fries, or pommas. This is when I found out that ketchup here has curry in it.

Ice cream shop

It was and ice cream shop with many flavors, you ordered as many as you want and they would bring it out. If you wanted more you had to go back up. Timo ate seven scoops of ice cream, Jana ate six, and Imane and I ate three. I was stuffed.

Trying to make it look like I ate all the ice cream.

Wrap with cinnamon sauce, bananas, apple, pineapple, chicken, ham, and pear.

Jana also had her confirmation while I was here. It is a much bigger deal here. Once you are confirmed you are allowed to drink, legally. And you get off of school the next Monday. They service was two parts. One on Saturday night and one on Sunday. Her church was very full. It had a choir, band, and all ten pews were packed. After the service she had a party with over 40 people. Then, after the party, she had another party with just her friends. Between the two parties there was around eight cakes. She then spent over two hour opening cards, most from people she didn't know.

Jana's confirmation

We also had a going away party. Everyone got to see each other and eat cake. They put together a video from when the Germans came to when we came. It was a lot of fun.

Friends at school

Saying good bye was so hard. We had all became family, and we just want to stay. But, we were also excited to be home and be back to our normal lives. I for sure missed my locker, because we had to carry everything there. I also missed my family and friends. Some things I will miss are the people, the were all so loving and funny. I was very impressed of how well everyone's English was and comfortable it was to be around everyone. Being here has taught me so much about my self and how more independent I have become. I have learned patience and how easily a stranger can become your friend. I am truly blessed to be able to be apart of this experience and will surly be going back.

Kylie and I trying to stay awake in Philly
Got movie players for one the way home, made it so faster

After being home for a few days, and finally getting over my jet leg, I am beginning to notice how many differences there are between the two countries. For example, it is nice to not smell smoke every where you go. In America there are very strict rules about where one is allowed to smoke, but in Germany it is very different. There were always kids and teachers smoking at school. Another difference is the drinks. In Germany, the milk is warm, water and juice is carbonated, and there are only four choices of soda. Although this seemed horrible in the beginning, I learned to live with it and it wasn't a problem. Next, I have notice how little American themed clothing there is here. In Germany, you couldn't go in a store without seeing a shirt with a US city on it. And at the grocery stores, many products would say "popular in America". This was nice because it was like we still had part of home here. Another difference is how much they eat bread there. We would usually eat it with Nutella for breakfast, Jana's mom would give me some for a snack at school, and then again for supper. Unlike in the US, where we eat our biggest meal at supper, the Germans eat their biggest meal for lunch. To me, this makes more sense. East the biggest meal, and then leave the rest of the day to burn it off.

This experience has truly impacted my life. I have learn to try new things, be patient, and learn to be friends with everyone. I am so glad I got a chance to go on this trip, it has truly been amazing. I have learned so much about myself and made great friends. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who is willing to learn and try new things, willing to leave home for more than two weeks, is very social, and willing to be friends with anyone. Even if you aren't ready to leave home and your family, it would still be amazing to host a student. This exchange has shown me what things I am now capable of, things that before, I would never see myself doing.

Created By
Nora Alsum


Created with images by kreativwerkstattfleury - "dusk sunset landscape"

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