My Weekend Homestay

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a post. Life in Berlin is crazy busy! With classes, excursions, church, friends, babysitting and traveling, it’s hard to find time to sleep! Nonetheless, I’ve been having some really great experiences; one being a weekend home stay with a German family.

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Stephanie, Me, Zoe and my friend Chelsey : ) (the wind was really blowing)

Everyone in my program had the option to spend a weekend with a German family in Berlin to see and experience their everyday life. Living with a native family gives you a completely different experience compared to only living with students, so I knew I had to take advantage of this opportunity.

I stayed with Stephanie, an artist, and her 15 year old daughter Zoe in their flat by the East Side Gallery. As soon as we met, Zoe asked me “Sprechen sie Deutsche?” (Do you speak German?) After I admitted that my German was very basic, (I really need to do better with German) we had plenty to talk about in English and I knew we were going to have an amazing weekend. Here are the highlights!

Berlin is that you?

Stephanie and Zoe showed me so much of Berlin! I honestly felt like I was in a different city. We took a bus around the city which allowed me to see new sites and really soak all of Berlin up. I usually take the underground train and didn’t realize how much I was missing! Some of the things we did were go to a movie in English and one in German, visited a mall that was connected to the zoo where you could see monkeys while having a coffee, and went to an opera concert and an art gallery. The weekend was full of new experiences!

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The opera concert was at this beautiful church.
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The view from the double-decker bus!
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So many interesting things around the city!

Live like a Berliner

Stephanie and Zoe showed me how to appreciate Berlin. We went to an outdoor market, sampled and brought things that we enjoyed, and Stephanie even had a bouquet of flowers made for their flat. Then we explored the city while always stopping for a mid-day coffee. It was great to actually relax and enjoy myself. So often we get caught up trying to have the perfect plan or save money when we just need to simplify and enjoy life a little.

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The flowers at the market were so beautiful.
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You can’t forget the midday pick me up!

Food

Stephanie is an amazing cook! I was eating gourmet food all weekend and am sure I had a third helping at every meal.

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Stephanie was so sweet and made me a German Easter baked good 🙂

Stephanie and Zoe

Stephanie and Zoe were great hosts! They were so open sharing their life with me and showing me a good time. It was nice to have a girl’s weekend. They even invited me for Easter and we had a great day going to a photography exhibit, grabbing a mid-day coffee and cake, and eating a delicious dinner afterwards. They always made me feel so welcomed : )

I’m very glad I did the home stay weekend! It’s nice to have a host family when studying abroad so you can get that sense of a home away from home. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and look forward to many memories to come 🙂

Happy to be Home- Here in Spain

¡Hola amigos!

I cannot believe that my time here is more than half way through! Time is flying by!

I’ve now spent three full weekends stationary in Alicante! And for those days I am incredibly thankful. The first I spent recuperating from El Camino de Santiago, the second, a bit more rest for my aching foot and some quality time in the city, and the third more rest from a cold that has been going around my house! I’d secretly hoped that I wouldn’t get sick while being here in Spain, but I’m only human and things spread quickly! Either way, I’m glad to have spent some quality time here with my host family, and truly just relax. These weekends could not have come at a better time.

Despite all of this “down time”, I’ve managed to do some pretty awesome things! This past week I began volunteering alongside three other classmates. Together we are teaching English to a group of 16 adults! We are responsible for the lesson plans, class preparation and management, teaching and all. We are even responsible for opening and closing down the city center building when class is done. Talk about trust!

Admittedly, I was a bit nervous about this and after our first lesson, I still was. I am not an education major, nor do I think I am capable of teaching English grammar, but after our second lesson, those nerves were at ease. This bunch of adults is so eager to learn and it’s so cool to watch them soak up the material. I’m excited to see how their abilities grow over the next 6 weeks, or so.

I’ve also really been enjoying time with friends in my program. Myself and eight others took an exciting day (more like evening) trip to a nearby town called Calpe. It took a whopping 2 hours including 2 different trams and a bus ride to get there, but the hike up “Ifach” was 100% worth the wait. The gorgeous views and sunset over the mountains was absolutely breathtaking! Spain is beautiful!

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I’ve come to appreciate the time I have here in my “home town,” and for that I am very thankful.

Coming up next: Midterms, then a weekend trip to Granada and Ronda!

¡Hasta pronto!