I kept this in mind once I had found out the day my flight leaves (August 6th, 2015), since I found out a considerable amount of time before my flight actually happens. I want to say it was two or three months ago but I can't remember for sure. But I couldn't help myself, and when I hit the point where there was just over 30 days left before I head to Germany I gave into my countdown tendencies and created a countdown widget on my phone. So now, whenever I open my phone I see down to the precise second how much time is left before I go to Germany. But now I am experiencing the opposite effect that I experienced as a child. Rather than time slowing down to a crawl, it is accelerating, speeding past me faster and faster with every single day that goes by. And suddenly the 14 days I have left in Canada seem both like no time at all and like an eternity, at the same time.
I can hardly wait for the moment I step on the plane, for the moment I step off the final plane (I have connecting flights) for the moment I meet the awesome lady I'll be staying with for the time I spend at language camp, and for the moment I meet my permanent host family at the end of August. Of course I am also insanely nervous about almost all of those things I listed, but it is all in a good way. Maybe anticipation is a better way to describe it, anticipation mixed with not knowing how things will go (although I'm certain that everything will go superbly).
I've realized how limited my German actually is, despite my attempting to learn it for the last eight months. I still struggle with grammar (okay, I know barely any grammar - I've been mostly focused on learning the words, worrying about the grammar later). But I am lucky in that I am able to read more than I can speak and write. At the end of my school year, in my Judo class we had to do a written project on a certain part of Judo history, whatever we chose. I chose to focus my project on the Judo event in the Munich Olympics. Unfortunately it is hard to find more details on those than the basic scores, and who won what medals. But I found an information page in German and thought "Hey, I'll try to find information from it." I was so proud of myself when I was able to understand about a quarter of it, and could get the gist of about two other quarters of it. I think it was just a fluke, that it had all the right words, the ones I had been previously acquainted with, but it still it's a confidence booster, especially since I can honestly say I was able to use some of the information in my project!
I also don't have a lot of words, but hopefully the language class I'll be going to for the first few weeks will help with that, and with the grammar. I also have my trusty language dictionary and grammar book that I will be bringing with me and clutching protectively for the first little while.
But I think that I am prepared as much as I can be, and feel fairly calm in that aspect. I enjoy learning languages, so I'm sure I'll be alright.
I think what I am about to say isn't stressed enough or written about enough online: I am, as I'm sure pretty much all other exchange students are or were, nervous about the initial meeting of my host family. Not about living with them - from what I know about them and from our emails back and forth, I know that they are very nice and I'm pretty sure we're going to get along very well. It's just that first time we met, my not knowing what will happen. Will it be a quiet first meeting, will we just start talking right from the start? I'm very excited about meeting them, so I guess I would just describe what I'm feeling as anticipation (and probably a bit of overthinking :p). I'll try and post about how the initial meeting goes, and later in the year I might make a post about how it feels getting ready to meet them, along with tips or things along those lines if I have them, since that is precisely the kind of post I've been searching for all over the internet for the last while now. If you have any tips or comments for me or anyone else about this subject, please do leave a comment in the comments section - I'm sure it will not only be appreciated by me, but by many others as well.
So yeah, that pretty much encompasses how I'm feeling right now. I am extremely excited, and can barely wait. I have a feeling that no matter what happens in the year to come, it's going to be a good one.
The day before yesterday I decided to do a practice packing run - and am I glad I did! I realized that my suitcase is old and heavy, and I couldn't pack everything I wanted to bring. I put my clothes in that I planned on bringing, as well as a few other things, and by the time I had finished packing the suitcase, I still had room to spare! I was a little proud of myself, thinking that now I might be able to include a few other things that would be good to bring, but first I zipped it up and weighed it - it was 49 pounds, 1 pound below the weight limit! I found out that my suitcase is 11.5 pounds, which explains why it weighs so much, even with room to spare in it. So I'm going to try and find a suitcase that is of a lighter weight (hopefully around 6 pounds), and in my next email to my host family if there's still a few things left over (which I'm thinking there won't be) I might ask if they'd be alright with my mailing some of my things there.
So if you haven't done it, and are going on exchange, I would definitely recommend doing a practice packing of your suitcase.
I hope you are all doing well! I will probably have another post up soon, taking about what I've been up to lately.