Hi guys! I hope all is well with you, and that everyone had great Easter weekends!
I kind of wanted to get a post up about my Easter weekend trip to Denmark earlier (ideally last Tuesday or Wednesday but then school got crazy busy - technically still is, but I am writing this anyways). I don't know how this post will turn out, but however it is, is how it is, because I need to get back to studying German for my B1 level exiting exams which are happening tomorrow and the day after. *edit: I have written the exams, I think that they went pretty good! I wrote more about the exams later on in this post, which is why I haven't edited this out*
I had an amazing weekend in Denmark with my host family! We had Friday and Monday off from school, so we used those days to drive to and from Denmark. I can not honestly say that I remember too much from the car rides - I basically slept the whole way there, and the whole way back.
I can not remember exactly where I saw this, but I watched a video a long time ago that said that it seems that exchange students get the magical ability to sleep anywhere at anytime in almost any position. I know this is not true for a lot of exchange students (for example all but one of my host siblings have been on exchange, and this rule does not apply for them) but I know it definitely applies for me now, and from when I was on the Munich excursion I would say that it applies to other exchange students too. On the way back to Hamburg, my oldest host brother, Kay, was needing the back seat to sleep, because where he was sitting was too uncomfortable for him to sleep, and so we switched places... and I think I may have gotten more hours of sleep in than he did!
Anyways, I guess that you guys are probably not that interested in reading about my changing sleeping patterns, huh?
Like I said, Denmark was great! I will try and for the most part just do a brief description of what we did, because life is life and life is busy.
On Friday, after we arrived at the summer house in Løkken, Denmark, we unpacked the cars, and then my host dad, Julia (older host sister) and I went for a bike ride to the beach with the dog, and rode alongside the ocean under the seemingly unending blue sky, expansive colourful sea to the left and towering cliffs on the right, leading to rolling fields. And the beach was smattered with bunkers from World War Two, which was interesting (all of the beaches I went to had at least one bunker, actually). The evening afterwards was spent with the host family, eating and chatting the night away, and later all of the people under 25 (aka me and my host siblings and the girlfriend of one of my host brothers) went outside to a games shed and played ping pong and billiards while listening to music. Actually, that is basically how every evening in Denmark went, but I would not have had it any other way. Just hanging out and having fun.
We went to Grenen Beach on Saturday morning, which is where the North Sea and the Baltic Sea collide. I did not actually go directly, this time, to the point where the two seas meet each other, but I sat down on a dune with a few other people and looked out at it from afar, which was equally as beautiful, and gave me a different perspective on it than the last time I was there. After that, we went to sand dunes (which was the main thing I was looking towards for the whole weekend). It is just like a desert there (or what I assume a desert would like), especially when you go deep into the sand dunes, and you can see nothing but sand, and in the far distance, mountains. This might sound really cliche teenager/young adult, but my host sisters and I (my host brothers were too tired to go as far as we did) took a whack of a load of photos in the desert of each other, and it just made for a great time.
Actually, while I am on the topic of photos, I just want to say that I am actually the happiest with the round of photos that I got from this trip than I think I am with any of my other trips so far. Even the photos that are technically "badly taken", I love. It all just seems to have an aura of fun around it (to me), and in the moment that was definitely the case.
My host family has relatives who live in Denmark, and as Sunday was Easter Sunday, they all came to the summer house that my host parents had rented for the weekend, and we had a big Polish/Danish/German (my host family and their extended relatives are all from Poland, and then moved to different countries in Europe - my host parents to Germany, some to Denmark, and others are still in Poland) Easter breakfast/lunch/supper/dessert day long celebration. My host mom and sister got the food ready and the table was all set before I even realized that they were doing it - which is a quite a feat considering how much food they made! And I thought that it was enough food for everyone, including the relatives who were coming shortly. And maybe it was, but when they arrived, they also had a lot of food that they had also brought with them! So although we only sat down for one meal, it was enough to suffice/overcompensate my hunger for the whole day. There was a lot of Polish and Danish foods, and I am a person who gets overly excited about trying new/not entirely familiar foods and wants to try a bit of everything. (Un)Fortunately there was a lot of food so after I (and everyone else) was finished, we were extremely stuffed. But it was a great meal, and was a lot of fun. Everyone except me and my host brother's girlfriend speaks Polish, so most of the conversation was in Polish, but that was okay. We still had a good time, and it was a good atmosphere. Later the "adults" went for a walk, and the "kids" (once again, everyone under 25) stayed behind and we played a German card game called Wizard, which was really fun and slightly addictive. It is nice, because although it is kind of competitive, if not everyone plays competitively, or if you don't want to, it does not affect the game - or the fun factor - one bit. I think I might want to get the game before I leave Germany to return to Canada -I only have a little more than three and a half months left!!
Shortly after the adults got back, my host sisters, a cousin of theirs, and I, all went to the nearby beach and explored through some of the bunkers - which was so fun! The bunkers are either tilted really weirdly, which makes going through them difficult but also a good challenge, or coated on the inside and outside with graffiti - or some sort of combination of the two. Either way, each bunker was a unique experience, separate from each of the others, exploring through them and taking photos.
Later, everyone continued visiting, but I decided I wanted to go and see the town of Løkken a bit, and so I borrowed a map of the town from my host father, tossed it in my backpack, and hopped onto a bike and did some exploring. When I was returning, I met up with my host parents and host brother, who were just starting on a bike ride, and I joined up with them and we went to the beach at sunset, and rode alongside - and inside!! - of the ocean, which was an experience that words cannot describe! An amazing moment, that was so beautiful. Kay and I rode through the water perhaps a few times too many, and got our shoes and pants soaked from the ocean, but it was so fun that I did not even care. It added to the experience.
That evening we did most of the usual, but we also used the sauna that was in the house, and that was pretty nice, especially for me after I had done a lot of walking and bicycling.
And the next day was Monday, spent driving back to Hamburg.
I have spent a lot more time writing than I intended to, so I am going to have to end this somewhat abruptly, because I need to continue studying, and I still need to tack some photos onto the end of this post. Like I mentioned earlier, I am studying for series of tests that my group in my German learning class is taking tomorrow and the day after. If we pass (and I am fairly certain/hopeful that we will) then we will have graduated from the B1 level of German learning - the third of six, and the fifth and sixth level are usually considered fluency! That is not to say by any means that my German is really good - it still needs a lot of work - but I am able to converse with people and understand a lot (more when I am in quieter situations that are one on one, because of my hard of hearing-ness, but that is okay), so I am very happy! Most of my group will be done with German learning after this, but another exchange student (from Thailand) and I are hoping to continue so that we can hopefully get the B2 level of German learning done by the end of the school year. Even if at the end of the school year I can't speak "perfect B2 German" I will have much better German than I even have right now, so I am really hoping that I can continue on to do that!
I hope all is well with you guys, and I hope you had amazing Easters!
Talk to you soon (I have a post I want to write about something here in Hamburg called the Dom that I went to yesterday evening with a girl from my class at school)!